About 18 months ago, the life coach I was visiting to come up with some strategies about some things commented that she noticed I had a hard time with defining boundaries with females in my life. She noticed I did not have problems with men as much as women in my life respecting the boundaries of friendship. “Where are people in your life, ” she asked, “which circle do they fit in if the middle most one being the people you are closest to – who you are the most emotionally intimate with.” Read the rest here.
It was funny because while that imagery helped me define a few things, I still struggled with it. I still struggled with keeping people where they belonged. And trying to judge when to bring someone closer. Something other than gut and other than a test run needed to be found. Especially after I have had to forcefully toss some people from places they were that they shouldn’t have been.
In listening to Brene Brown’s lecture series, she cleverly laid out the litmus test of sorts. And it has stayed with me. (I sure I love people who can take something squishy in nature and make it more palatable for those of us who are analytical!) She said:
Choose people who have earned their right to hear your story.
Choose a person with whom you have a relationship who can bear the weight of your story.
She explains that the backfires, if you will, happen when you choose the wrong person to share your stories with. And it makes the teller feel bad, and the listener feel bad. And the situation? Yeah, it feels worse. The evidence pointed to all of those things happening each and every time.
Over the weekend, some crap happened that caused me to ask myself these questions. Instead of going with my gut or my emotions at the time, I instead internally asked myself these questions. And if one was no – then, I said nothing. They were not in the right circle.
In fact, when I got mad when blindsided by an overly emotional person tossing around accusations. I fought the urge of saying “oh, you want to know how it is – well, let me tell you.” Instead I pointed out that I don’t share that portion of my life with but select people (see above) – and that it was wrong of her to assume things based on the fact I do not do that.
In other words, she didn’t know because she didn’t earn the right to hear – and our relationship could definitely not bear the weight of it, at that moment especially.
While it may feel like I’m playing a chess game with the people in my life, I am realizing more to pick and choose where certain people really stand in my life – and realizing that they have no right to hear certain things – things that happen, may not be easy to share or give light to, and things that, if told to the wrong people, could piss me off when I get the response I do not need.
And that latter item – “could piss me off when I get the response I do not need” – well, that’s a biggie. Because I don’t need people telling me how I should feel – how I should “solve my problem” – I don’t need people responding with ways of shutting me up and pushing me aside for their needs to come first because – it pisses anyone off to be unheard.
I guess that’s the thing I’ve come to realize – to be heard, you shouldn’t spray it across everyone in hopes someone hears you. You should go to the person or people in your life that know how to listen, and only then will you be heard.