“Honestly, if you really think about it, disappointing someone is not the hard part. We unintentionally do it all the time. The harder part is doing it full on – with awareness.” –Your Spacious Self
If you could use a little help in the “saying no” department, this excerpt from Your Spacious Self offers some simple ways to set clear boundaries.
Chapter 32 – Disappoint
“I live by the truth that ‘No’ is a complete sentence.” –Anne Lamott
In chapter 29, “Accept,” I shared a story of life throwing me a curveball and me being royally inconvenienced. What I didn’t report was how I felt about knowing that I would royally inconvenience someone else: in this case, a healthcare provider who was making an extra effort to be on time. For me.
Worse than my car breaking down and me missing an opportunity to receive the care I needed, what I felt worse than anything about was that I might have disappointed my physical therapist. I could hear it in her voice when we spoke on the phone, and I watched myself going into my old familiar crawl-into-the-deepest-hole-you-can-find cringing weather pattern.
Then I remembered an instruction I read in Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self Care that I thought was spot on, and radical. She says that if you want to live a more authentic life, you need to (actively) learn to disappoint people.
Ouch. That one can be challenging for those of us who don’t like to rock the boat.
If the idea of disappointing others gives you dry heaves, consider these ways to develop the muscle that will help you set clear boundaries:
- DECLINE gracefully. You can use my favorite line for saying no: “Thanks for asking; sorry it’s not going to work for me.”
- ALLOW that you may have hurt someone’s feelings or done something “bad.”
- NAME AND FEEL your discomfort – of guilt, self-criticism, judgment. Allow all weather to arise without taking it personally.
- BREATHE some more.
Honestly, if you really think about it, disappointing someone is not the hard part. We unintentionally do it all the time. The harder part is doing it full on – with awareness.
–Excerpted from Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
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