I’ve recently had folks have talk with me about situations they find themselves in with colleagues and/or clients that have them upset, concerned about something, feeling worried, or generally feeling half a bubble off.
I ask the logical question: "Have you talked with the other person about this?"
I shouldn't ask—the answer is always the same, and a resounding "no."
Reasons they give are similar, and always deal with the fear of loss (the relationship, the other's good will, money, etc.). I get that the fear is a very real one, and know that they shouldn't let fear run them.
If your choices are made based on the fear of losing something, you've already lost. Sure, you might keep the relationship, but at what cost? Sucking down things that matter to you or that trouble you simply because you're afraid of what the other will do (or say, or feel, etc.) only hurts you, and doesn't show that you have any faith in the other person, the relationship, or in yourself.
If that's the case, why are you there to begin with?
And there's another thing. As VAs, one of the constructs we work within is that we are equals in the relationships we form with clients. If you put someone else ahead of you, especially out of fear, you're not equal...you've made yourself less than.
If there's anything worse than being victimized by another, it's being victimized by yourself. And in this scenario, you do that by being the martyr; sacrificing yourself for someone else.
Honey, let me tell you what I know for sure: ain't a person on this planet deserving of your self-sacrifice who hasn't been thrust into this world from between your legs.
You are absolutely deserving of standing toe-to-toe with another human being (any other human being) and saying your truth—whatever that is. You are responsible for what you communicate, and how—so be clear and sure of what you say. You are notresponsible for the other person's feelings or response/reaction to what you share.
Have the moxie to tell your truth, always. The people who don't like it aren't deserving of you. The people who meet you in the middle and happily have conversations with you--even (or especially) difficult ones--are keepers.
When you speak your truth...when you have the conversations you dread, most often what actually happens is that things go much better than you'd ever imagined, and you end up wondering why you were afraid to begin with. The biggest thing that happens, though, when you work through something with someone and get to a positive outcome on the other side of the conversation(s), is that your relationship will be stronger for it.
So take the chance. Risk it all. What you'll end up with will be perfect.
Always remember that, and you'll be fine.