5 Tips For Staying True To Yourself And More Assertive In Relationships | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Stop Compromising 5 Tips For Staying True To Yourself And More Assertive In Relationships | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Stop Compromising

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5 Tips For Staying True To Yourself And More Assertive In Relationships

how to stay true to yourself | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | stop compromising in relationships

“A self-willed man obeys a different law, the one law I too hold absolutely sacred – the human law in himself, his own individual will.”

Bruce Lee (Martial Artist, Actor & Philosopher, Striking Thoughts)

“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”

Margaret Thatcher (Former Prime Minister of Great Britain)

Don’t compromise yourself.  You’re all you’ve got.”

Janis Joplin (Singer & Grammy Award Winner)


Harriet Chalmers Adams was born during a time when women didn’t travel on their own.

She could have easily let this and other “rules” dictate her life.

She could have taken the easy road, and let society dictate her identity for her.

She could have just tried to fit in.

If she would have compromised herself and stayed home where others thought she belonged, she would have never traveled the world and created the Society of Women Geographers.

Instead, Harriet decided to be bold.

She decided to be assertive. 

She decided NOT to be a passive home-maker.

That just wasn’t her.

Harriet never compromised herself.

As a result, she soon became known as “America’s Greatest Woman Explorer.”

But she would have never been able to accomplish this if she had let others dictate what was possible for her life.

If she had folded to the pressure of society, she would’ve never traveled the world.

She would have never blazed a new path for people like herself.

How did Harriet have the strength to stand up for herself?

What was her secret strategy?

It’s simple…

Harriet accomplished great things because she refused to compromise on herself.

She refused to compromise on her goals.

People get asked all the time to give up their dream to please someone else.

Don’t compromise yourself for anyone who wants you to stay mediocre or who wants to stay mediocre themselves.

If you can’t be yourself and go after your goals with your current friends, relationship partners, or even family members, you must go after them on your own.

Don’t ever throw away your own goals for someone else.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for your life.

You should never have to give up any part of yourself to make someone else happy.

How To Be Assertive When It’s Easier To Stay Quiet

Compromising on yourself makes you weak and anxious.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that people who let their decision-making be compromised by others were more likely to be anxious about their decisions later.

That’s right…

Compromisers were more likely to develop long-term anxiety.

The people who did not have their decisions compromised, on the other hand, did not suffer the same long-term anxiety.

Here’s the coolest part—non-compromisers did not develop anxiety regardless of whether or not their decision turned out to be right or wrong. 

Don’t ever give up control of your own situation to anyone else.

Don’t ever give up control over your own life to anyone else.

Look—everybody makes bad decisions.

You can’t let the fear of making a bad decision make you reliant on someone else.

You can’t keep manipulators and negative people in your life just because you want them to support your decisions.

Instead, you must stand up for yourself.

You must make your own decisions.

how to be more assertive in relationships | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | setting proper boundaries in relationships

5 Strategies For Staying True To Yourself 

Making your own choices in life, even if your choices are incorrect, is less stressful than compromising on yourself.

You should never compromise yourself.

You should never allow other people to dictate who you are, what you want, or what you stand for.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

Preventing your friends, relationship partners, and family members from making your choices for you is difficult.

Everyone has an opinion on what you should do with your life.

Especially the people closest to you.

So what?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because someone is close to you that he or she knows what’s best for you.

They don’t.

You know what’s best for you.

You know what your real goals are.

Here are 5 strategies for staying true to yourself and being more assertive in your relationships…

1. Never sacrifice your identity to other people.

Being in a relationship is not easy.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendship, romantic relationship, or family relationship.

Either way, things can get hard.

Over time, more and more conflicts happen.

As a result, it’s easy to stop standing up for yourself.

It’s easy to stop doing what you want to do just to keep the peace.

It’s easy to lose your identity.

Too many people sacrifice who they are at their core just to keep other people from going berserk.

These people falsely assume that by keeping the peace, they’re doing the right thing.

They think that killing the fight inside of them is the moral thing to do.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Killing the fight inside of you is not self-sacrifice, it’s self-destruction.

By rolling over again and again, you don’t become stronger, you become a former shell of yourself.

Don’t make the mistake of changing who you are just to please others.

Don’t make the mistake of shying away from adversity.

Keep yourself in check by asking, “What do I really want?” and “Is this what the real me would do, or what the fake me would do?”

2. Set strict boundaries with your time and space.

When you have to pay bills, meet obligations, and provide for others, it’s hard to find time for yourself.

Not only is it hard to find alone time, it’s hard to feel like it’s okay to be alone.

Too many people feel guilty for spending time alone.

They feel selfish for making room for their own thoughts, desires, and actions.

The problem with this is that the quality of your alone time determines the quality of your relationships.

If you’re not mentally and physically at 100% , you can’t be there for others 100%.

Instead, you can only kind of be there.

The value you add to yourself is proportional to the value you can add to your relationships.

Start protecting your time.

Start protecting your space.

Realize that you need time and space for relaxation, reflection, and improvement.

If you’re always busy giving your time and space to other people, you’ll never grow.

You’ll never get better.

You’ll never be able to give more.

By refusing to take time and space for yourself, you’re doing everyone else a disservice by giving them a tired, unfocused, and stagnant version of yourself.

3. Don’t be needy and don’t accept someone else’s needy behavior.

You are not responsible for other people’s happiness.

When grown men and grown women try to make you feel guilty for not spending time with them or not doing what they want, it’s simply a power play.

They want to control you.

If you act as a crutch for people like this long enough, your mind will become conditioned to sacrificial thinking.

You’ll start to believe that you have to sacrifice your happiness for others to be happy.

You’ll start to believe that you have to sacrifice your success for others to be successful.

Why can’t you have both?

Why can’t you be happy and other people be happy at the same time without either party having to sacrifice anything?

You and other people can be happy and successful at the same time.

The problem is that some people don’t want to be happy.

Some people want to play the victim instead.

Some people simply want to be lazy.

You’re not responsible for these people.

Let them go.

Stop being their crutch.

Stop sacrificing who you are to them.

4. Don’t feel obligated to care about the same things that someone else cares about.

Everyone is NOT obligated to fight for the same cause.

Everyone is NOT obligated to do what you want.

At the same time, you’re not obligated to do what other people want.

You have to decide what’s important to you and stick to it.

If you constantly let other people distract you from your goals in life, you’ll never get anywhere.

If you constantly let other people use drama to steal your attention, you will fail.

Stop feeling obligated to care about other people’s problems.

Stop letting other people make you feel guilty.

Instead, start putting your time and energy towards the things you believe in.

Start feeling obligated to yourself.

5. Refuse to let others train you to be someone you’re not.

Social pressure is a very strong force.

If you want to achieve your individual goals in life, you must guard yourself against having a herd mentality.

Being friends with other people doesn’t mean you have to give them control of your mind.

Being related to other people doesn’t mean you have to think and act like them.

You can choose to be your own person at any time.

The key is staying conscious of the unseen pressures that other people put on you.

Too many people allow their friends, family members, and relationship partners to slowly change them.

They allow these people to train them into being a muddled version of their former selves.

If you are in a setting where others are slowly molding you into being someone you’re not, escape immediately.

Take back your life by backing out of the negative relationship.

Just because you got in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to stay there.

You certainly don’t have to stay there AND be quiet about it.

When asked to be someone you’re not, answer.

Don’t stay quiet.

Say no, but thanks anyway, I’m going to be myself and chase my goals.

Peace out.

There’s great freedom in actively deciding to be who you are at your core.

Many people will try to manipulate you in life.

Many people will try to make you compromise.

Don’t let them.

Stand firm in who you are.

Spend time with yourself figuring out who you really are and what you really want.

If you know what motivates you, the principles guiding your daily life, and your goals, no one will be able to shake you from your path.

You’ll be unstoppable.

In order to be true to yourself, you need to stop compromising and become more assertive with your relationships. Start protecting your time and space. Start protecting your identity. Refuse to use other people as a crutch and refuse to let other people use you as a crutch too. You are not obligated to care about what other people care about and you’re not responsible for other people’s happiness. You’re responsible for yourself. By understanding the perils of compromising, you’ll live a more confident and focused life.

To learn more about staying true to yourself and your goals, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.


You Comment, Isaiah Responds

  • Andrea Robinson

    You hit the nail on the head. It’s true – all of us have been asked to put aside our own goals at some point to please someone else. The people doing the asking might call us selfish, never noticing that they, themselves, are being selfish by trying to con us out of going after our own goals.

    I was a victim of this philosophy for years. I was afraid of not pleasing people because sometimes the consequences could be terrible. I was so good at making other people happy that they began to expect it as their God-given right! So if I made the least noise about wanting to follow my own path, there would be an explosion.

    I now see that being enmeshed with people this way is not healthy for either party. It’s quintessential codependency, because you depend on others to tell you what a good person you are, and they depend on you to do their will all the time. It’s more like a parasitic relationship than symbiotic, and after a time I had to dump all those kinds of people.

    • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      You are absolutely right, Andrea. Once you realize that you don’t need other people’s approval, you will be much more comfortable making yourself happy by pursuing your own goals.

    • Willow Sampson

      After awhile, I started to wonder why people don’t want to come with me on my journey, and I suddenly realized they’re just not interested in the same things I am. I’m more ambitious, and I find I’m gradually just letting people go… not insisting, or begging, or asking them three times.

      Kind of sad. But I really intend to go places. They’re not that interested in making an impact.

      • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Dr. Isaiah Hankel

        Lead by example, Willow. The ones who want to follow, will follow. Like you said, some people are just not going to be interested.

  • Francie Eschenower

    I think the worst kind of friend is the one who thinks you should give up all your free time to be with them. I’ve never had a problem saying, “NO.”

    One person in particular does exactly what you say in your article — she uses guilt. “I’m so lonely,” she says. “Why don’t you come over more often?”

    Well, I have things to do!

    I’m not saying to be mean to these people. I really love this lady. But I wouldn’t go over to her house just because she can’t seem to keep herself busy. Now, if she invites me over for something that sounds interesting and I have the time, great!

    But these people never learn unless you say no. You literally train them how to treat you.

    • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      I love your last statement, Francie: you train them how to treat you. Doing something out of guilt does not make you a good person. Never let anyone manipulate you this way, neither of you will be happy in the long run. You’ll just get resentful.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianself007 Brian Self

      Very well said Francie.

  • Monica and Willy Hill

    Hey, Dr. Isaiah…I’ve been married forever. How are you supposed to pull this off when we compromise all the time? I’m pretty sure I compromise more, but I also know that he’d tell you it’s the opposite. We’re happy, so does it really matter?

    • Sluisma

      Cleary ..he’s not giving marriage advice here. This is how to deal with the world…our intimate partnerships require compassion

      • Theo

        I agree. It’s about the principle of not letting everyone else in the world sway you this way and that and suck up all your time. No one’s saying you need to throw your spouse to the curb or ignore what he/she needs. In fact, I think you’ll have a better relationship if you stand up for yourself and be the person you really are, because then you’re 100% available instead of always running around trying to please everyone else.

    • Sonja Luther

      I think you’re playing Devil’s advocate. If you’re happy, you must be doing something right. Life has a great way of letting you know when you’re on the wrong path. It’s called misery.

  • Harvey Delano

    I think there’s a delicate balance between being considerate of people and being considerate of your own needs. I don’t want to be such a callous person that I never care at all what someone else is going through, but I hear you saying that there are some people who are chronic about asking you to give up your dreams and goals so that you can do what they want.

    People like that just need to hear that no, thank you, but I’m not going to do that today. I find that if you try to explain why you can’t or don’t want to do it, then they argue with you. So sometimes I just say that I think I’d feel better about doing whatever else I have to do and let it go at that. They can’t argue with a feeling.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianself007 Brian Self

      Well said Harvey.

    • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      I hear you, Harvey. If you’re legitimately not hurting/obstructing anyone and just trying to follow your own path, you really don’t owe anyone an explanation. You don’t need to exhaust yourself trying to get everyone’s approval.

  • Kathy Azalea

    I’ve had to put up with some arguments about it here and there, but it’s been worth the fight to keep my integrity and be the person I really am. I think that a lot of people suffering from depression are not bold enough to stand up for what they are and throw off the shackles. And I think that’s a shame.

    • Sonja Luther

      Good for you for putting up that fight. In fact, I think that after awhile, when you get used to asserting yourself, it actually doesn’t feel like a fight. It just feels normal.

  • Sissy MacDougall

    I think that a lot of people don’t realize that being more assertive and true to yourself does not require one to be mean or rude. Somehow in popular culture, people equate assertiveness with dominance or aggression, and nothing could be further from the truth.

    When you look at each one of Dr. Hankel’s points, you’ll see that all of these issues point to healthy boundaries and limits. They’re not aggressive or inciteful. Placating people, especially abusive ones, seems like the most logical way to gain safety, but in the long run, it’s better to understand that threats, manipulation, or intimidation are not caused by your placating or lack of placating. If you find yourself trying to mold yourself into the wishes of another person, be careful, because that pattern might bring you a lot of misery in the coming years.

    • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      Well put, Sissy. The key takeaway here is the importance of establishing healthy boundaries and limits. We all need them. They’re not a bad thing. And you’re right, a person can set healthy boundaries without being rude or obnoxious. Thanks for commenting.

      • Sonja Luther

        Totally agree with what you’re saying.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianself007 Brian Self

      So well said.

  • Charisse Cappello

    To be honest, I think this is one that is hard for a lot of people. We all want to be who we are and feel like we can be anyone we want to be, but we’ve also been trained not to be too impulsive or assume too much. AND, on top of that, we’ve also been around those examples of people who really ARE too mean and arrogant, and that makes it even harder to be selfish in a healthy way. So I think these reminders, like this article, are really helpful because we have to wake up someday and say, I’m not living my life for everyone else. I need to be me. I need to do the things I want to do with my life, and that’s that. I know people who really struggle with this and they’re lovable, but they always feel guilty, just like the article says. And to be honest, they get treated worse because they always feel guilty and can’t set boundaries.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianself007 Brian Self

      I can relate with this and well said Charisse.

    • Sonja Luther

      That’s the shame of it, because it’s not that they’re not worthy. It’s just that they’ve taken a stance that makes people unconsciously treat them worse.

  • Sonja Luther

    While it’s understandable that people get into bad habits and let other people walk all over them out of trying to be nice, that kind of behavior will only lead to worse and worse circumstances. I’m glad we have these 5 handy tips to remind us when we’re slipping into that behavior!

  • Willow Sampson

    Great article.