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Updated 29 Sep 2020

Are you making demands or thinking flexibly?

The inflexibility of the demands you place on yourself can make you inadaptable. 

Karolina Sky Rafalski , 25 August 2016  Share  0 comments  Print

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Our thoughts and beliefs shape the world that we live in. The inflexibility of the demands you place on yourself, other people and the world around you mean you don’t adapt as well to reality as you could.

If our thoughts and beliefs contain firm words such as ‘must’, ‘need’, ‘have to’ or ‘should’ they leave little room for the ability to adapt to what life brings our way. 

Do these sound familiar? 

  • I must have the approval of my friends and colleagues.

This thought may lead you to feel unnecessarily anxious in many social situations, leading you to put pressure on yourself by trying to get everyone to like you – often at a very high personal expense. 

  • You think that because you are kind and considerate to others they have to be equally kind and considerate to you.

You have to realise that your demand is not realistic, just because you feel this way unfortunately does not mean that others do too. Other people are governed by their own values and this may end up leaving you feeling hurt or betrayed, even by strangers. 

  • You should have a senior managerial position and earn a certain figure by the age of 30 in order to be successful.

Related: Is EQ more important in the business environment?

Creating goals for yourself and judging yourself and others by them creates mass pressure on you, as well as may cloud your vision of other factors that may be equally viewed as successful. There is nothing wrong with setting goals as long as you can be mindful of the fact that your goals are subjective and what the word success means to you may mean something completely different to someone else. 

Therefore, having flexible preferences about yourself, others and the world in general will pave the way to a healthy and less rigid way of life.

Rather than making demands on yourself, the world and others. Try the following tips 

Limit approval seeking

Acknowledge that you can have a fulfilled life, even without the approval you seek from others. Identify that you have a preference for approval rather than it being something youhaveto have. You will begin to feel more confident in social settings and begin to enjoy the people instead of being purely focused on receiving approval, as if it were an absolute need. 

Pay attention to language

Replace words like ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘need’ with ‘wish’, prefer’ and ‘want’. It will take a lot of pressure off.

Understand that the world does not play by your rules

We all have our own set of life rules, and as long as you try to judge other people’s actions by your own set of guidelines, you’ll most likely be setting yourself up for disappointment. 

We have to acknowledge that we all have our own set of values, and those of friends or colleagues may differ greatly to ours. Give others the right to not live up to your standards and you’ll feel less hurt when they fail to do so.

Related: The importance of self-regard and your success

Preserve your standards, ideals and preferences and let go of your rigid demands about how you, others and the world have to be

Rather than becoming upset or depressed about things not being the way you believe they must be, keep acting consistently with how you would like things to be. 

By holding onto rigid demands of how thingsought to be you leave no margin for deviation or error, which is completely unnatural to our human nature. 

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About the author

Karolina Sky Rafalski

Karolina Sky Rafalski Motivational and Keynote speaker, Businesswoman, Miss SA top 5 finalist, mother, entrepreneur, communications and psychology professional. With a BA Corporate Communications Degree, an honours degree in Psychology and a specialised postgraduate degree in BPsych Psychometrics Karolina has uniquely married these two diverse fields of study. Combined with her public profile platform, experience as a model in image and creating your own brand, communication, PR and public speaking skills, and expert knowledge in the field of psychology, she is able to motivate, inspire and create self awareness in the business sector and to individuals.

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