Thoughts on mindfulness, relationships, and growth
I almost cried in a session today. Well okay, I did. You would have too because it was such a celebration.
My client said “NO!”
And was LIVING AND BREATHING in my office to tell about it!!
I don’t have kids, but I kinda get that proud parent feeling now. I was so dang happy for her and ALL the HARD WORK she’s done to get to a place where “No” was an option.
If you’ve got a caretaker part of your personality, you’ll completely get what I’m putting down. To realize we have a CHOICE in the orchestration of our lives is mind blowing! And its starts to change shit for the better.
The transition I witness my clients make around boundaries encourages, inspires and holds me to walk the talk outside of our little safe laboratory of the therapy office.
Codependency People Pleasing Caretaking
and maybe even, dare I say, being a door mat – these are painful y’all. And it takes some serious self-commitment to alter the well-worn path of putting yourself last.
Saying “No” indicates you are able to consider how this request will impact and affect YOU. And in the caretaker/I-make-everyone’s-life-better world, when we think of ourselves, we risk being seen as…
👉Selfish (ugh! What a death sentence!)
👉Not part of the team
👉Not a “good” friend/neighbor/sibling/coworker
And ultimately, we risk rejection and being alone.
Tough stuff to deal with.
By the time these million non-self-centered decisions accumulate, we can feel like we are too far down the path of being the caretaker and we cannot see the option of saying “No”. It simply doesn’t exist in our vocabulary because of all that is at stake. (See Big Bold Words Above!)
But this is precisely the place I often meet most of my clients. When they are war-worn from being constantly on call and accommodating.
This is why I lost my composure in the session!
Because it takes a little bit of time to untangle the years of care-taking and yet when we do – BECAUSE WE CAN – (I’d tell you to call my client and ask her yourself but…confidentiality…so take a leap here and trust me!) – we feel such a sense of freedom and literal physical relief that we realize its not about other people’s happiness – its about OURS!
WE are the ones that walk away from interactions, where we have over-committed due to fear of being seen as selfish, FEELING —>
💥The residue of overwhelm from having to rearrange your calendar ONCE AGAIN to meet another person’s needs.
💥Resentful of the other person for even asking in the first place! Shouldn’t they know I’m busy!
💥Inner anger and maybe even RAGE at yourself for saying “Yes” AGAIN! What’s wrong with me!
That last one is the kicker.
I love the term External Compliance and Inner Defiance.
We are saying “Yes” externally while inside we are SCREAMING “NOOOOOOOOO!”
Unfortunately WE are the ONLY ones who FEEL the pain of that “Yes”.
This is why I wanted to share the awesome celebration of saying “No”!! Shifting the habit of being the perpetual helper is possible. I have done it in my personal life and I LOVE LOVE LOVE witnessing it in my client’s lives.
If you are tired of an overwhelming calendar, that awful feeling of powerlessness that comes with internal anger and the heaviness of resenting the people in your social group, give me a call or click here for more info on how I work.
I’d love to help!
When a client shares “I just don’t see how this could ever be different”, I get excited because I know personally that we are never truly stuck in hard place in our lives. There is always a way to shift and alter our present position.
Early on in my career I had a strong *belief* that people could change, but I was also searching for personal evidence that this was a Truth. Internal Family Systems and Mindfulness work allowed me the actual, physical and emotional experience of finally feeling “okay” in my own skin. It was an experiential understanding. Not one that came from my mind wanting things to change, but from an internal knowledge that I could unhook from the pain and hurt that I once experienced as Mt Everest.
That first glimpse, and subsequent felt-sense experiences of emotional freedom have given me the faith that I hold when I hear those words from clients.
After I work with someone, and we begin to see their personal patterns, and begin to understand why they do the things they do to get through life, I often hear, “I don’t think I have ever thought about it, or seen my life, in this way.” And I want to release the environmentally friendly balloons from the ceiling and celebrate. Helping people broaden their perspective and learn to work *with* their thoughts, emotions and behaviors is why I do this work.
When the light bulb goes off for someone, and they are still for a moment and their mind is quiet and they are simply present with themselves, that is why I love this work. Because from there, the options for self-care are limitless. When your mindset expands, and you can access your creativity – there really is no reason you cannot have the life you want.