Finding Your Voice and Speaking Up

Finding your voice and speaking up

Finding your voice and speaking up

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the New Year, finding your voice, speaking up and establishing conditions and ultimatums before a business, personal or romantic relationship begins.

First a quick update:

“From addiction to sober fun”
Watch the interviews at Milestones Ranch Malibu Treatment Center where I explore the meaning and definition of Sober Fun.

FOX News Channel”
Watch my the interview I gave to FOX News channel – The Top 5 Celebrity Meltdowns of 2011.

Now, let’s talk about the New Year, finding your voice, speaking up and establishing conditions and ultimatums before a business, personal or romantic relationship begins.

At the beginning of every New Year, it is almost customary to seek out new beginnings and to seek out change. Accordingly, the New Year can be an opportune time to review old habits which don’t work and begin new strategies.

Also read my article “Breaking bad habits”.

One challenge that most people have is harnessing the ability, power and confidence to speak up and state their needs. As discussed in my article “Ultimatums and reverse ultimatums”, an ultimatum (a threat to take specific action or face the consequences) is usually given during a relationship as a last resort by one of the partners (“Marry me or else I will…).

While ultimatums are necessary when a person’s life or health is in danger, in most cases, ultimatums fail and the person issued with the ultimatum continues on in his/her comfort zone and with his/her habits or the relationship simply ends. Either way, the relationship has not improved, not evolved and not moved forward or to the next level.

The key to finding your voice, speaking up and getting what you need is to do so at the beginning of the relationship, and in some cases, before it even begins. This principle applies to all forms of relationships – personal, social, business and romantic.

Recently, a friend of mine was sharing with me her experience over the years with roommates when she was looking to rent out a room. She found that most people would respond to her ad and tell her what she wanted to hear and then, once they were in the apartment, they would try to change the terms in an unspoken manner – via their behavior. This can be referred to as the Unspoken Ultimatum – the new roommate by his/her behavior says ‘this is what I am going to do and you must accept it or else you don’t get pain and yo must throw me out.’ Of course, the existing roommate can also do the same thing – engaging in an Unspoken Ultimatum.

This principle of trying to change the terms of a relationship also occurs in romantic and even business relationships – the strategy of “just get in and then change the terms and take what you want.” This is also known in the business world as “baiting and switching” – when the seller offers one thing but delivers something different.

Another example of the ‘Unspoken Ultimatum’ is cheating – an affair in a relationship. This is the ultimate ultimatum – when a man cheats on his wife; the act of cheating says “I’m going to do what I want and you have to accept it.” Of course, one might argue that the woman does not have to accept it, but she is ultimately forced to make a decision – accept the cheating or divorce. Many women accept the cheating because they believe or fear that the divorce would lead to greater suffering, pain and loss (financial, mental and emotional.) This is particularly common with politician’s wives or the wives of elite or powerful men whereby the wife accepts the cheating so she can appear as the faithful wife or so that she does not lose the social standing or experience shame or humiliation by making it public. Thus, in such cases, the ultimatum issued by the man via his behavior succeeds – at least for a while.

Many people fear issuing the deal breaker from the outset because they are desperate and fear being alone, missing out on security, love and romance; not having a relationship or not getting a need met.

Here are three keys to avoiding pain or at least lowering the chances of pain and failure in a relationship:

1. Become clear: What is your deal breaker? What will you and won’t you accept? Apply this principle to all of your relationships – business, romantic and personal. Ultimatums issued at the beginning of a relationship create boundaries of what a person will or won’t accept. For example “If you cheat on me I’ll leave you.” or “I don’t date smokers, etc.” Of course, an ultimatum issued at the outset won’t change a person but it lets them know clearly what your expectations and conditions are. Also read my article “What’s your red flag?”.

2. Establish your values and priorities. This is a critical exercise because when you are clear about your values (principals and things that are important to you) you can easily ask yourself each time when faced with a challenge, turning point, behavior, relationship or other decision “Does this fit with my values? Is it aligned with my purpose?”

3. Ask for what you want. And from the outset. Even if you are not religious, this Biblical quote is a powerful philosophy and practical strategy: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This suggestion is an encouragement to speak up, state what you want and what you need and to focus continually only on what you want. We often hold back from asking for what we want because we fear conflict, confrontation or rejection. And yet, by doing so, we simply delay the inevitable and create more pain and disappointment as we suffer in resentment and bitterness, and erode our self-confidence and self-esteem because we refuse to make our needs, feelings and desires a priority. Read my article “The fear to speak up”.

Fear is a major threat to your happiness and it paralyzes you from asking for what you want; begin the New Year by focusing on conquering fear by taking small steps that will make a huge difference: Be willing to state your needs, feelings and conditions, and, choose to surround yourself with people who are in alignment with your needs and your values. Be willing to say “No” to what you don’t want – and do it right from the beginning! (Read my article “The power of ‘No’”)

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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