Have you ever compromised your values to smooth out a conflict? Been worried about how someone would judge you and pretended not to hold important ideals? Have you lied or glossed over the truth out of fear of rejection?
We all smooth over the truth and bend in our standards or principles from time to time in order to reduce conflict and make relationships work. But if pleasing others becomes a habit and smoothing over disagreements and arguments becomes more important than your own personal beliefs, you may find that you’re compromising your self-respect.
It’s possible to lose sight of your values slowly, over time. If you’ve had negative experiences with confrontation, one concession may lead to another, until you’re no longer sure where you’re values lie.
In order to re-connect with what is important to you, ask yourself who you admire. What is it that you admire about that person? What specific qualities are admirable? What qualities and actions would you like to emulate?
In DBT people are taught the skills of self-respect effectiveness. Self respect effectiveness is respecting your own values and beliefs, while getting what you want and need in the world. It involves:
Sometimes we give in or behave in ways that get us what we want or need indirectly. We may lie, act helpless or give in to someone else so we don’t create an argument. These things work to get us what we want and need, but in the long run, they make us feel worse about ourselves. Using every now and then won’t have too big an effect, but using often will.
Have you made a habit of avoiding conflict or getting what you need by making compromises to your values? What values have you compromised? If you’ve been able to regain your self-respect, how have you done that? What makes you stick to your values? Please comment below.
Follow this link for more on why it’s important to build relationship skills.
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Last reviewed: 7 Nov 2010