Finding the right balance when it comes to being good-hearted by nature has got to be one of the hardest things a human being goes through.
The pain is real and truly underrated.
Like many people, I have a blessing that can easily turn into a curse: a soft heart. It got me into trouble so many times back when I thought everyone was like me. It got to a point where I became so “gullible” that anyone would use and abuse me, then they would gaslight me into believing it was my fault. It wasn’t only in relationships, friendships, or at home—but also at work.
I was even ashamed to speak up, to say anything, because people called me a drama queen and even said that I liked to play the victim. Back then, I had no idea that victim shaming was a real thing. Naturally, my younger self would go to extremes and try to become mean, wear a protective shield, and put an icy, cold, harsh, b*tchy mask on, thinking this way everyone would think twice before they try and mess with me.
It ended up backfiring when depression hit so hard that it nearly killed me. I was playing a role and was not allowing my real self to live, breathe, see the light, and be.
Simultaneously, I read about Rhythm 0, which involved Marina Abramovic (a Serbian conceptual model), objects on a table, six hours, and a countless number of visitors who could do anything and everything to her. (You can read more about it here.)
You’d be surprised, or not, at how far the human self can go when boundaries are not set. If you let people do to you as they please, counting on their innate human kindness and empathy, you’d see how many have lost it.
So, I cannot continue pleasing people, letting them take me for granted while thinking I am okay with that, and I can no longer hide my true self, lose myself, and lose the chance to fulfill my purpose—to be who I truly am.
Consequently, I found these three practices to be helpful once we commit to them. The balance between preserving our kind selves while not allowing others to take us for granted and treat us unfairly and unkindly can be achieved when we abide consistently to these.
1. Learn how to put boundaries kindly, tactfully, but firmly. Give as much as you are taking. It will make you less bitter, more loving, more giving when you don’t feel you’ve been treated unfairly and used.
2. Practice the art of saying “no” at the right moment to the “wrong” people.
3. Breathe, think, then speak out or act. Having a calm mind and demeanor is not natural to many—especially to us, the emotional ones—but nothing cannot be achieved when practiced mindfully.
I wish we lived in a world where kindness and peace are met with nothing less, but this is not Wonderland—injustice must be fought one way or another. Saying “no” and “enough,” speaking up, fighting for freedom, fighting for what is right, and standing up for yourself are God-given human rights.
Today, whether it is regarding things as trivial as work, career, friendships, or as sacred as purpose, cause, marriage, family, I vow to never let myself be taken lightly or for granted.
I am not a victim when I stand up, speak up, and communicate very clearly what I am owed.