I have spent a good part of my life being a "shrinking violet". How about you?
What I mean is, I have not spoken up when I've felt put off by something. I have opted to keep the peace, rather than say what's upsetting to me.
Why is it that I seem to draw critical voices to my inner circle? Often people that I love the most feel the most critical. I think it's because my expectation of them is that they won't be critical at all. Wrong.
Rather than feel bad and hurt by their criticism, my new strategy is to set a clear boundary. "I love you, and will not stand here, stay in this room, stay on the phone or continue this text conversation while you continue to criticize me."
That is all. No drama. No making it mean something that it doesn't.
Just saying what is ok for me and what is not, and then following through.
It is so exhausting when you try and guess what someone is thinking or feeling, and then behave in a way to try and manipulate or control how they think about us and how they're feeling.
I know, that word manipulate sounds horrible.
Here's what I mean. Have you ever thought to yourself "I don't know what to do, so and so is going to be so upset with me if I don't agree to (fill in the blank)." From there, we often go into a debate with ourselves. We think of all of the possible things that "so and so" may say, think and do.
After imagining all of these worst case scenarios, we then try and find a happy medium. Something that works for us and something that will appease them. It doesn't feel good.
The entire time this is going on, we feel a bit nauseous, nervous, worried and scared that we're going to say/do the wrong thing.
I mean what if they get mad at us? What if they sound upset? What if they don't want to be in our life anymore? What if they think differently of us? What if they think we're rude or selfish? Heaven forbid, what if we disappoint them?
Consider this. What if it was all ok? What if you could feel all of those things? What if you allowed them to think what they want? What if you could love them anyway? What if you loved yourself too?