No. A complete sentence, from a recovered people-pleaser.
I recently had an old client reach out to me with a 4-page letter demanding a refund. I was surprised at first, then angered. Once I had processed it, and ran it through a filter of objectivity and clarity, I responded. I had not bothered to read the 4-page letter, but the subject of the email and the introduction to the letter was enough to respond to. The letter itself would have only been filled with emotional posturing and illogical reasoning. There was nothing (not even one thing) that had given grounds for a refund. As such, their letter was just the lengthy act of them choosing to NOT take responsibility for their situation, but rather redirect that responsibility to someone else.
The timing was perfect. I recently concluded reading the book, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.’, and it changed my outlook on boundaries – particularly as it relates to responsibility. Truly asking myself, “Is this my problem?” (and this is looking at both sides, whether I am the cause or someone else is).
In this instance, no, it isn’t my problem, and it never was.
However, the book also helped me to shed light on the ways in which I could have taken more responsibility for myself and my own actions, in general, not as it pertains to the aforementioned situation.
Even before the client’s letter, I realised that I too, had done a lot of what they had chosen to do. I had not taken responsibility for the role I had played in the disappointing outcomes in my past relationships or projects. So many times before, I had also written long letters and messages, which like this client, had done, blamed them, without realising how I had contributed to where I was.
I had to both look at the ways I could take responsibility for things occurring to me, as well as draw hard lines around those things which were NOT my fault.
Both take crucial amounts of strength, honesty and confidence.
My response to the old client was simply, “No”…an affirmative, unwavering, line-drawing No. This started a chain of events, because “No” does not need an explanation. I have always been so concerned with what people understand, about if and when I say, “No”.
Whatever is or is not understood about my “No” is not my responsibility. You know what is? My responsibility is answering the question, “what do *I* understand about this?” From within my world view, how can I be honest with myself about my own needs or about the ways in which I am not being direct. When I fix myself in this way, “No” becomes easier. I have done those things that are in *my* power to do, and those things which are *my* responsibility. Hence, I cannot give a fuck about those things which are not in *my* power. When I simplify it to this level, the answer is easy. “No.”
That 4-page letter, though unread, was an opportunity to decide whether I would continue being a ‘recovering people-pleaser’ or if I would position myself as a ‘recovered people-pleaser’. I chose full-recovery, and I’m walking it out.
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