Are you a natural-born people pleaser? I am. I just realized that I was traumatized by the birth of my sister when I was three years old. suddenly, I was no longer the center of attention. Not only did this usurper come along, but we moved to a new apartment which meant my bed got moved out of my parents room and into a space all by myself. Abandonment!! My response to this apparently was to devote myself to the baby’s needs. All she had to do was grunt and point and I was running. I was going to be a very good girl, in order to earn back the love my child mind felt was lost to my sister. Is it any wonder that I am always trying to live up to some impossible standards now? That all my loved ones need to do is grunt and point, and I run, Pavlovian, to fulfill the need?
To be fair to myself, I am a recovering People Pleaser. I am getting more confident in my ability to say no (and an authentic yes) every day. I have learned to listen to my body, and trust the answers I get. So much of having a happy, healthy sex life revolves around knowing our boundaries. When I work with my clients, I always tell them, “The mind will tell you lots of stories. The body never lies.” Learning to heed the signals we receive when we contemplate offers, is a practice. Our romantic partner invites us to give them a lap dance. Does my body tense? Do I feel expansive? Being willing to take a stand for our boundaries, requires that first we have to know what they are. And anything less than an enthusiastic smiling yes. . . is a no. Maybe, is a no. As I have learned to take this stand for myself, I find I have less resentments. I only do what I want to, when I want to. I have a post it note stuck on my desk which reads, “I would rather be uncomfortable today than resentful tomorrow.”
I’ve also had to practice graciously hearing no. When someone turns me down, now I see it as the opening in a negotiation, and not the negation of me, my attractiveness, or my worth. It’s just like tennis, you hit a ball, they hit it back. Helping my clients find their yes, is my greatest joy. Empowering them to say no is the way to get there. How are you doing with your boundaries? Let us know in the comments below!