Do you have a problem with the b-word? I'm talking boundaries!
I’m sitting at the red leather lunch counter on the world tour bus I called home that spring and summer, when T-streets, a rapper from New Orleans with contrasting neck tattoos and gold chains, turns to me and says “Kaahhlee” with his southern accent holding onto the “ahhh” part for a while- “You from France or somewhere?”.
Hmm, when this happened 4 years ago I had never even been to France. “No, I responded. What made you ask that?”
“Cause, you’re so nice, people been talking about you backstage and we all figured you must be from one of those happier countries.”
“Nope, I’m home grown”.
I smiled because people thought I was nice, and then I smiled again because that was only half the story.
The truth is, in order to be nice, I also have to employ a secret tool. I have to drop the b-word…my b-word is boundaries.
Here’s what happens when we say “yes” to every invitation and request. We burn out. We get stressed out. We build up resentment for people, sometimes people we really like, because we associate interacting with them with having to do more than we really want or are able to. We get overwhelmed, over worked, feel under appreciated and soon anger builds. We snap at friends or loved ones, or at our selves. When I have neglected putting a boundary up it’s easy for me to feel hard on myself for not being able to do it all, for drowning under the weight of responsibilities I can’t finish.
Our attempt to be nice turns into something ugly.
Or as Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun and Author, calls it in her book, The Places that Scare You, “Idiot Compassion”. “This is when we avoid conflict and protect our good image by being kind when we should definitely say “no.” … In the name of not shutting our heart we let people walk all over us.”
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. But we don’t have too.
It is really easy for us “kindies” to neglect our needs to help another - to over extend ourselves and in doing so stop practicing what we preach - self-care.
But sustainable kindness means making sure our needs are met.
American Airlines has it right, If you really want to help others, you must put your mask on first. A burnt out “kindie” becomes a “meanie” fast, and that’s good for no one.
So how do you drop a “b”? SHH: Short, Honest and Hush.
Something like this: “Thank you so much for inviting me, I’m just not going to be able to attend" (or do that, or help with that...you fill in the blank). And then zip it. SHH. That’s the hardest part for me, the shut up. It can be excruciating! But, like ripping off a bandaid, it will be over soon and is so much better than signing up for something that will take hours, days or more where you feel over exerted and stress out.
Say what you need to say and then stop talking.
When you say no you are simultaneously saying yes to yourself and the things you love. You are saying “No, I’m not going to do thing 1 so that I have time for thing 2.” You are saying that your health, happiness, energy and life is valuable. You are saying yes to more freedom. Freedom you could spend doing what ever you love - time with your loved ones, time to write your first book, or to read a book, or sleep, or to eat, to volunteer or to do nothing (imagine that).
You are saying a thousand yeses for every no.
And simultaneously you are increasing the level of peace and health on our planet beginning in your own body. The pace of your day becomes more relaxed, and suddenly being genuinely nice is easy. Others learn by the example of self-care you demonstrate. You might even be mistaken for being from another country ;)
The best part about sending these emails to you is getting your response and having a mini email chat up with you.
So click in that comments tab and tell me - where in your life could you drop a b? And how would it feel if you did?
Written by Karlee Fain, Celebrity Health Coach, Author and Hilarious Dancer
In addition to founding Every Body Thrive, Karlee is an international celebrity Health Coach, helping the high profile folks that lead our country and culture stay balanced and healthy. She's also the author of The Grocery Store Adventure Guide, featured in the Every Body Yoga DVD and the most likely to be caught dancing around her office. Click here for the inspiring story that brought Karlee from depression, stress and illness to living the joyful life of her dreams.