Are you avoiding the difficult conversations? You know that they are not really difficult conversations, they are merely conversations that count – YOU just find them difficult. They are difficult because you are fearful of no longer being liked, don’t want to be seen as flaky or labelled as unreliable. You frequently find yourself oversubscribed, overworked, exhausted and prioritising what other people need only to find yourself swimming in the sea of resentment. Its time to get honest with yourself and ask yourself these questions:
Are you acting from a place of service to others or from a place of sacrifice to yourself? Are you bordering on patterns of martyrdom?
If this answer is yes then read on.
I have had a number of conversations with clients this week about tolerance – we do it for love, to feel in control, moral responsibility. We do it for the sake of being nice or liked or accepted. We are tribal beings and if we weren’t accepted by the tribe back then, our lives were threatened and we could die. So we tolerate
Danielle Laporte writes “I’m all for the kind of tolerance that happens when your heart is so big that you can give ample space to opinions that differ from yours. You be you, I’ll be me, maybe we can meet in the middle for green juice and a beer. That type of tolerance is deliciously sophisticated”
There is however a balance between tolerance and self respect and setting boundaries and being clear on expectations is a great place to start. Everyone has a need for connection on some level and for some people this is stronger than for others. The need for connection can sometimes get in the way of heatlhy boundaries if we don’t have any on the connection between the two. Learning to set healthy boundaries can be a life’s work. It can feel like the most difficult thing to do for fear of rejection, judgment or generally upsetting the apple cart.
Boundaries help you have healthy relationships and manage your own time and space, barriers on the other hand are about defending yourself against attack. Boundaries serve to help you to move freely and safely and be the fullest expression of yourself. Barriers can leave you feeling isolated. In the absence of boundaries we can find oursleves reactive, fire fighting and full of resentment.
I worked with a client 121 this week who had found herself highly stressed and feeling the impact of this on a physical level. She was on the brink of burnout and her health was starting to suffer. In her role as service provider, she found herself trying to please everyone and sacrificing her own needs in the process. Her reluctance to set boundaries and say no was driven by her narrative that she ‘had’ to say yes to every request no matter what because it was her job to provide a service to others. As a consequence, she was overworked, overwhelmed and feeling frazzled with no idea how to move forward.
We explored her internal dialogue and examined the behavioural patterns that were playing out as a result. By unraveling and challenging some of her truths we were able to take a totally different perspective and help her get back in the driving set. She gained insights into her own patterns and was then able to create a practical action plan to reverse the situation she found herself in. A lot of the fears that were coming up for her were a version of not wanting to hurt or disappoint someone. She realised that the only person she was hurting and disappointing was herself. There is nothing selfish about prioritising yourself and your needs. She quickly realised that by investing in this form of self care that she would actually be in a better position to serve those that relied on her skills and talent. She recognised that no one would be benefiting from her laid up in bed with another virus from being so run down.
When you start to respect your time and energy other people start to do the same. You change and the system changes. Lots of people I see are acting from a place of sacrifice and not service. It’s from a place of obligation disguised as commitment. Let’s drop that story.
So how do you know where to start with setting boundaries? You can’t have a boundary without knowing yourself. Everything heals with rest and relaxation and so is the secret to finding out your own limits. We are suffering from constant interruption. Limits are changing all the time and it’s your human right to express that. It doesn’t mean you are unreliable, flaky or selfish.
Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it. – Unknown
3 questions to ask yourself to assess whether you are acting from a place of sacrifice and not service:
- Are you saying yes to from a place of desire to serve or because you are fearful of rejection or judgment?
- Are you feeling resentful about the way you are spending your time more than you are fulfilled?
- When was the last time you prioritised your needs at least on a par with those of others?
If the answers to these questions leave you staring sacrifice not service in the face and that’s something you want to change then you might want to come on over to our facebook group and hang out with a group of people that are creating changes to shift.
Great blog Jo. Really trying this year to have the conversations that matter and hold myself open and giving after having them. There is such a strong pull to hold that metaphorical comfort blanket up to my face and shut the door on the world. I like myself so much more when I am open, honest and straight up.