Recently a friend of mine was scheduled to go on a trip to visit a friend. She was really looking forward to getting away and relaxing, however; in the days leading up to the trip she realized that the “drama-meter” of her interactions with her friend were off the charts causing her apprehension about taking the trip.
Instead of forging ahead, like most of us would as to not cause a rift with our friend, knowing she was headed for a week of theatrical ebbs and flows, she did something unexpected and out of character… SHE CHANGED HER PLANS! Instead of heading directly into the eye of the melodramatic storm, she would change course and visit with her family that lived in the same area.
As a fellow “people pleaser” it is a foreign concept for us to make self-care and preservation a priority. We feel guilty for even thinking in that direction and worry more about offending others than what we need to de-stress and rejuvenate our body and mind. Because of that we usually end up heading directly into a situation where we are assured of experiencing chaos and crossed boundaries, leaving us emotionally drained and physically exhausted by the conclusion.
The good news is that we can choose another way!
Here are some tips that can help you do it “your way”:
- Be as straightforward as you can be with the other person regarding your need to change plans (without being mean or blaming). It’s helpful to write out and role-play the conversation before having with the intended friend to make sure your message is clear and concise.
- Let go of guilt regarding the change (see Letting Go of Guilt).
- Don’t be afraid to put yourself first even if you step on toes, if they are really your friend they will understand.
- Embrace the new course you have chosen.
The words of Frank Sinatra’s song My Way ring true:
“I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.”
My friend took some heat for setting boundaries and changing her plans. However; by doing it “her way” she ended up having a wonderful trip and returned rested and rejuvenated. I truly admire her tenacity and inclination to focus on self-care and preservation.
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