Client: Good morning, Sweetie! Got a problem here. Your all-day event is going to be problematic for me. My son is going away and I have his kids for a week.
Shawn: Thanks for letting me know. And… let’s explore this a moment. It is exactly the kind of thing you cited as the reason why you are in this group, and why it feels so good to you to get back into the context of this work and to remember that you have choices.
If you only had the children for one day and he had absolutely no other options for childcare, that would be one thing. But you have them for a whole week and you definitely deserve breaks for yourself during that week. The last all-day event meant so much to you, so I think these longer events are the most important ones for you.
That’s where you finally make time to get away completely from all the responsibilities and immerse yourself in fun and laughter and honesty and the self-evolution that saved you from depression before, and what feels like sanity to you. These retreats, and even our shorter meetings, are the times when you realize you very much need to be with all of us, and most of all with yourself, to rejuvenate and reflect and “get YOU back.”
It’s interesting that you say you have your son’s kids. Is your husband not involved? There are other options as well. Childcare could be sought. You can let them know that you can sit for the whole week, but that you need to have that one day for yourself. Your daughter-in-law might look to her sister since she has kids as well….
I appreciate that you’re finding a private place in your house for our monthly evening meetings, to not be interrupted — even by the grandkids. That alone has been a milestone from where you started! So yay for you!!!! And I see this as the next self-care step that’s super important.
Blind to Our Options
What is the mindset that makes you think you don’t have this option available to you? It was like what we saw in the group the other night; when your family wanted the room, you got up and moved. I’ve seen it in so many ways lately; if they have a need, your mind tells you their need wins and doesn’t do any problem solving and options don’t even occur to you. When they wanted your space while we were in the online group, your quick response to your families’ needs and seeming disregard for your own needs that night was PERFECT! It allowed us to see that dynamic where it feels like YES is the only option, even when it means saying NO to yourself. But then you later resent having given up what you really wanted.
We are designed to thrive when we’re giving service, and yet there’s nothing written that says we’re supposed to serve when it deprives us.
The shift that happens when you check in with YOU first–before giving it all away–is amazing, and starts to change all the dynamics in the relationship with yourself and others. It reminds me of one of my clients working for months to muster the courage to say she wanted to come to one of my retreats. She hadn’t been away for a weekend for many years–since their first child was born. Her husband, on the other hand, would lament if he missed even one of his monthly men’s weekends.
That first one was a milestone for her, and after that everything in their marriage started to change.
Win-Win Outcomes that Start with US
When her husband would attack her about her time and money or perpetuate various inequalities, she started to stand up to him — and while there was some push back at first, as soon as she really stood in her own power and stopped bending over backwards to make his discomfort OK for him, he backed down.
In fact, the more she got out of his business and picked up her own journey, the more he picked up his. The health issues that had kept her from working improved greatly, and she started realizing how many skills she had minimized or put on the back burner that she wanted to engage by starting her own business. Now they have a really amazing partnership, and have had another child.
Mustering the courage to tell him she was coming to the retreat–stating simply that they would make it work–was the huge, huge turning point that changed everything for her going forward. She worked hard with me and with the group to get to the point where she had the courage to state what she wanted, instead of please, posture, placate… pretzel.
She didn’t seek permission. She didn’t seek approval. She trusted her vision for herself and her family. And then let him know it would be nice if she had his support.
CLIENT’S RESPONSE, less than 10 minutes later!: My husband just agreed to watch the kids that day.
MY RESPONSE: That was easy! (Or maybe not, but you did it, and so did he.) I’m committed to you staying committed to yourself — sometimes we don’t even have a vision of our options.
Coming Out of Their Business
Wow. Just saying that reminds me of something that I figured out years ago… whenever we’re in other people’s business, we don’t see that we have options. The only options we see are to either
1) acquiesce to them and dread the emotional state that we’re afraid they’ll go into if we ask for what we want, or
2) get them to change.
There is actually another option:
3) We can come out of their business and imagine who we would be and what we would be asking for if we were not second-guessing their emotional state or manipulating them by NOT asking. (Yes, I came to realize that the posturing and placating is manipulation, because we’re actually trying to control how they see us or how they behave).
So, once we get out of their business, and move into SOLIDARITY with our dear selves, we can see all kinds of options for making things happen–for crafting a life that finally fits, finally works, and is a WIN-WIN for those we love. We give them permission to feel the way they feel and want what they want, while we still stand in and for the way we feel. We let it be OK to want what we want as we come back into our own business to truly take our own part, which is all life is is trying to teach us.
If YOU’D like to come home to your own business, and get this kind of support, and sometimes know that doing the very opposite of what you’ve been doing is the thing that is called for… then seriously consider coming to one of our retreats or programs.
Write to me at email@example.com if you’d like to know more!