zoltan-tasi-679857-unsplash.jpg

This week I rocked the boat by setting some new boundaries with people I love.

I asked for what I wanted, knowing it would be counter-cultural.

It wasn’t easy.  I was scared.

Normally, I’d just manage the conflict internally, and not “get real” with myself or others about what I actually wanted.  I’d tell myself I was meeting my needs for ease, peace and harmony by not bringing things up or asking for what I wanted.

And, in some ways that is true.

But, not rocking the boat also came at the expense of my integrity and self-trust.  

As I was deliberating over whether or not to express an inner truth that was increasingly clear to me, but still scary to say out loud, I realized something:

What often inhibits me from personal truth-telling, is my fear about how the other person or other people might take it.  I imagine their rage, their hurt, their strong feelings, their shame, and since I don’t want to “hurt them” or “upset them” I would habitually self-silence. 

So, what made this week different?

In my agonizing over whether it was “worth” saying something, a friend of mine reminded me to, “Just speak your truth, ask for what you want, set the limit, and then empathize.”

It’s so simple, really, isn’t it?

I sometimes forget that no matter how someone reacts or “takes it,” no matter what gets triggered in them, that I can always stay in my own lane and simply switch into empathic, empowered listening. 

When I trust myself to stay with connection and empathy, instead of getting derailed by defensiveness:

  • I no longer mold myself proactively to avoid reactions and judgments

  • I no longer apologize for or defend my own preferences

  • I no longer worry that we will split off or disconnect, because I trust myself to remain present to others’ reactions by empathizing with their feelings and their deeper needs.

These new choices each lead to a great sense of inner freedom and ease. 

  • Express your limits

  • Ask for what you what

  • Set a boundary

  • Empathize, and stay in relationship with those who matter to you.

So this week, I leave you with my new mantra:

Just speak my truth with kindness and courage.  Then empathize, no matter how they take it.

(And yes, it does take courage!)

Join my weekly newsletter

Join my weekly newsletter

The Weekly Newsletter brings inspirational messages and practical guidance for compassionate living to your email inbox every Tuesday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!