“ANN BROWN ..!!!!!” The nun yelled at me from down the school corridor.
I was about 14 at the time, and I can still feel the fear and hear that nun’s booming voice! She’d been right behind me as I went through a door, and I didn’t know she was behind me and I didn’t turn round to check…
So the door swung back in her face – Ouch!
She shouted ahead at me, and I turned to look at her (along with half the school, it seemed).
She marched up to me, and proceeded to tell me in the strongest terms how I should ALWAYS look behind me when I’m going through a door and NEVER let a door swing back into someone’s face.
Ba boom … ba boom …. my heart was beating fast.
I could feel the heat of her breath in my face and the humiliation of being shouted at in front of everyone.
Time stood still for me in that moment….and I’ve never forgotten it.
And I learned the rule,
Oh boy did I learn the rule…
“Always look behind you when you go through a doorway, and hold the door open for the next person behind you.”
(And because I learned that rule so well, it drives me NUTS when other people don’t do this… but that’s another story!)
Maybe you’ve learned things in a similar way – the ‘shock’ or emotional incidents that we never forget, and that become embedded in our subconscious as ‘rules’ that cannot be broken.
When Is It OK To Break The Rules?
Do you have a subconscious rule about being polite ?
Perhaps one of the deep rules you’ve learned is
“I must always be polite, and if someone asks me to do something I must say YES, because I don’t want to offend them”
You say YES without thinking, and then suffer the consequences later – does this sound familiar?
You’re sensitive, and that ‘rabbit in the headlights’ feeling is not a resourceful place from which to deliver your authentic response. The greatest gift you can give yourself is quiet time and space to think.
And one way to do that is to practice ‘delaying’ your answer.
You can be both polite and respectful to the other person and also true to yourself.
The next time someone asks you to do something, pause and give yourself time to think about how you really want to respond. For example, you can say
“Thanks for thinking of me, I can’t give you an answer right now, I need some time to think about it. I’ll get back to you soon”
That’s it ? – Just like that ?
I know that probably sounds way too simple and you couldn’t possibly do that …. right ?!
It might sound very simple, and on some level it really is (!), yet for a sensitive woman it’s a big step to ‘publicly’ own your space and time, and to answer in a way that’s authentic to you.
This is why I’m so passionate about coaching sensitive women, because I understand that there are many layers and nuances around any decision, and it’s important to honour them and take time to sift through them all,
but to avoid overwhelm, sometimes it’s also important to take action.
So, I challenge you to practice answering requests in a different way. You never know, “I’ll think about it” might just become automatic !
What do you think?
Is this familiar to you ? How do you deal with requests from others ? I’d love to hear how this lands for you – please share your comments in the box below !
(I’d like to thank Joe Shlabotnik for the great Pool Rules image I used!)