Being ME in the Face of WE
You’ve been a pleaser, always gone the extra mile, and worked hard to make everything perfect. Then you started struggling with chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or feel like your life has no meaning. So you hired a life coach and are working to connect back with what makes you happy, and have started to live your life more from your authentic self. YAY!
They Don’t Like the New You
Well, don’t be surprised if your loved ones, dear friends and colleagues don’t necessarily like the new you. How you handle their reaction is key to creating healthy relationships while being your authentic self.
Sure, it’s easy to cavalierly state – “Hey, if they can’t take you being you’re authentic self, you don’t need them in your life.”
While this may be true for some of your connections, it’s wrong for probably most of your relationships. I’m going to suggest you give them a chance to catch up with you.
Give Them a Chance to Catch Up
You’ve been this nice accommodating, hardworking, helpful, and cheerful person.
Sure, it caught up to you and cost you dearly in the form of body issues. So once you start acting more in alignment with your authentic self, and start getting healthier, the people around you…well, they might not like you so much.
Maybe you’ve always been willing to:
Take your friends to the airport at 5 AM. Now, you’re unavailable.
Do the housework at home. Now, you’re asking your spouse for help.
Worked a prestigious job that supported the family. Now you want to study art.
While in theory, these friends, loved ones, and colleagues, may encourage you to be your authentic self, when it comes right down to it, when you start taking care of yourself, setting boundaries, and saying no – to them…they are NOT going to like it.
They’ll be wondering, “Where did my helpful, generous, and available person go?”
How you deal with their reaction is key. Do you:
Snapback, swearing next time will be different?
Cut them out of your life because they just don’t understand you who you really are?
Decaf to Fully Caffeinated
Think of it this way.
If you’ve been working to please those around you, being a “good” spouse, employee, friend, etc., always pitching in, volunteering, and going the extra mile. I’m going to guess you really want people to like you. You don’t like to upset people and are afraid to rock the boat.
Well, to those around you, you’ve been showing up like a cup of decaf coffee.
When you start getting in touch with, and speak up, and act on, what you really want, it’s like you’re showing up as your full caffeinated self!
Your peeps have been used to you being decaf.
Give them a chance to adjust to your caffeinated self. If you don’t, you’ll wind up snapping back to your pleaser self, or you’ll prematurely sever the relationship.
Too often clients have said, “I think I just need to leave my husband. He’s so defensive. He just doesn’t get me. “
WAIT a MINUTE!
Learn to Tolerate Someone Being Upset with You
I’m going to suggest is that you learn to tolerate someone being upset with you. I know it’s not easy. This is why you’ve been working so hard to please others – precisely because you don’t want people to be upset with you.
I’m here to tell you – you can survive.
Rather than make their reaction about you, see if you can recognize that everyone has a right to their feelings – even being upset. You don’t have to change back to make them happy. Nor do you don’t have to cut them out of your life because they are being unreasonable.
Learn to hear them, witness them, even empathize with them. Try saying something like:
“I can imagine if you’ve always counted on me to…
take you to the airport
clean up the house
support the family
…that it would be upsetting to you when I don’t want to.”
You haven’t agreed.
You haven’t apologized.
You haven’t said that you were going to go back to the old way.
You’ve simply reflected back and validated that yes, they have good reason to be upset with the change.
Now, listen to how hard it is for them. Be curious. And continue to state your preference.
“No, I don’t want to (fill in the blank). My preference is to (fill in the blank).”
Then suggest, “When you’re ready, I’d love to brainstorm some other options.”
You don’t have to give all of yourself to please them.
Tolerate them being upset.
Restate your preference and see what other options you can come up with together.
Here’s to being fully caffeinated and in healthy relationships!
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.