I encounter many people in a relationship who when asked, “What do you think about…?” use “we” instead of “I” in their answer. “We like this politician.” “We agree that taxes should be raised.” Often the “we” opinion belongs to the more confident or stronger of the two. Women especially tend to go along with their partners, making his beliefs “ours.” They use expressions that are their partners and parrot what he says.
Sometimes “we” comes from strong family ties. When the heads of a family have opinions, the whole family adopts it. I did this a lot when I was a DoorMat, and married. If my husband wanted something, “we” wanted it. If he had a strong belief, “we” believed it. It can seem easier to go along with someone you care about than risk getting them annoyed by not agreeing. But adopting someone else’s thoughts means you lose your right to think for yourself and to have your own voice.
Since DoorMats want to please, we often go along with whatever other people want. It may seem easier, and safer if you want the person to like you. Agreeable is usually the way people pleasers prefer to be. But agreeable means you can lose yourself, which can carry over into all areas of your life. “We” can apply to people at work too if you don’t want to speak your mind and disagree with colleagues. You may say, “We like the schedule for taking vacations” when you actually hate having to go at a time that isn’t good for you.
Finding my true voice was a great blessing and catalyst for getting me out of DoorMatville and keeping me from going back. I remember still being married the first time I said “I…” instead of “We….” How empowering! It allowed me to think about what I truly thought about something instead of going along with others and I enjoyed that. Having an opinion that’s different from your partner’s is okay and shouldn’t alienate him or her if you just express rather than challenge or criticize.
You can find your own words to even express a similar opinion. Get into the habit of speaking for yourself, even if you agree with your partner. Saying “I” feels empowering. And you can do it without causing any problems in your relationship. Just state your thoughts in a friendly way. Having your own voice is a lovely statement of being in control of your life, even if you share it with someone else.
Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.
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