Many people who don’t have self-esteem that they can rely on often consider themselves to be keepers of the peace. There’s just one not-so-small problem: their actions destroy their inner peace.

Keeping the peace is often code for keeping it zipped when you want to speak up. It’s hinting instead of being direct.

It’s good to be conscientious, and it’s good to strive for harmony. However, it’s not conscientious or harmonious if you hurt yourself or if it doesn’t help maintain the integrity of a relationship.

I’m not saying go around hurting others, which is what we often assume not keeping the peace means. No, don’t try to cup the ocean in your hands. Take care.

It’s okay for there to be misused words or, yes, hurt feelings. Healthy conflict is a part of healthy, intimate relationships of all kinds.

We humans are funny. We feel hurt when we hear something we don’t like, even if it’s true or something that will help us do better within a relationship or in general. Often, though, our ego, not us, hurts.

You have to allow yourself to feel the discomfort of being vulnerable enough to say what you’re thinking or feeling.

Sometimes, you’ll articulate it well. Also, sometimes you won’t, and this is okay. You are allowed to be human. You can’t silence yourself on the off-chance that some of your words might be wrong. Don’t avoid awkward situations and tricky conversations; they just get bigger in some other painful way. Don’t surrender yourself in an attempt to control the uncontrollable.

For more help with boundaries and saying yes and no more authentically, check out my latest book, The Joy of Saying No.

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