Twenty women - between them spanning SEVEN decades! - recently gathered under the full moon to share their diverse experiences and examine the challenges around saying no - as well as their wisdom about what what they want - AND what makes a positive difference.
Spanning from the late teens through to the mid seventies, and from diverse backgrounds, much of the richness and delight came from sharing and learning from their varied experiences, with a wealth of wisdom and insights and laughter contributed by all.
If you missed the evening and you're interested, definitely make next month's on Wednesday 14 September... when the focus will be continued into the area of setting boundaries. Meanwhile, here are a few snippets. Enjoy!
- In relationships, problematic areas include competing roles in life ...distance and competing demands ...complicated relationships ...being available for family health and other issues ...requests from others experienced as overly demanding ...disciplining a teen.
- In the workplace: competition ...the past experience of saying no and having it used against me ...obnoxious team not being disciplined ...lack of clarity about roles ...lack of boundaries in the organisation ...glorification of 'busy'.
- Ah, and as we grow older, there's the challenge of redefining (for ourselves as well as for others!) what we can do and say yes to in the face of gradually reducing mental and physical capacity and reduced capacity to multi-task.
When we delved into the underlying issues, often the causes or crux of the matter, we identified aspects that can often be overlooked - and that need to be addressed to create a clearing for genuinely valuing of ourselves and being able to say no as we need. Top underlying factors include:
- Not valuing myself, putting myself last.
- Believing and being run by our internal critic/s and self judgement.
- Fear of hurting others ...being rejected ...failing ...standing out ...saying no to a partner ...disappointment ...saying no to family and friends and friends of friends ...fear of what if...
- Keeping busy so we avoid looking at or dealing with our own self, concerns etc.
- Lack of clarity about what is wanted, and lack of boundaries for ourselves and in workplace.
- Our perceptions and the 'story brain' we bring to situations.
- Desire to be pleasing everyone - underpinned by early training and belief that we should always be .
- Actively value and treat yourself with respect.
- Practise gratitude ...and honesty and inviting honesty back ...and being open to vulnerability.
- Acknowledge the fear: practice conscious courage ...being present in the discomfort (lean in) ...say yes and do it anyway.
- Learn and practise negotiation in relationships.
- Listen to your heart and your truth for what you should be saying, and be clear in stating what is wanted.
- Generate a broader support base within the family: ask for help.
- Take time out, pause and play the truth out! It will be perfect!
Be clear in communication. Say how it is - clearly, eg:
- You can't rely on me tonight - I need ME time.
- That doesn't work for me right now.
- I can't commit to that right now - I need to think about that.
- I can't do it this time - maybe next time.
- Tell me what you'd be needing.
- I'll check my availability and commitments and get back to you in a couple of days to let you know.
- Build in regular practises to support you such as meditation ...mindfulness ...creative pursuits.
- Set up to gain the clients I want.
- Establish agreed explicit principles for roles and models of working.
- Build confidence in partner support.
- Be organised with a schedule to be able to assess whether a request could be accommodated, if you wish to consider it.
- Make use of resources and approaches that honour your time and your wellbeing. Eg introduce Skype to connect to family members who live a couple of hours away.
- Next event: Wednesday 14 September. Theme: Boundaries that empower.
- Stay tuned for when event bookings open.