In my last post, I shared about how I shut down as I found myself moving further and further away from what I knew would bring me joy. I shut down and wasn’t honest about how I was feeling in a direct enough way…in a way that would allow me to make my own choices about how to proceed. I realize that not speaking up was a choice, it just wasn’t my first choice.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on why this happened. I understand the shutting down part…it happened because I wasn’t honoring who I was and what was important to me. What I didn’t understand was why. Why, after all the work I’ve done, would I still allow myself to shut down and become so angry. It happens more than I’d like to admit.
It’s really pretty simple.
I did it because I was afraid of what people would think.
I was afraid if I didn’t do what they wanted, they would be upset…maybe not like me or want to spend time with me anymore. I was afraid they would think I wasn’t capable of doing the hike because I wasn’t fit enough. I was afraid they wouldn’t understand.
And the truth is that questions were asked about my physical ability to hike where we were hiking.
But the fact is that I could handle it just fine physically…because I did handle it just fine. I went most of the way before deciding I’d had enough…not because I couldn’t handle it physically but because I wasn’t having fun and I was worried about my camera and I was worried about hurting myself. I didn’t feel prepared to go the route they were going.
And the facts include that what someone else thinks is none of my business and yet I still allow it to influence the choices I make sometimes. I find this sad in many ways and I acknowledge that I’m only human. We all want to be loved…to have people enjoy spending time with us. But by shutting down and becoming angry I also realize I created a really uncomfortable space for everyone.
So what am I to do? Speak up for myself, of course. Just like I’d want you to speak up for yourself. Honor yourself and your process. Connect with what brings you joy and do it regardless of what others think or feel about it. We can’t control what anyone else feels or thinks anyway.
Of course this isn’t about hurting someone on purpose. I do believe that life is a balance. And I believe it’s important to be up front about what’s important…silent expectations are relationship killers. You must speak up, no one else is going to do it for you. And then make decisions about how to move forward in a way that honors you first and everyone else whenever possible (without giving up something that means a lot to you).
Truth is, when you honor yourself, you do honor everyone else. In my situation, had I just owned how I felt, expressed it in a positive way, and then done what I wanted to do…it would have never gone anywhere else. I wouldn’t have gotten angry. I wouldn’t have needed to be by myself for a while to decompress. I wouldn’t have missed other opportunities to do things I wanted to do with everyone. This is sad for all of us.
If only I’d spoken my truth.
In the future, I commit to doing my best to speak my truth. A new piece of jewelry serves as a reminder, purchased during a recent weekend away where two of us stood up and spoke our truth…sticking to a commitment we’d made together, even though it meant disappointing others when a family function was planned for the same time frame. We needed that time away and we’d already made plans.
No regrets. Speak your truth.