How I Learnt To Say "Yes" To People I Don't Like
I have been fighting with my life for as long as I can remember, causing myself to suffer by wishing my reality was different to how it actually was. I often took the easy way out by avoiding or cutting out things/people that I found to be inconvenient or annoying. If I didn't like a person's constant negative attitude or inability to listen without talking over me, I'd just stop putting effort in to maintaining a friendship with them. It seemed like the best solution to my problem and has worked ok for the most part.
But what if the person that you find difficult is FAMILY?! When you HAVE to see them?
Avoidance no longer works.
You have to stand up and face that shit. That's what I had to do at Christmas 2014...
The idea for my YesQuest was in it's infancy and, I was on holidays. I wasn't really ready to commit to it fully.
That's what the New Year is for right? ;)
I found myself in the lead up to the in-law onslaught preparing myself in the usual ways. Reconnecting with my heart's desires, finding compassion and forgiveness for the people that I find particularly difficult. These techniques see me through most difficult encounters but when it came to the in-laws, my preparation would get me through the first upset and then I usually just crumble into a stressed-out mess.
I'd revert to my natural escapist behaviour (with the occasional huff and tantrum thrown in).
So this particular Christmas, it took about 2 hours before my last drop of willpower was gone, my self-control reserves were depleted and I couldn't care less about connecting to my values let alone being a nice person. I started talking back, being nasty and just whinging in general.
You've gotta watch out for a rebel who's lost her willpower. She rapidly becomes a fireball.
By Christmas afternoon I was breathing in rage and breathing out resentment.
I was actually just being a big baby because things weren't going my way. Because people weren't behaving the way that I wanted them to and because most of all, I just wanted my daughter to be loved and appreciated by her grandparents, who couldn't really give a crap about her.
My Father-in-law was the main instigator of my fire-ball-y-ness. He only said two things to me in two days:
1) "How's your car going?"
Not how's your life? or your child? (his only grandchild) or your business? or your health? or your house? or asking me about ANYTHING that I've been doing in the past 6 months since I saw him last.
No. He asked about my car. (this is the same man who told me how lucky I was to have such a great husband - his own son)
Here's the second thing he said to me...
2) (after hugging me goodbye) "You've got a bit more meat on you now."
He called me fat.
I called him on it and he said that it was meant to be endearing and that he meant that I look healthy and better than I was when I last saw him. This is what cracked me.
I always just thought this guy was a dick, so I treated him accordingly.
But now I could see that he was just like me.
He struggled with words like I do sometimes.
He wants to be soft but he comes across brash. Like me ALL of the time.
He thinks something nice in his head and then when he goes to talk a punch comes out. I'm guilty.
He stays in his comfort zone, goes with what he knows and plays it safe. Been there, done that!
My heart opened.
It turns out that I was the dick for treating him like a villain for the prior two days. We're one and the same. We're both dicks.
But the great thing about realising that you're a dick, is that you can own it, accept it and recognise your own ability to be a dick. THEN when someone else starts being dick-ish, it's much easier to tap into forgiveness and compassion for them, because you know what it's like to be an unaware douche just like them.
Forgive yourself, and forgive them.
It feels much nicer than holding onto resentment because they failed to live up to your unrealistic standards.
So, next time my Father-in-law asks me about my car. I'll appreciate the gesture. I'll see that he wants to connect with me and realise that he's doing it in the only way her knows how. Maybe I'll tell him about changing the oil or replacing the wiper blades. That'd be sure to impress him ;)
Who are you "saying no" to in your life right now?