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Life and Religion

Are you a pushover?
Learn to say no. Being nice isn’t always the best policy.
Published Thursday, December 12, 2013 12:00 pm
by Sherrie Campbell Ph.D.

Do you find yourself saying yes when you want to say no because you are afraid to dissapoint others. You might be a pushover. Most of the anxiety is all in your head. People actually like more when you stand up for yourself.

Do you ever find yourself saying yes when you really want to say no? Sure, being nice is a wonderful virtue and great quality that sustains relationships, but being a pushover will not get you far in life. Everyone needs boundaries.


Most people who are considered pushovers have a fear-based approach to life. They will put the needs of others before their own because they are afraid that people will dislike them if they don’t cooperate. To avoid confrontation or the possibility of coming across as overbearing, domineering or bitchy so they go above and beyond to appease and placate those they fear disappointing.


If this sounds like you or someone you know, here are a few tips on being more assertive and learning to say no:


1) Respect yourself. You have the right to be treated with respect:  Embrace this thought, and envision what it would be like to be treated with respect. How would you feel?  You must first respect yourself to have this happen, and you do this by learning to assert yourself. When you fail to do so and allow yourself to be a pushover you are not honoring yourself, thereby you directly contribute to the erosion of all your relationships. 


2) Express yourself.You have the right to express all your emotions including anger. After all, anger is a healthy emotion. It is what warns you that danger is near and activates you to protect yourself and others.  Anger is natural and often a forward moving emotion.  You can express this emotion best by being firm and direct.


3) Speak up. You have the right to express your opinions. Your opinions are as important as you make them. If you cower in a situation or are afraid someone will reject your opinion so you keep it in, there is no way for anyone to really know you or your preferences.  Do not look for agreement. Simply state what opinion is correct for you.


4) Stand firm.Learn to say no without feeling guilty. No is simple. You do not have to do or participate in anything that you do not want to. Our no’s define our likes and dislikes, which make us clear as a person to other people. This way people know where you stop and they start. If people do not know these boundaries you will get pushed over.


5) Choose happiness. You have the right to pursue your happiness. We all have a unique path in life, and pushovers are like an unanchored boat floating aimlessly in the water just trying to stay safe and out of the way.  Happiness can only be achieved if it is deliberately pursued so find your path.


6) Love yourself. Asserting yourself and loving yourself will not upset people as much as you fear it will, and when it does they will get over it. The fear is larger in in your own mind because it is new behavior. In fact, you may be surprised at how quickly others get used the new you and like you even better. This is what a healthy dose of self-love does. It changes everything. It takes a lot of courage and self-love to act on your own behalf. It takes the belief that you deserve something better and have the ability to go and get it.

Sherrie Campbell PhD is a California-based psychologist with two decades of clinical training and experience providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She specializes in psychotherapy with adults and teenagers, including marriage and family therapy, grief counseling, childhood trauma, sexual issues, personality disorders, illness and more. She is also author of the book, “Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.”


www.pushover-mcgee.com is a hilarious blog written by a pushover
Posted on February 4, 2014

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