It's no secret to those of you who've been following me for a while, that one of the greatest gifts I've reaped from my 10 year self-help journey, is my ability to now say "no" to things I don't want to do.
I have no problem saying, "I'm too tired" or, "My week is already full, so adding one more plan is too much for me."
Or even more empowering: "I LOVE you and I LOVE your kid, but I really don't want to go to her birthday party and make small talk with a bunch of parents I don't know."
Seriously. I've said the latter, and despite feeling a residual twinge of Irish Catholic guilt after years of saying yes to things because I was taught, "It's the right thing to do," it feels freeing as f#$% to say:
"I LOVE YOU AND I'M GOING TO PASS," without needing to come up with an excuse that would be more socially acceptable than, "I'M GONNA CHOOSE ME INSTEAD!"
But this week, I realized that perhaps I've clung to the opposite side of the pendulum for too long, out of fear that I might lose my self-care practice and end up feeling resentment for fulfilling "mind-made" obligations again.
I imagine it's how someone would feel after she loses 50 lbs.
In the year it took her to shed the weight, she didn't touch a granule of sugar or drop of alcohol, but now that she's accustomed to her ideal weight, it feels scary to say "yes" to a slice of cake at her best friend's wedding, out of fear that all her hard work will go out the window.
I felt fear and major resistance when my dear friend told me her ex-boyfriend who I'm NOT a fan of, will be coming to LA next month.
I knew him back in the day, and overall have not been a fan for what I think is a variety of good reasons, and because of the sisterly relationship I have with my friend, I didn't hold back with the biggest "WTF" reaction, when she told me.
But sister-friend held her own and made it very clear about where she is at with the relationship and why it felt right for her to say yes to his visit.
I softened a bit, as I trust my friend and appreciated where she was coming from, but then immediately let her know that I would NOT be interested in getting together with them.
She burst out laughing and said, "Claire! I would NEVER ask you to do that."
Cue the pendulum swinging more towards neutral.
I paused. Took a breath, and said, "You know what? You have been SUCH an amazing friend to me. You've literally dropped everything at the last minute for me multiple times. You're one of the few friends who I call and 95% of the time you ACTUALLY pick up... I will totally meet up with you guys, and I promise to behave myself!"
We both fell over laughing...
at my expense of course.
I went from WHY ARE YOU LETTING HIM COME?! to...
I understand and I trust you know what you're doing. to...
But don't even think about all of us getting together. to...
I'll totally hang out with you guys!
In a span of maybe seven minutes.
And I call myself a life coach. A GOOD one, in fact!
Because this work isn't about always having the "perfect" reaction when unexpected external information automatically triggers you based on old stories or ideas you have about what YOU think is right.
It's about being malleable in the present moment. Holding a plan loosely. Being clear on your values with the understanding that they won't always be black and white, or the exact same as your loved ones' values.
And most importantly, this work is about being humble and vulnerable enough to admit when your reaction wasn't necessarily the best, taking responsibility, and making it right for the people you love and who love you.
Am I dying to reconnect with my dear friend's ex? No. But I am dying to do something for someone who has done SO much for me...
NOT OUT OF GUILT or any mind-made obligation...but just out of my genuine love for her and desire to support her in a situation that I trust she feels very clear-headed about. If she was looking to go back down a slippery slope with this individual, that would of course be a different story.
Who in your life has recently asked you to do something for them that you immediately have felt very resistant to doing?
What is the resistance about?
A genuine desire to take care of yourself first, due to complete depletion of your time and energy?
Perhaps a little stubbornness or selfishness based on your marriage to what YOU think is best for yourself or your loved one, without considering that she might feel something else is best for her, and that your support would be wildly appreciated??
If it's the latter, what would it look like to swallow your pride, admit where you were initially coming from, and blow your loved one away by showing up for her in a way that she'd NEVER in her wildest dreams expect?
Trust me. It FEELS AWESOME.
Happy Claire Your Mind Monday.
PS I'm CREATING A NEW NICHE TO WORK WITH COLLEGE WOMEN!!! If you know someone who may benefit from this work, have her contact me, and we'll set up a FREE STRATEGY SESSION!!