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How can I change my attitude?

Tagged as: Family, Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (24 February 2018) 8 Answers - (Newest, 26 February 2018)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hello Aunts

I want to ask on how I can change my outlook and co dependency in life. I am very insecure - although on the outside I am put together - degreed - attractive- thin- middle class pay - my insecurities eat me up. I haven’t analyzed my life but I do know my parents have always compared me to xyz - “that person has this u need this” it’s always been very tough love and this has led me to codependency with men . I use my looks too much and rely on them too much - I let people step over me and blame me for things I don’t do wrong - I don’t have a voice - I am a people pleaser - I can’t trust myself

I am turning 32 this summer and I am scared I will never have a happy life - I am in therapy and although my therapist tells me I need to change my attitude - I just don’t know how? When I meet a man I get so excited that he is there that I worry if do something bad I won’t have them/ don’t want them to leave

I am afraid if I say my opinion in meeting I may sound dumb- I am afraid that if I don’t ever get married I may never be life my married friends or happy - “what is wrong with me that I can’t “

My therapist says if I don’t change my attitude I won’t/ can’t keep a man

I am so lost it feels like I have been like this since 15 - how can I change .

For example people are rude to me at work sometimes and i take it but if I’m rude back I get paranoid about offending anyone - I don’t have a backbone

At the end of the day I am exhausting with all the exterior work I have done - I feel empty and alone inside

Please help!

View related questions: at work, insecure

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A female reader, malvern United Kingdom + , writes (26 February 2018):

malvern agony auntYou lack confidence in yourself and this is partially due to having being criticised by your family who compared you to others. I understand exactly how this feels. Take a good look at all the people that you know - are they really all that wonderful ? Are they perfect specimens of human beings ? Well, are they ? The answer is 'no they are not'. You have to start thinking 'I am just as good, if not better , than everybody else. I deserve the best things in life. Just who do these people think they are that they can walk all over you ? Try very hard to stand up for yourself the next time that anybody is trying to make you feel as though you're not important. In your head you have to say to yourself " Enough is enough, these people are not messing me around anymore, I have as much right to a happy life as they have'. If you adopt this attitude your confidence will start to slowly grow.

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A female reader, Lucyy  United Kingdom +, writes (26 February 2018):

Do meditation And bread deep! Imagine

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (25 February 2018):


"They sometimes need a "ride or die" girl whose got his back."

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (25 February 2018):

Hey, here's some suggestions; and it is totally radical!

There are wall-climbing clubs and obstacle-course training camps you can join. Also basic-training type fitness-clubs.

They teach you to dig-in and push yourself to the limits. There are also adventurer-clubs offering survival-training camps that teach people survival in the wilderness; and how to be outdoors-men/women. They range in price, and some are sponsored for women and are free! Go online!

The purpose of these training and fitness clubs is to to build confidence, increase physical-strength; obviously there are health-benefits, and you meet guys! You can also sign-up for kick-boxing and self-defense training.

Before ever engaging in heavily-demanding mental or physical-activity; consult with your medical doctor and therapist first. Run this by them and see what they think about it. Each form of training starts at a beginner's training-level. You have to work your way up. They don't bully you, they motivate and inspire you! They bring-out the best in you!

I'm gay, but I mean this in a humorous way. You're a "sissy-girl!" You're too delicate. Such a girly-girl with pink nail-polish and ruffles. Girlfriend, please! When I was in the military this is exactly how they described us in boot-camp! We got tough, and fast!

What you called "tough-love" was people trying to thicken your skin, and make you more competitive. You took it all as bullying. Maybe because they went about it all wrong; and were too mean-spirited, or abusive, for it to be effective in the right-way.

You need challenges and to be placed in situations that force you to use your survival-instincts. You're too prissy and you cave-in to people; when other instincts should have kicked-in. Your timid-nature couldn't withstand much pressure as you were growing-up. The outside world isn't always nice! Only the strong survive, sweetie!

You never learned to push-back; because you always felt everyone is stronger than you, or picking on you. If you knew your own strength, you'd be more assertive. In a good way!

You have this perception that men represent power, strength, and our purpose is to protect you. When you're alone, you have to fend for yourself, girlfriend. Some men are just there, but not to protect you. They sometimes need a :ride or die" girl whose got his back. We sometimes buckle under too much weight. What if he needs you to pull him out of a burning car? You going to stand there screaming with your hands on your face, or get him out before it explodes? Kids sometimes need a lioness for a mom!

Girl-power is not just a catch-phrase!

Okay, we get it. You're a female. That doesn't translate into being a prissy little wimp everyone can trample over. Some females take being a girl over the top. That's okay if you have body-guards all around you and padded walls. Sometimes you've got to break a nail, or stub a toe. Then survive it! You've got to be scrappy when the situation calls for it.

If your therapist was as blunt with you as you indicated in your post; it's because you're not even trying. You're showing-up for therapy, but you're not engaged. You're waiting for the therapist to magically-transform you.

Sweetheart, the therapist's job is to get into your head; but you have to do all the heavy-lifting. They're not adult baby-sitters that you pay to listen to you vent.

When people at work get curt or snarky with me, I humorously deflect their comments in the same tone; and ask them did they really mean to come at me like that? It's a little different for me, I'm the boss; but you catch my drift.

Consider enrollment into some sort of class or camp that is physically-demanding and requires discipline and testing your strength. Unlock your potential. The guys in those training-classes are totally hot!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 February 2018):

you remind me a lot of my roommate, she is 20 and full of insecurities the same, but what I tell her is when you feel that anxiety in that moment, recognize it, and breathe. Try to think rational as best you can about whats making you so uncomfortable. Hang around people that make you feel stress free. Push yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

As far as getting a man, they're attracted to confidence, so you need to gain confidence in your self, which takes time!! Changing how you look at yourself is a long process, you need to love every part about you, all the things you dislike the most about yourself find ways to love them. Then you won't give a crap what people say or think because you'll already know you're a prize!

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A male reader, TylerSage United States +, writes (24 February 2018):

TylerSage agony auntThe good news is you've highlighted the problem and now you want to change it. That's an excellent start. One of the reasons I answered this question is because I feel like I can relate to you very deeply with this issue. The difference here however is that I can now say (although it's still a work in progress) I no longer identify as anybody's doormat. It's going to take work though.

Apart from trying to stay positive and applying the law of attraction to my life I was still in the dumps. My therapist at the time kept recommending a book that changed my life for the best even though I initially had no plans to buy it. Finally after being pestered I bought it and I was very happy I did. It's called "Reinventing Yourself - How to the Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be" by Steve Chandler.

It pretty much taught me that I had spent my entire life being a victim and it wasn't helping me in any manner, shape or form. If anything, being a victim only made my life worse because nobody likes to hear anyone go on and on about their problems. Being a victim drives people away from you. The book had such an impact on me because it told me that I'm responsible for own my crap and I can't spend my entire life WAITING on someone else or something else to make me happy and confident about me. It many not sound as glamorous as you were expecting but that's the rub.

This however stirred a change in my DAILY ROUTINES, I started to read other motivational books like "Who Moved My Cheese?" I started watching motivational videos on YouTube DAILY, like Le brown and Lisa Nichols I put motivational posters on my walls, I have timed apps on my phone that send me inspirational quotes, I put together a playlist with ONLY uplifting and motivational songs that I listen to in the shower. You must SURROUND yourself with uplifting elements and watch how your life changes. The aim is to change your THOUGHTS about yourself. As a matter of fact stay out of your thoughts, we tend to think when we're focusing on a problem. This has to be a FULL-TIME-JOB.

As you learn to love and respect yourself everything else you mentioned here becomes child's-play to manage. A therapist can't fix you, you have to fix you.

All the best.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (24 February 2018):

Honeypie agony auntStart small, OP

Like LEARN how to say no. For many that sounds SO easy, but for a people pleaser... it's not. So it's a good start.

There are MANY ways to say no and NOT be rude. Don't start off by saying "sorry, no I can't" (example) Because you should be SORRY to say no.

Let's say someone asks if you can work extra hours. And you just DO NOT feel it that day. (which is OK!) you say "no, I have plans" or "no, I'm not available for those hours".

YOU do NOT have to give a reason. No need for you to lie or fabricate an excuse.

Now that doesn't mean you HAVE to say no every time, but work on that.

Being RUDE back to someone being rude to you - IS NOT productive, and I would advice against that. No need to act like them and have no manner or class. Emily Post sums up proper etiquette as another form of the 'Golden Rule' in which you simply "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

So if someone is rude - take a minute (count to 10 if you wish) and then consider is this something that is WORTH me responding to or getting into?

Let it roll off your back. If you can’t come up with a witty joke or laugh it off... just shrug your shoulders, let it go, and walk away. Why? Because it actually gives a rude person pause. They SEE that they didn't affect you in a negative way as they had hoped.

I have found NOT getting into drama with people who are cruising for drama is SO empowering. Because YOU are in charge of SHUTTING that down but in a calm manner.

That isn't about having a backbone or not. It's about TRUSTING yourself to STOP giving a crap about the DRAMA-LLAMAS!

Start working out. Burn some of that anxiety off on a treadmill or bike or in a pool.

As for relationships. Hold off on that until you feel you are more on an even keel with yourself.

ALSO ASK your therapist for "homework". It's EASY enough for a therapist to tell you to change your attitude, but she/he needs to give you some tools/homework, so you know where to start.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 February 2018):

How long have you been seeing your therapist?

Are you satisfied with the progress you have made with her?

I'm asking because, even though this sentence has been taken maybe out of context, she telling you that unless you change your attitude you will never keep a man, is not very therapeutic. Your goal should not be to keep a man, and your therapist isn't there to help you find and keep one.

So, let's say that you're at therapy to work on yourself, learn to accept yourself, love and respect yourself. It's a process, it takes time. We all learn certain types of behavior as children and they become not only our tools to deal with problems in life but the filters through which we see life, people and ourselves.

From what I understood, you avoid conflict and try to please people, because that's how you can try to control their behavior, in other words make them like you and less likely to leave you. Probably something you had to use as a kid to make your parent(s) happy. You are not the only one. This is a very natural response to a very demanding environment. But you are not that hapless child anymore that needs others to survive. The fear of abandonment is no longer justified.

It's a great step that you became aware of this type of behavior. In order to change it you have to have more self-confidence that comes with healthy self-love and self-respect. All of this comes with practice, you have to work on yourself. I don't know you, so I can't say where to you should direct your energy. It seems that you are quite content with your physical appearance - you say you (ab)use it to your advantage. How about your other skills? Are there any skills that you need for your work, for example, that you might strengthen? You could learn how to deal better with others (and yourself) in conflict situations (btw, not every time when you disagree with someone will end in conflict; not everything you understand as a conflict really is a conflict, sometimes it's just a discussion). Your therapist could help you with that. You could start learning a foreign language, fill the gaps in your education, etc.

Focus on yourself and not on getting a husband. There are no guarantees in life and betting your own peace of mind and happiness on the possibility of marriage is too risky.

It is normal that you would want to find a partner. Desires we have are not the problem. It's our attachment to them that makes us miserable. Because, once you realize your dream to which you have this strong attachment, another desire (or fear) will set in - how to keep this good thing (without which you believe you cannot live) going. And there you are again on a path to misery.

You say that people are sometimes rude to you and you take it, until you don't and become rude to them and then worry what they'll think of you. This is black and white thinking. You're closing your options, boiling them down to only two: being a doormat or a bully. Well, being healthy is somewhere in between.

And it can be learned.

I would look for a therapist that offers cognitive-behavioral therapy.

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