There’s is a message in Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self Care that I’ve found super valuable as a pathway to spaciousness. She says that if you want to cultivate self-care and live a more authentic life, you need to (actively) learn to disappoint people.
Ouch. That one can be challenging for those of us (like me) who don’t like to rock the boat.
In her chapter “Let Me Disappoint You” Richardson says:
Most of us don’t like to hurt or disappoint others. It’s an uncomfortable thing to do. Some common reasons are:
- We don’t want to feel guilty.
- We don’t want to disappoint others because we know how bad it feels.
- We don’t have the language to let someone down with grace and love.
- Our fear of conflict and our desire to keep the peace keep us from telling the truth.
- We want people to like us, and we feel uncomfortable when they don’t.
–Excerpted from The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson, p. 16. Hay House, Inc., 2009.
If you answered yes to any of the above, I recommend allowing yourself a simple daily practice of disappointing someone, and noticing how it feels – without, of course, judging it (or you).
Feel free to use one of my favorite lines for saying no: “Sorry, it doesn’t work for me this time.”
Try it once a day for a week and let me know how it goes! I will be joining you in this exercise.
By the way, I highly recommend Cheryl’s book. It’s readable, doable, and goes right to the core of some of our holding-on patterns. If you want some simple coaching steps on how to disappoint people (gracefully), her book will show you how.
I just bought a copy and have been reading a chapter a day over my cup of coffee (instead of jumping right into my usual pattern of checking emails). Feels good.