There are likely plenty of occasions where you choose to go out of your way for someone you care about. It's a choice you make willingly, and you feel good about it. But what about those times when it's not so much that you're willing, and more that you feel pushed, coerced, obligated, or motivated by guilt?
If you've ever been pressured into going along with a situation you weren't entirely comfortable with to accommodate someone else's priorities, you know how unpleasant it is both in the moment and afterwards. Depending on the circumstances, you may have been left feeling slightly uneasy, extremely uncomfortable, or perhaps completely overwhelmed. If it happens repeatedly, you're liable to wind up feeling frustrated and resentful.
If you feel rushed, pushed, or pressured, stop and ask yourself these questions.
It can be hard to tell the difference between consideration and capitulation, especially when you're dealing with family or close friends. As a starting place, if you're feeling rushed, pushed, or pressured to meet someone else's needs or to accommodate a request, stop and ask yourself the following questions:
These questions can help you tune in to what's really going on and what you're really feeling. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, uneasy, or having doubts – even if it's just a faint twinge in your gut – you owe it to yourself to reflect on what's really taking place. If you're feeling pushed or bullied into doing something you don't really want to do, that's a problem and it shouldn't be happening.
Warning sign of deeper issues in the relationship.
If someone expects or takes for granted that you ought to put their needs ahead of your own, that's likely a warning sign that there are deeper issues in the relationship. It's natural for most relationships to have an ebb and flow in terms of the give and take involved over time. However, there's cause for concern if the needs of one party are consistently being prioritized while the needs of the other party are being minimized or dismissed.
For some people, the consideration vs. capitulation struggle shows up across several areas of their life. For others, it's confined to a particular relationship. Either way, it can be a challenging issue to address.
Self-help books and online resources can be useful for working on things independently, while a trained counsellor or therapist can help you delve into the underlying issues more deeply.
With the ability to better understand and manage your own responses and behaviour, you'll be better equipped to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships that flourish while respecting appropriate boundaries.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.