Why You Should Risk Disappointing Someone Today

I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself these days, as I have. Did you miss me in your inbox? My guess is that you didn’t even notice that it’s been awhile.

It was hard for me to give myself permission to take a break, to put the podcast on hold for a few weeks — I didn’t want you to think I’d stopped caring. But taking time out to be with my family, to relax, to immerse myself in all that Italy had to offer, was really essential. It was a truly wonderful trip, not only because ITALY, but because it allowed me to downshift into a slower pace, which I really needed.

Now that I’m back, there’s a brand-spankin’ new episode on Holistic Mental Health — if you deal with depression and/or anxiety, you’ll want to check it out. We’ve got episodes dedicated to the psoas (the stealthy muscle that could be behind your low back pain), managing chronic pain, and boundaries, coming up in Season 2 of A Healthy Curiosity.

Last week, I hosted a Members-only gathering for the women in my coaching program/self-care bootcamp. Everyone who didn’t need to hop a plane showed up with prana-rich food and the kind of hugs you reserve for old friends you haven’t seen in years, though it was the first time most of them were meeting in person.

After the shots of kimchi brine but before the superfood chocolate truffles, I invited everyone to consider the person they had been before we started and compare her to who they are now. Then I ask them to share one thing that changed with the group.

People reported dropping extra weight, deepening their meditation and qi gong practices, feeling more comfortable in their own skin, getting more restful sleep, and exercising more regularly. No surprises there, since these were all parts of the program.

What I didn’t expect was fully half the women at the table sharing they felt like they finally had the right to prioritize their own well-being. The habits that were changing weren’t just around diet and mindful practice and stress management: they were also the more subtle ones of people-pleasing and perfectionism.

These women were drawing new boundaries at work and at home, opening up new dialogues about unspoken assumptions, unmet needs, and what they wanted to do differently. They were changing the framework in which they operate, because the new version of themselves can’t exist very well under those old conditions. You know you’re different when your old world doesn’t fit anymore. If this is the kind of change you’re after, you belong in the next round of Level Up. 

The thing is that in order to truly get the rest we need, to take care of our bodies, to change how we nourish ourselves, we might need to stop doing something else. And if we assume that someone else might be disappointed, that might be enough to hold us back from even having a conversation. While it may be jarring for someone to hear, “No, that doesn’t work for me,” people who love you will likely want to support you in taking care of yourself. People adapt. Especially if you’re willing to find out what’s important to to them about the situation and are willing to honor that.

Maybe your family starts bonding over breakfast instead of dinner. Maybe your curl-up-and-watch-TV-with-your-partner starts an hour earlier so you could get more sleep. Maybe you and your friend start meeting for walks instead of coffee.

How about you? What would you like to be doing differently? What’s stopping you? What would you have to stop doing in order to make room for this new way of being? Who else would it impact? How would your space, your time, and your relationships need to evolve in order for this to happen? Take a moment to answer these questions — it might help you see through your own resistance.

Sometimes the stuff we put on other people is really about ourselves. Was it hard for me to put the podcast on hold or be less consistent in emailing because I was afraid of what you would think? A little. But the real reason it was tough is because I identify so strongly with what I do. And yet there’s more to life, and more to me, than just that.

So I encourage you to risk disappointing someone today: have a conversation about something you’re wanting to upgrade or make easier to better meet a need of yours that you’ve been quiet about. The results might surprise you, and create some space for a new pattern, a healthier habit — maybe even a new version of yourself — to emerge.

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