- be Fair – be fair to both yourself and to whoever else is involved. Simon doesn’t always play by this rule, but how might you respond to a Simon-like comment in a way that is fair to both you and the other person without meeting cruelty with more cruelty?
- no Apologies – when we have low self-esteem or insecurities around being accepted, we may be overly apologetic when we sense that someone is upset with us. We may even feel guilty for standing up for ourselves or asking for our needs to be met. With this skill, we watch the urge to overly apologize come up, and then we release it, keeping our self-respect in tact.
- Stick to Values – it’s difficult when you don’t have a strong sense of self to identify what your own individual values are, apart from what anyone else might hold onto. As you get to know yourself more, you will become more confident in your values. For example, I am a vegetarian. Before I started growing in my sense of identity and my strong values about cruelty to animals, I would sometimes be swayed into thinking it was okay to eat meat, even though it was against my own inner value around animals. Once I became clear that, for me personally, it’s not okay to eat animals, nothing could sway me. I am adamant, and I stick to this value. Dr. Marsha Linehan suggests that we “[d]on’t sell out on [our] values or integrity for reasons that aren’t very important…” and that we should “[b]e clear on what [we] believe is the moral or valued way of thinking and acting, and ‘stick’ to [our] guns” (Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, page 128, Interpersonal Effectiveness Handout 10).
- be Truthful – Because we can be very insecure and desperately want the approval of others, it’s tempting to lie or act helpless even when we are not or to exaggerate or make up excuses. I notice that I sometimes regress to more childlike behaviors to get my way, especially in the context of my relationship with my significant other. I may act helpless, even when I am not, and then feel a lack of self-respect afterward. I’ve found it’s better to just take space and be honest that I’m feeling vulnerable and need extra support. (Here is a post where I share the complexities around my acting like a little girl in an adult relationship: Sometimes I Act Like A Little Girl)