Providing feedback on a paid service should be the most natural thing in the world really shouldn’t it? You give a business some money to do a job and you need to make sure you are satisfied with said job before it’s conclusion, everybody does it, it’s no big deal…
Well no matter how lovely the business owners, how important the job, I can’t seem to woman up and be assertive (not aggressive or submissive, the “right” amount of assertive). I am always under-powered, seek to please, need to make sure everyone else is okay before I check in with me… sad. I know that this is unhelpful. I know where it comes from. I know it’s source expresses itself actively in my life in the present unchecked, because I lack the skills to tackle it.
How does one say “I’m sorry but I don’t like it” when historically that response has been ignored, railed against or used as an emotional flogging implement? I’m a grown woman and I struggled to let the jewelers who are making my engagement ring know that I didn’t like the ring they had made for me. I cried for 2 days at the sentimental loss and the knowledge that I would struggle to provide them with the feedback necessary to modify my ring.
I am driven to please and ensure everyone is okay. Your well-being before my own. On the occasions that I am assertive or voice my truth it is because for a moment I feel truly safe and like the repercussions, if any, will be repairable. I am not one to rock the boat. My sweet fiancee is the first person to have exposure to an uncensored Bel. He knows how I feel and I say what I mean. With him I am liberated and free, completely honest in all things. But god help me, I can’t seem to be able to translate that to all areas of my life.
I have a kind of motto that essentially goes like this “The day you stop learning is the day you take your final breath”. I don’t know if it is true in so far as for all I know learning continues beyond the grave. I also grant that I came across it somewhere and I am not the first to think and feel this sentiment. And so I try. I sometimes break down in unrelenting tears because I can’t muster the courage to do more than that. But I try.
With my ring, well the wonderful man that is my future husband came with me and we spoke to the jeweler together. Which was really me speaking and him standing by my side like my own personal rock of Gibraltar. The irony is that, as could be expected, the jeweler was lovely, completely understanding and wants to make certain that I leave with a ring that I love. I just needed to take a deep breath, and anchored in my strong sense of empathy, be honest.
As this difficulty expressing myself relates to the rest of my life, I’m going to try and apply exactly this premise- remain anchored in my empathy so that I come from a place of understanding love and be honest. I need to rock the boat when it is important. For my sanity and to sustain the love I have for the people that I need to be able to express myself honestly with. Everyone else seems to have the knack. I just have to practice.
To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. ~Joan Didion