You Don’t Have to Eat Everyone’s Frogs
An antidote to people pleasing your way through life
I was thinking about why being an adult has been the worst violation of my rights as an individual. The things I have had to ‘conquer’, ‘master’, ‘learn’ and ‘adapt to’ have been a nuisance. It’s ridiculous that I wasn’t even given the option to sign a consent form before I was born. I did not ask to deal with this human shit.
As a recovering people pleaser, one of the most important — and harrowing — lessons I learned (I’m still learning) was developing the ability to deal with myself outside of all the unsolicited advice I received growing up. Once I learned that half the shit people say is a projection of their own experiences in life, I started recognizing the power I had over my own mistakes.
If you’re a 20-something individual like me, on the brink of discovering yourself, and you have trouble stepping out of situations when they make you unhappy, I’m writing this for you (and me).
Saying “no, thank you” is a practice.
Remember that bite of broccoli on a spoon as you were sat on a high chair? The airplane that was a BIG CHUNKY LIE? It was a different time then. You had no choice but to comply with the wishes of your caretakers. You may have had to comply for the sake of a balanced diet, or for the sake of your parents needing to feel in control of their own lives. Either way, at some point, you have experienced the unpleasantness of being forced to do shit you don’t fucking want to do. But you did it anyway because it was easier than dealing with the conflict that comes from upholding your own boundaries.
Saying no is hard. Saying no means feeling responsible for how someone else feels because of you. And if they’re hurt because of your actions, it sucks even more. You feel selfish and inconsiderate for hurting someone through the power of your choice. Owning your decisions? What a shitty thing to do to someone who put the ball in your court.
If every situation was a game of tennis, and you knew that not playing it for yourself meant going home with a blackhole for a gut, would you still give up your turn?
The thing about life is that it moves to align you with your blueprint. The longer you take to accept the changes, the heavier it feels. So…trust your gut and say no when you mean it.
Honouring your intuition takes courage.
Maybe you’re not making decisions for yourself because you don’t know how to make a decision from a place of grounding. You’re so used to someone else deciding what happens in your life that there is a disconnect between you and your intuition — that grounded inner guide you’ve had since you were born.
Just like a relationship with a new partner takes time, a relationship with your intuition takes time, trust, and effort too.
The first step to understanding your intuition is — lo and behold — connecting with it! Which means getting out of your head and getting into your body.
If you can make time to connect with your body everyday, you can water the intuition and watch it come alive when a new decision needs to be made. The next time someone asks you to eat their frogs, your body will scream loud enough for you to hear it and say NO THANK YOU.
Action breeds motivation, not the other way round.
Yes, you’ve read this article. You’ve learned something about yourself. You’ve decided that things will change now. But maybe you think they won’t change just yet because you don’t have the motivation to practice saying no, thank you. Or the time to connect with your body. You think you will live a life of good boundaries when it is magically meant to happen.
What’s going on here is that you’re waiting for ‘the right time’. I see you. You’re afraid of the rejection that comes with standing your ground. You want to feel completely energized before you can create these boundaries around yourself to protect the little energy you have left. That’s not how this works. You may never find an optimal time to create good boundaries that is not NOW.
Think of it this way. Boundaries protect your energy. That energy can then be used to look for other boundaries you can create to further protect your energy.
The momentum you gain from setting one small boundary can help carry you through the next few and the few after that and so on.
In this way, taking small actions can help create a cascade of actions in the same direction. So what’s the first boundary you’re setting and who are you setting it with?