I have a friend who does absolutely nothing for me. It’s so crazy. She never does anything to please me. She never does anything she doesn’t want to. She never over-commits. She says yes when she means yes. If I want her to do something and she doesn’t want to, she freely offers a no with no justification or excuses.
Like I said… it’s crazy!!
But here’s what’s even crazier – she is a friend I feel the safest with and the most myself with. I trust her deeply because she loving says exactly what she means and will never over-commit to accommodate me when she doesn’t want to. I know when she says yes, she really means it and there will be no strings of obligation or expectation attached. I feel freer to be myself and to ask for what I want because I know she will be honest and I don’t worry about inconveniencing or bothering her. She gives freely and willingly only when she wants to and that type of giving feels so safe to receive.
I have a lot to learn from her. Even after all this time, I find myself still saying yes to things that I don’t want to do. I find myself not wanting to make waves or disappoint people. My need to belong, to be a part of, and to please often land me in places I don’t want to be in, with people I don’t want to be with.
WTH?!? I’ve been at this a long time and still these patterns surface sometimes.
What I realize is that I struggle to give myself permission to disappoint people. Because I want to be liked and included, fear sometimes gets the best of me and I offer a yes when I really mean no. Even after all this practice it can still be hard to self-reference and self-honor enough to stand in the discomfort of a ‘no’ and sit with people’s reactions without owning it or changing my mind.
I’m realizing by my friend’s example and with the wisdom of Brene Brown that the most boundaried people really are some of the happiest people. And learning to be honest, like really, really honest can create disappointment and hurt in others. But here’s what I know now for sure – it’s not my responsibility to make everyone else happy, especially at the cost of my own!
What a practice indeed!