I want to share a recent experience where I spoke up for myself even though it felt a bit risky.
I had a situation come up with a friend of mine in a group setting where I felt like she crossed a boundary. As soon as it happened, I felt myself shutting down. You know that feeling, when someone says something or does something that isn’t okay with you and your body let’s you know? Well, it was like that.
I knew my friend had no idea how she was affecting me. How could she? She was just being herself. But that clenching inside had something to say and I know from experience there is so much more to be gained by listening to it, than ignoring it.
I didn’t choose to say anything in the moment, because I needed to sort through my feelings and get clear on my needs. So I took some time to figure out what my body was trying to tell me. When I felt like I had a clear request, I reached out to have a conversation. We hopped on a call 15 minutes later and I was able to honor her while expressing my needs around my own boundaries. It was a little uncomfortable, but she heard me and graciously received my feedback.
In the past, I probably would have felt irritated but I would have kept it to myself hoping it would resolve somehow. And if it continued, I would either distance myself from the relationship or at some point it would come out in way that wouldn't feel good to either of us.
I'll admit, right before I got on the call with my friend, I could definitely feel a familiar old fear come over me. "What if she gets upset and feels offended?" Which has definitely happened in past relationships. But I reminded myself, “Cath, she’s your good friend and she loves you and the only way she’ll know about your needs is if you tell her.”
It definitely takes courage to approach uncomfortable conversations. It's so easy to talk yourself out of it in the moment, letting it slide to prevent making waves. But trust me, in the long run, it's just not worth it to sacrifice your own needs to protect someone else's hurt feelings !
So in this situation, not speaking my truth to my friend would mean dishonoring myself and the relationship. And I think it would be dishonoring her as well, because it would mean I didn't trust that she could handle hearing my truth.
I used to think people should just know my needs. Now I can see I was just copping out of the vulnerable task of communicating. Anyway, if I am not a stand for myself in my life, I cannot expect anyone else to be either.
Had I chosen not to share how I was feeling, my friend would probably assume everything was totally okay with me. As she should. It's not her job to know my boundaries, it's my job to communicate them.
There have been so many experiences in my past where I let these things go, thinking “surly it won't happen again”, but of course it would. And the longer I would go not speaking my truth, the more the resentful I would get and the more awkward I would feel bringing it up.
As women, we have been conditioned to keep our mouth shut and be nice at our own expense. And we have gone along with it. How often do you assume "the right thing" to do is sacrifice your own needs to protect other people’s feelings? We don't have to keep this narrative alive. We can evolve.
It's true, the person you confront may get upset, but you can also trust that they can get through it. When you can approach a challenging conversation with deep love and respect for yourself and the other person, everyone can win. Your boundary, even though it may be difficult for the other person to hear, could be a growth opportunity. Let go and trust that whatever happens will be in the highest good for all involved.
You may be wondering how I went from being someone who didn’t speak up for herself to someone who did? This is the power that comes with embodiment. With true empowerment, comes deeper levels of inner trust and confidence to speak your truth without fear.
This is the powerful work I love sharing with my clients. It's one thing to understand the concept, it's a whole next level to live it. If you are ready to show up in your life at a whole new level, I would love to share the different ways we can work together.