Reflecting back the client’s words showing trends in behavior can sometimes create awareness for the client.
Another good tool for creating awareness is journaling.
This does not mean one should disregard the feelings and needs of others completely; it means one should examine how the perspective of accommodating others is supporting or hindering us in life. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines accommodating as, “willing to please: helpful, obliging.” The list of related words includes “over-indulgent” and “permissive”.
Accommodating can be positive, and even honorable when done in proper measure.
If assertiveness allows us to thrive and to avoid the negative effects of over-accommodating, then why don’t more people do it?
Shifting perspective from accommodating to assertive can often be a very challenging.
People are rewarded for being heroes, for helping a neighbor, for bailing out a friend.
Some signs that one might be over-accommodating include: To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.Asking your client to journal the week’s key activities and feelings can help the client see in black and white how often he is accommodating others at the expense of his own happiness.Once the client has awareness of his tendency to over-accommodate, he can begin to explore his feelings and to imagine his life differently.Occasionally the client will discover underlying factors that drive the over-accommodating behavior such as low self-esteem, the need to please others, or a fear of saying no.Likewise, a client may have underlying beliefs about being assertive that act as barriers to shifting perspective.