1. a website containing a writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations,
"This above all, to thine own self be true"
~ William Shakespeare ~
Learning boundaries and how to say NO is a great place to start for those of us with the disease to please. It's not an easy thing to start doing though, when we've had a life long habit of automatically saying yes in order to please other people, mostly to control whether someone will 'like' us or not.
There is one time many moons ago that sticks out in my mind when I was first learning to say no. I remember how hard it was but I also remember how freeing and empowering it was. It also became easier and easier to say after that. At this particular time in my life, I had a lot on my plate, I was running my business and spinning hundred plates at once because that's how I thrived back then. It was my diversion and it somehow filled my need to be needed. I said yes to a Secretary position for the local Chamber of Commerce, which was something I would have said no too if I were being true to myself because I didn't have room to spin one more plate at the time. But who else would do it if I didn't? No one else wanted to. Soooo, Barb to the rescue!
I'm grateful now for the time I spent taking on that role. I did make a contribution and I liked the people I was working with, but mostly I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn how to be true to myself and say NO. I began to dread going to those meetings and doing the minutes and struggled for quite awhile because I knew I needed to change this for myself. I procrastinated speaking my truth because I thought everyone was going to be mad at me, and from my self importance, thought once again 'who will do it if I don't?'. Well guess what happened? I just stopped. Told them I was done (with my tail between my legs) and guess what else? The world didn't stop spinning, life went on, and they found someone else. Mostly what happened was that I freed myself and it was easier than I thought.
Sometimes it's something as simple as telling someone you would do something with them on Thursday, then Thursday comes and you're not feeling up to it, but you go anyway. Not because you want to but because you felt you had to. It's okay to speak our truth. 'Hey, I know I agreed to meet you on Thursday but I'm really not feeling up to it now, I have to look after myself today. Sorry if I messed up your day, I hope we can do it another time.'
To actually become aware of when we are saying 'yes' when we really want to say 'no' is the starting point. If you are a pleaser, it helps to stop for a minute before you automatically say yes, and check in with yourself for your truth. There is a difference between doing things from our hearts because we 'want' to and have the energy to, and doing things to 'please' because we want people to like us. The latter will have us sometimes feeling resentment and exhaustion, even though we are solely responsible for saying yes. It's just about knowing our truth then expressing that truth, regardless of anyone's reaction.
Having boundaries is necessary if we are looking after ourselves. Our boundaries say 'I will tolerate this' and 'I will not tolerate that'. We truly do teach others how to treat us. If we respect ourselves, we automatically demand and get respect from others. If we aim to get respect by pleasing others, it will backfire and we will ultimately end up exhausted, resentful and mad at ourselves in the end.
Here's a cool thing I've learned. There will always be someone who doesn't like us or who is mad at us. So to exhaust ourselves through pleasing is pointless. If we are honest with ourselves, we'll see that part of the reason we want everyone's approval is because we don't entirely approve of ourselves. The more we learn to approve of ourselves and like ourselves, the less we find ourselves saying yes when we would rather say no.
We are constantly being given opportunities to learn new ways of doing things and I'll bet if you're a pleaser and you're reading this, you'll notice quite a few opportunities surfacing over the next little while, where you can practice saying no when before you would have automatically said yes. Try it out :)
Peace, Love and It's Okay to say NO
It is said that hindsight is 20/20. This rings so true yet only becomes evident once time has passed creating a road map for us to look back on.
So many times in my life, since walking my spiritual path, I have followed my guidance to experience certain relationships and situations that haven't always ended up being all butterflies and bubbles. I can see now that is because they were meant to be experienced to protect me from doing something that would not have been good for me at that time. It was also to make me stronger, but I can only see that after time passed and I had a road map to look back on. The series of events allowed me to connect the dots, so to speak, and understand it was for my good.
While I must admit that moving through those sometimes very painful experiences of the past was not fun or pleasant by any means, it is very clear to me now that they were all blessings in disguise. Sometimes I felt I wanted something so very much and when it didn't work out I would get so frustrated and angry. It was only after time had passed was I able to look back and it became crystal clear that it either wasn't right or it wasn't time. I've learned through those experiences to trust that the universe can see ten steps ahead of me and is constantly conspiring for the highest good of my soul's path.
Keeping this in mind is a great practice because it teaches us trust and faith in a bigger plan for ourselves. Bigger than our human part can dream up, even though we are fully aware of our potential and purpose on a soul level.
Moving through the difficult experiences can become something we meet with less resistance if we are able to take this perspective. It offers us an opportunity to look for the crumbs of good along the way, as they accumulate to a point where we can look back some day and be grateful that things happened the way they did.
If I try my best to make something happen and I run into obstacles, I stop and know there is something in the works going on behind the scenes. Or if something I had planned gets cancelled, I watch to see what ends up happening at the time the event was meant to take place and it's usually that something better would take the place of the original 'plan'. Sometimes I will cross paths with someone I was meant to see but that wouldn't have happened if the universe didn't arrange for the 'rejection' of my plan.
I believe we are constantly being given opportunities to take the high road and when we do, we find ourselves working with the universe, instead of fighting the flow. I only have my own life to reflect on to see how this process works but I'm sure if you take a look back on the road of your own life, you will find those times where you've felt rejected by someone or something and can see now that it was for your highest good.
'What is for you can't go past you' and 'rejection is the universe's protection' are two great mantras to remember when things don't according to our plans, and when things are muddy and muffled if we keep looking for the crumbs of good......we'll find them.
Peace, Love and Protection
One of the lessons from The Four Agreements (Toltec teachings) by Don Miguel Ruiz is this:
~ Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. ~
I know, I know, easier to read and know this than to put into practice, just like everything else in life, however being willing to remember and begin to incorporate this into the things we practice is the first step to lightening our load. In my experience, willingness and awareness are the most important ingredients in the recipe for changing our lives. It doesn't mean once we 'know' something that we magically are living it to perfection every single minute of every single day. Change is a process, and our power lies in our commitment to change and putting what we 'know' into practice. We're all trying to become better people, better than we were yesterday and that takes willingness, awareness and practice practice practice! That's why who we see as the 'challenging' people show up in our lives, so we can PRACTICE!! hehe
We humans don't learn and evolve through those happy, joy, blissful, high times and from the smooth relationships. Those times and relationships are awesome and supportive and uplifting and we wouldn't know that if we didn't experience the opposite sometimes! Our soul's growth depends on the challenging times and people and how we choose to 'react' to them. It's so easy for us to stay in our old patterns, for instance when someone is attacking us with their anger it is our knee jerk reaction to retaliate with anger. Reacting to anger with anger however, automatically puts us in a power struggle, where in the end no one wins. Don't take it personal and don't engage are two great rules of thumb. If we can think of these people as opportunities for us to grow, instead of a pain in the ass, we can eventually find gratitude for them.
When someone comes at me now with anger or attack energy, I no longer cower like I used to and be upset that someone is mad at me or doesn't like me, nor do I react with anger because I understand that person's emotion has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their deep rooted pain. I choose now to not engage, but to walk away and send that person love and forgiveness from afar. That too is often a process, as the attacking energy can be quite upsetting, especially if you're a sensitive empath, so when the attack memory surfaces again (and it will!), it's about making it a habit to surround that person in light and love, and to see that behind their anger, lazy, control, or bitch mask, they are in a lot of pain. Like we all are at times.
Maybe there's someone at work that drives you crazy. They could be control freaks, gossips, lazy, alcoholics, unreliable, bitchy and the list goes on. I spent 17 years working in a Territorial government office and all I know is it takes all kinds to make the world go around and I encountered all of these types! Back then it would have been nice to be aware of this powerful understanding but instead I was constantly reacting and found myself in power struggles all the time. I was also a control freak and admittedly one of the challenging people!! Ya lives and ya learns! I can tell you this, from my experience it's easier to simply 'accept' what is, how people are and where they are in their lives rather than wish they were different so as to make your life easier. They may never change, but WE can!
It's especially tricky when these challenging people are part of our family, whether that's blood family or soul family, but the same applies. We can take a deep breath and pretend we're having an out of body experience and don't take their behavior personally or we can engage in a power struggle. We can acknowledge their pain, pray for them and know that they are big girls and boys and will hopefully figure out their 'stuff'. We can choose to keep them in our life or to keep our distance and we don't have to 'feel bad' (I know that's a hard one for those of us with the disease to please ;-)) We all have the same help available to us from Spirit, we aren't here to be everyone's rescuer. Rescue yourself and save yourself the struggle by remembering to practice not taking things personally and choosing to send love back .....the result is one similar to pouring water on a fire versus giving it more oxygen. :D
One of my practices now is to observe the behavior of the other person and before I react with words I might regret, I breathe, sleep on it, and look at whether this is a trigger for me to see some trait in myself that is attracting a repetitive type of person to me. If not, then I see it as a boundary issue and I try to remember their behavior is a result of their personal pain (the more difficult the person the deeper the pain). I then vision them in a pink bubble of light and ask Creator to send extra help to them. Sounds crazy perhaps but it's alot less stressful than how I used to do things!! I find as I remember to practice this, that I begin to feel lighter and happier, not engaging and creating unnecessary drama. Resentments begin to fall away too, and I have slowly freed myself.
Letting situations go and sending good energy their way takes less energy than engaging and creating drama, then telling everyone about your drama, and what that person did or said and keeping that negative energy alive. Far easier to accept people are how they are, no one is perfect, many are in deep pain every day and act from a lower space as a result. It doesn't give anyone the right to abuse us with their anger or attack energy, those are the people in the most pain but that's not ours to take on. We have to look after ourselves by drawing a personal boundary and choosing to remove that person from our lives and love them from afar if that's what we need to do to look after us.
It's also a great idea to be aware of when we might be the difficult person and be open to looking at our own underlying pain. At different times in our lives, we've all acted out in ways we might not be so proud of, so cut the other guy some slack and try not to take it personally.
Peace & Love
"Take a look around, tell me what you see, is who you think you are, who you wanna be? It's okay to be a little broken, everybody's broken in this life, it's okay to feel a little broken, you're alright." ~ Bon Jovi
Everybody's broken. No human is exempt from pain and struggle in this life it seems. Each and everyone of us has a story, and no one's story is more or less important than the other, it is simply our own personal journey. The thing is, we have a choice to stay broken and make that the story we tell ourselves and others for the rest of our lives, OR, we can use the broken'ness as an opportunity to see ourselves and heal so we can one day tell the story from a less broken place.
It's been my experience and observation that many humans are afraid or unwilling to really look at where we are broken, and instead put on various masks to face the world, in attempt to hide our broken selves. Masks can come in the form of self righteousness (hiding inferiority); control (hiding vulnerability); bullying (hiding extreme pain and fear of further pain); humor (hiding sadness); aloof (hiding vulnerability); etc. When we are willing to be aware and heal from this broken place, we will keep our masks handy for use while our old 'stuff' continues to surface until it eventually works itself out.
It's uncomfortable to make ourselves vulnerable, but that is where we must go in order to let others in past the masks we wear to protect ourselves from what we perceive as judgement from the outside world. The illusion here is what we think others think of us, is actually a mirror to show us where we judge ourselves. In my experience I notice if my judgement of another surfaces, that it is simply there to show me that I'm still in judgement of myself in some way. I notice this with others as well. When I encounter a person who is constantly looking around and judging others, that they truly are that hard on themselves. I have compassion for their pain.
When we make a commitment to go within and be aware of ourselves and where our shame, sadness, grief, hatred, judgement, guilt, unforgiveness, etc. lies, then fully accept and love those very human traits that we all have, we are able to shatter the self created chains we keep on ourselves.
I think we've all been taught in some way that there was no room in our lives to be broken, yet the fact is everyone is broken to some degree and it's there as an opportunity to see our broken selves. It's from this broken place that we hurt ourselves and others. If we look at our past hurts and choose to nurture that broken little boy or girl who is a part of us and find compassion, we begin to notice ourselves softening. Then slowly we notice the masks we have worn and walls we've built around our hearts in order to protect ourselves from further pain, fall away, creating more room for freedom, love and joy in our hearts.
If we see or know a child in our lives who have been hurt in some way, we automatically have compassion for that child. So why not have compassion for our own inner child who has inevitably experienced hurt? It's good to take a look too, at times when our actions have hurt other people and understand that we were acting from our broken place and it actually had nothing to do with the other person. The opposite is true, the actions of others we've felt hurt by, also come from their pain. We have no idea about the pain another has experienced and we have no control or power over their actions or how they choose to live their lives. We only have power over our own choices and actions.
Going to those broken places within ourselves is not comfortable, but it's necessary if we are tired of feeling broken, continuously hurting others, or attracting relationships with people who will re-create the old pain so we can heal it, and telling the same old story like a broken record even we are tired of listening to.
I've had huge walls my whole life, and my experience has been that they don't all crumble at once. They fall away one at a time and just when you think the last wall has fallen, another seems to appear until eventually they are few and far between, and life continues to ease up and look and feel different. It continues to feel more safe to put our true authentic face to the world, no longer feeling like we need to hide the broken to protect ourselves. One day we're able to look back and bless the broken road because it was an opportunity to heal.
Healing doesn't happen overnight, it happens over time and the time is gonna pass anyway so why not use it to heal?
Leaving you today with a video of Bon Jovi's Everybody's Broken.....enjoy and go easy on yourself ;-)
It's my sincere hope that sharing my perspective and personal experiences on my own journey to myself, helps you on yours. Peace, Love and Sharing