Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Choose Carefully

There are many distractions waiting every morning to stick, like burrs, to my life. One of the challenges I am facing is to identify these burrs before they glom on, rather than pull them off after the fact.

To spot them, I am cultivating the skill of discernment. Just because something is said or done in my presence does not mean it has anything to do with me. Most of these are best ignored, and not out of a sense of righteousness, but merely out of knowing what is mine and what is not.

As a recovering people-pleaser, my tendency has been to accommodate others, often at my own expense. What I am discovering now is that when I say no - and the no is an internal one, a "don't get involved in that" message that is solely for me - something comes along *for me*. 

I've kept a pet-sitting job that is too far outside of my range because I didn't want to tell them I wouldn't do it any more. Today I have decided to return their key and let it go. They are nice people and great cats. It's not about that. It is about me valuing my preferences and instincts enough to honor them.

Last night I quietly slipped away from a conversation I didn't want to have, about someone I no longer have any interest in. I didn't make a big deal about it. Just exited stage right. The part of me that in the past would stay there for the drama of it, felt conflicted. This new part of me that says no, we aren't spending our time and energy on people, places, or things that don't have a true place of value in our life, felt surprised and pleased.

It's hard to talk about or write about. The change is subtle, but powerful. It is as simple as not accepting someone else's language for my own experiences. For challenging myself to find ways to talk about how I truly feel rather than use the convenient stock phrases that are the cultural shorthand for how one should feel, think, believe, or behave, in any given life circumstance.

At age 55, I've come to see that I am just not interested in investing in anything or anyone who isn't a positive experience. My days of trying with difficult people or sticking around in situations that aren't good for me, or really about me, are over.  Where I experience the most resistance is within myself, to break patterns of giving away my time and energy on people and situations that don't deserve my attention.

And be okay with using phrase like "don't deserve my attention". That kind of self-talk, that attitude, is about taking a powerful position in my own life. It stretches me in uncomfortable ways still, but I see the great value in letting that wisdom be the operating system of my life from here on out.

When I feel the conflict inside today, I know I am at one of those places where the old language, beliefs, and behaviors are in opposition to the need for discernment that I feel so strongly in my life today.

Last night I told the Universe that I am done with being a tool for others to gain experience or get ahead. So my job is to look carefully and listen to my guidance, then act on it, in situations involving other people. Let other people learn the lessons meant for them and I will focus on what is on the path before me.

1 comment:

Taexalia said...

I haven't been getting your updates in my feed reader, so I am I am in catch-up mode!

I really love what you say about being OK with using phrases like "don't deserve my attention" and giving time/energy/power to people who aren't giving you a positive experience.

I know you wrote this a while ago, but I guess I was meant to read it today.

Thank you!