#59 The first New Year's Resolution I'll actually stick to
There's this cartoon of Timone and Pumba me and my sister would watch when we were younger. Pumba would come up with a genius solution to the problem at hand, be completely ignored by Timone, only for Timone to then turn around a few minutes later and say that he'd come up with a genius plan. And say what Pumba had earlier.
It, of course, was hilarious to a young Elizabeth. It was so stupid. So frustrating that Pumba would always be ignored.
It was exactly what I do to myself all the time.
There's a Pumba part of brain that has been telling me for the longest time that I need to fix my communication. That I'm childish and frustrating and I very often don't say what's on my mind, to the detriment of everyone around me. That I should simply: be honest.
And there's a Timone part of my brain that has been ignoring that clear solution and trying to figure out another way around it for years.
See one of the most difficult things for me to do is to say what I want or don't want at any given time. Hates the way a friend treats me: never says anything about it, builds resentment for months or years then cuts that friend off. Hates the way my boss treats me: never says anything about it, builds resentment for months or years then leaves the job. Hates the conversation at a table, doesn't say anything about it, leaves last and builds resentment about myself for the rest of the night. Spotting the theme here?
I obviously knew I had a problem with saying what I wanted, I obviously have been called out on it too many times: “I know you're not saying what you think, Elizabeth”, and yet, I never truly, actually could let go of that part of my brain that screamed “ you can't tell people what to do”, “they'd hate you if they knew”, “you'd have noone left”.
Then something snapped. Then finally the Timone in my head turned around and said: wait, I should just tell people what I'm thinking. And this is why.
I was in the middle of reading a book which described boundaries for the first time in a way that I could actually accept, appreciate and adopt.
See, all this time, I thought boundaries were all about telling people what to do. Changing things. Saying you didn't want something and wanted them to do something about it. Saying no. And if you're an insecure people pleaser, all of that sounds like hell. But the book didn't describe boundaries like this. It said that instead, a boundary is telling someone else what you'regoing to do.
That was mind-blowing.
Look, it sounds like a simple shift, but to me, it made all the difference in the world. I don't have to say “please don't say that”, I can say “if this continues, I'm going to have to go". I don't have to tell a friend “you need to treat me better/I don't like what you're doing”, I can say “I find that I'm getting resentful when you do X, and I really don't want to feel that way about you”.
I could keep all conversations about me: I don't need to change other people's behaviour and actions, I don't want to do it and I don't want to have to suggest or say it. But I can get the exact same result of living how I want to by just stating what my behaviour will be.
I don't feel controlling, I feel in control.
For the very first time, the world of saying what I wanted seemed to open up to me. For the very first time, I truly promised myself I'd say what I wanted, when I wanted. And for the very first time, I've been able to stick to it. It's been amazing.