Categories
hamster people pleasing

People Pleasing

From http://www.clker.com/clipart-495807.html

On a recent QEC session we got talking about how people pleasing can be like being a hamster on a hamster wheel. If only I could draw because “a picture paints a thousand words” but “words are all I have”.

So I want you to picture three hamster wheels – you’re the one in the middle and on either side are those you are trying to please. You’re all running as fast as you can. You keep getting carrots but instead of eating them you keep giving those carrots to the hamsters either side of you because you want to please them. Your deepest wish is for them to be happy, to be content, to calm down, etc. And you have been brought up that to be a “good hamster” you make sure everyone else is alright. But the thing is a hamster doesn’t eat the food it is given but stores it in its pouches. So even though you are being a good hamster and trying to keep the hamsters beside you happy they aren’t getting fed because they are storing it in their pouches.

Too often we think we should do everything for others, should be the one pleasing them all the time, should be the ones putting everything right, but we lose sight of ourselves. Like the little hamster in the middle we get thinner and thinner whilst those we are trying to please just get fat pouches but are still not happy.

Because I am a follower of Jesus I often try and think about what the Bible says about things. So Jesus says “love your neighbour as yourself,” which even for someone who doesn’t believe in God it is a good way to be. This is what the little hamster in the middle is trying to do. The little hamster is doing what all good sermons tell them to do, putting others first.

BUT WAIT

This isn’t what that verse says. It needs to be looked at in more details. And if the Bible is read as a whole and not as soundbite then it does go on to explain further.

Someone once asked Jesus who his neighbour was and Jesus tells the famous story of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10:25-37] If you don’t know it then go and read it.

Now in this when the Samaritan does rescue the man he does basic first aid but then takes him to a man who can do more. The Samaritan does not lecture the man and tell him he was daft to be on the road alone, he does not give him extra money to be able to get home, he does not give him what he has lost. The Samaritan takes him to the inn then offers to pay for all expenses for him, then goes on his way. The Samaritan did not throw money at him, he did not set him up in business again, he doesn’t even go and tell his family the man is gong to be a bit late getting home. Nope! The Samaritan does what needs to be done to a man who is danger and needs help. All the other things – like rebuilding what he has lost, of being more sensible in future, of thinking for himself – is left for the man to sort out when he is well again.

I often wonder if, as well as fearing being “unclean”, the two ‘church’ people were afraid that they would not know when to stop giving. And I think we have all been taught how to give but very rarely have we been taught how to stop.

So back to the hamster analogy – you, the little hamster needs to get your needs met, needs to know what you need. And that might just be getting off the hamster wheel for a bit and finding out what your needs actually are. And also maybe letting those you think you are meant to be pleasing look after themselves for a bit.

It might surprise you, little hamster, to know that those you think you should be pleasing will actually be ok if you stop feeding what you think are their needs all the time.

Categories
Flexible trust

Flexibility

Photograph taken by Diane Woodrow
View from a walk taken by myself

I had a plan on Friday. Sarah from Everyday Words had just started her series of prompts for Write a Poem a Day in April because April is National Poetry month. My plan was to write from her prompts each day and post them through out April on both this website and my website, Barefoot At The Kitchen Table, which I use to promote my writing workshops to get a bit of footfall through there. Well as you can see that did not happen.

Instead I got a job!!!

A friend of mine works in a local pub and is going to be off work for 4-6 weeks for a much needed operation. I’d been pondering about asking if I could do some shifts whilst she was off as things are quiet with regard to writing workshops, and was hoping maybe if my time was more focused I might just write more. Anyway I never got around to asking. But on Friday morning her and I were off out for coffee. She was having a quick chat with the landlord of the pub about something else when I turned up at her house and said “need to go as Diane and I are off for a coffee”. She was on speaker phone and he shouted “Diane, do you want a job?” So instead of going for coffee we went to the pub where I had a quick interview and started work that self same evening.

It meant that my head was in a bit of a different place and also I had to get done those things I wouldn’t have time to do. But mainly it was because I was really nervous about starting.

Funny isn’t it how I’ve been doing all this trusting in God/The Universe to sort things out for me and yet when they do it all of a sudden I go into a bit of panic – adrenaline. But also I did not go into sorting out my autonomic nervous system [ANS] but just allowed myself to be in freeze mode for a bit.

What this has showed me is that one’s ANS goes into fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode over change as much as over good/bad things. It is always there to protect us from the perceived dangers out there – which is great because I don’t want to be eaten by a lion – but also don’t want to be in high alter mode just about starting a new job.

Some of the panic was also because I had already planned what I was going to do Friday night and had to change that. No matter how much I talk about having flexible boundaries, of being aligned rather than set in hard stone, of trusting and going with the flow, I still like my safe routines, my knowing what is going on.

So once I had worked that out I was then kind to myself about how I felt, let expectations go and was able to really enjoy Friday night – even though some very drunk man decided to kick off and I got a pint of larger poured all over me.

I so love that life isn’t settled, that it is a learning curve and as Beth commented on another post “we are only human after all”.

So I shall enjoy learning, enjoying being human, enjoy making mistakes, enjoy knowing that I don’t have to stay in a state of anxiety and can more on.

Also with this job I am going to have to learn to go with the flow because it is Sunday morning and the landlord still hasn’t sorted the rota out for next week so I will just have to trust that it will all be fine 🙂

[Post for the Everyday Words prompts will start coming as from tomorrow 🙂 ]

Categories
Alignment boundaries healing

No More Boundaries

A wall sheltering a shingle beach with rocks and seaweed on it, looking across to Anglesey with t he tide out. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Abergwyngregyn nature reserve taken by myself on 19th January 2022 at 9.15am

During my QEC session we talk a lot about not having boundaries but being in alignment to the world around you and your energy. I’ve been pondering a lot about it because it is counterintuitive to a lot of what one gets taught. How often have we all heard about “having clear boundaries” or even about “having boundaries that are flexible“. I attended a lovely workshop once around looking at boundaries – a fallen down fence, a brick wall and a wall with a gate in it, with the wall with the gate in it being what we should aim for. All sounded really good. Then I get this spanner in the works and because I trust so much else of what I’m doing through QEC I have to work this through.

As you can see from the wall above when a storm comes, or when it isn’t cared for, it falls and the sea rushes in. This is what we’re encouraged not to do – not to let the sea cascade in because …. because we could come to harm. So we spend a lot of energy working on those walls, even making sure the gate is in the right place and is well maintained. But alignment is a totally different thing.

I had gone through a bit of an issue with someone I was working with where I felt out of alignment with them and felt I was not getting the justice I deserved. Whilst pondering around this I was also doing some meditation around focusing on Jesus and the Cross and Healing what came to me was that “healing is once the pain has gone and the wound is clean” But how does that happen?

What I realised was that to get that healing I had been coming at it from a “your will be done” but wanting God’s will to actually match up with mine. So it was much more “my will be done. This has caused me thinking about my boundaries and what I wanted rather than what would being peace in my world.

As I let God/The Universe take over my niggles and need for my justice I felt myself calming, felt myself coming into alignment with God/The Universe’s peace for me. And that is the only word I can use to describe it – “peace“. I would say I got “healed of needing to know the bigger picture”.

So I may not look to the cross every time I feel discombobulated by something but I will learn to relax into alignment with a bigger will than my own. Once I can do that then there is no need for boundaries; no need to know what comes next; no need to even know why. There is peace. There is freedom. There is trust.

I know this will be an on going thing because I have been brought up for too long thinking I’m only safe if I’m behind a boundary but in fact I am safer when I am aligned to God/The Universe’s bigger picture and trusting God has it covered.

Categories
accepting boundaries Just say No

Just Say No

For those of us old enough that phrase will conjure up the cast of Grange Hill telling us to

no
Poster from Grange Hill’s campaign back in 1986

“just say no” to drugs. But actually we don’t teach people to just say No. This has come from an email I received from a friend who gets a lot of pressure from her family to help when in fact she has a demanding home life too. Her counsellor told her to tell them she couldn’t because of her demanding life. That got me thinking. So if my friend didn’t have things that drained her physically and emotionally then it would be ok for her to support a member of her family that she feels is expecting too much? I’m sure that is not what the counsellor meant but it is easy to think that.

Why can’t we just say No? Why do we have to put in excuses? My husband and I have decided to block out one weekend a month, to just say No to seeing other people. It is hard because we have a wide range of friends who like us and we like and want to see. Already this year we have had to change one of the weekends to fit in a birthday party. At the moment we are changing not losing that free weekend. But it is hard to say No. With myself and my writing I am trying to block out writing days and to say No to other things. It isn’t easy.

So I say “No because this is my writing day/weekend with my husband/I’m seeing my kids”. Why can’t we just say No?

So I am going to try a little experiment, and maybe get back to you and let you know how I did. I am going to say No without explanation. I did try with a coffee invite that I received today. It isn’t that I don’t want to see the person but it is because I am feeling tired what with winter lurking about still, that January/February feeling, and just want to do nothing for a bit. I didn’t say that I did just say “Can’t make the dates you’ve suggested but can do X if that works for you”

Do we always need to give a reason why we say No to something? Discuss [GCSE question for January LOL! ] 

Categories
accepting Airbnb being me boundaries choice espectations Flexible relationships uncertain vulnerable

Boundaries begin at home

I am feeling that what I am doing with a lot of what I do is restoring boundaries – in people’s lives with the creative writing; with the volunteering at the castle; hopefully

boundaries-quote-no
From  https://greendoorrelaxation.net/2015/06/13/setting-boundaries/

with stuff I am going to be involved in with Abergele. But yesterday I learned too that I need to restore the boundaries in my own life. Boundaries must begin at home. And with this it was literally at home!

As you know we rent two rooms on the top floor of our house via Airbnb, work of mouth and I also have a contact in the local hospital where we have had a series of doctors and nurses come through. Often with the doctors I struggle but yesterday I realised it was me not them. Ok so it is them to a point but I let them be. This is my home and I have a style of how I want to run it and I have not been clear in that. This came to me yesterday when a Pakistani lady doctor came to book the room. She had very definite ideas of what she wanted and was very firm in letting me know. I found myself feeling uncomfortable about this but bending to what she wanted because she was the ‘customer’! Hum where did that come from?

When she had gone I chewed over my feelings about what she had said she wanted and realised that, if she came for the 6 weeks she wanted to stay for, that I would be spending most of that time cross. Well that’s silly! But I realised too that I had been doing this with

boundaries-brene-brown-quote
From  https://greendoorrelaxation.net/2015/06/13/setting-boundaries/

some of our other guests; giving in to what they wanted, not standing up and say ‘not in my house’, allowing them to set the pace. We have a lady staying this week on holiday who was here on holiday last year and as I was going through things for her she said “you’re very laid back about things and very welcoming because of it” which is lovely and how I want my home to be. But with some of people, especially the doctors, I have been more than laid back. I have been a push over. I have let them set the pace and have been cross about it.

Being laid back doesn’t mean I don’t have boundaries. I have very clear boundaries but realised I am often afraid to show them because I want people to like me. It was very hard last night to send a text to this latest doctor to say that I didn’t think it would work out between us for 6 weeks. I was so nervous sending it, but I did. She gave a short reply which was not rude at all. I did a review for a place we stayed that actually I didn’t like and felt it was overpriced but I felt so bad leaving it. What if she doesn’t like me? The point is neither of these women liked or disliked me. They were just people passing through.

As with doing work on restoring the boundaries at the castle where people do not like it because it means places they have always walked are now blocked so it will happen with me that there will be people who don’t like it because I have changed. But as with the castle being restored to it’s former glory so I will be restored to my true self.

But also in being able to set my boundaries clearly without fear so I can encourage gandalfothers to set their boundaries without fear. I will not be doing workshops, volunteering, renting rooms in my house, in a manipulative way to get my own needs met but will be able to do it in a way that encourages, restores and elevates others – even if sometimes that will mean saying “you shall not pass“!

Categories
accepting adventure Airbnb Barefoot At The Kitchen Table being me boundaries choice connected creativity deciding dog excited family goals life plans writing

Where did April go???

Ok so I know April isn’t over yet but where did it go? This month was to be my quiet hello-april-images-1planning month – which actually I have successfully done – on the whole. I have workshops planned and ready to go. I have advertising sorted and sent out to whoever I can think of.  Actually as someone said to me it wasn’t so much a quiet month as an unstructured month where I had few time restraints – at least on the days I had at home.

Mind you I did fit in a friend’s hen do which because it was back where I use to live was a whole weekend away for me. Then said friend got married on 20th. It was a lovely wedding filled with much emotion – which will be saved either for another blog or to be kept in my private journalings.

Someone asked me about how to journal. I find that a hard question because I just write. I write as if no one else is going to read it and let my thoughts flood through. I had a great how-does-journaling-help-addiction-recovery-drugrehab-us_time of journalling over the hen weekend and came to some great realisations. Ok this might seem obvious to many but I have finally realised that

  1. I am  only one person
  2. I can only do so much
  3. if I want to do things well then I have to work out what is important to me what really grabs my heart
  4. I am not as young as I would like to think I am
  5. I have commitments that I cannot get out of – home, family, dog
  6. Airbnb will keep me busy but also free to explore

Ok so not rocket science but it still led me to saying No to things, or rather not so much no but actually stepping down from some things so I can put my whole energy  into a few things. I normally hold on to things so that I don’t hurt or upset people but then probably am not as committed as I should be. Whilst I journaled I looked at the things that gave me life and made me buzz. The things I’ve said I do not have the time to do are not bad things, are not things that I think are great and hope they come to fruition but they are things that I know I do not have the time for. Interestingly too as I journaled I saw that the things I was keeping all fitted together even though to begin with they looked separate. This would not have come about if I had just tried to think about it.

journaling-quoteMaybe it is because I’m a writer that I have to explore my thoughts via writing? I don’t know. All I know is that by the end of that weekend at the beginning of April I knew the things I had to put my energies in for the next year. Oh yes not the next month or so but the next year. This has been such a help in planning the workshops I am going to be doing, doing the advertising which I find tedious and also filling the rest of my month.

Interestingly too after committing to these handful of things that I felt were interconnected they then went and got even more interconnected with people from one set of workshops giving me openings to take the other project to another level.

Rather than repeat myself I am going to copy in bits from my Barefoot At The Kitchen Table newsletter which show what the plan for now is:

Three workshops for this new season, all of which I’m very excited about and am looking forward to starting.

  • Tuesday starting 9th May (not 6th June) for 7 weeks – Releasing the Legend Within at Llandudno Museum, Gloddaeth Street, Llandudno LL30 2DD from 1-3pm  A writing for well-being course looking at archetypes, journeys and being set free to be who one knows one is deep inside. £2 per person per session
  • Wednesday fortnighly starting 3rd May for 5 weeks – Write your life story at Gwesty Glyndwr, Marine Parade, Pensarn LL22 7PR from 11-12.30pm. £5 per person per session. Email to check dates. Always room for more and great tea, coffee and cakes at Gwesty Glyndwr.
  • Thursday starting 11th May (not 8th June) for 10 weeks – Creative Writing Group at Gwrych Castle, Abergele. Two chances to come and write in the Countess’s Writing Room – afternoon workshop from 1.30-3pm and twilight workshop from 6.30-8pm. Booking is essential as there is only enough room for 8 people in the writing room. This term I plan to be looking at questing and sagas. Cost £7.50 per person per session (£2.50 going to Gwrych Preservation Trust). Under 18’s welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.
The Project
I have been asked by Mark Baker of Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust to get involved in a year long project called “Gwrych Castle and The Great War: People and Place” which will be looking at The Countess of Dundonald, others who lived and worked on the estate and lived in and around Abergele, and how live was just prior to the First World War, during and then just after. The First World War caused the greatest change for the landed gentry in history.

​It will be an amazing project with three phases –

  1. Researching the period, hopefully getting in touch the relatives of people who lived and worked in this area during this time, taking their oral histories, copying diaries, photographs, etc.
  2. Taking this material and holding a series of writing workshops to explore and unpack the material and turn it into plays, poems, short stories and maybe even a novel, with the help of various writers and writing groups in the area. Which will take us to
  3. Taking the plays and turning them into performance pieces which will be held in and around the castle grounds at the Midsummer Open weekend in June 2018.
Of course all this is subject to gaining funding. So even though the project itself will only run for 12 months I am already working hard to secure funding. A long and arduous task!

If anyone is interested in finding out more about this project and getting involved please email me on grwycheducation@gmail.com and I can give more information.

So in my journalling it transpired that I really did want to immerse myself in this but I had to then sort out what else I could do and what I would have to put on hold for a while.

Will try to do another post soon 🙂

 

Categories
accepting Airbnb being me boundaries deciding forgiveness Grace housework mindfulness mixed emotions perspective presumption relationships uncertain vulnerable whoiam writing

Boundaries!!!

boundaries-2Oh I am so rubbish at setting boundaries. I find it so difficult. Maybe I wasn’t taught well as a child? Maybe very few of us get taught how to do it? Anyway it seems that this is the journey I am on at the moment – learning how to set boundaries calmly and firmly without losing it!

This weekend we’ve had those guests staying that really do need boundarying in. This has been a tough weekend. And today I have had to charge them for staining a mattress. And also when I did challenge them he actually, I felt, was quite passive aggressive toward me. Oh man I found it so hard not to be passive aggressive myself back again and not to say “it’s fine” when they offered to pay for the mattress. So yes I did manage to charge them for at least my cleaning time and didn’t lose my temper. But now I am shaking like a leaf and want to cry. I know its silly. Like this is my house, my business, my life, and I have got myself in a boundariespickle being firm to people in my house. But it was so hard.

Mind you I can think of loads of places where I give in and go with people and then try to put my boundaries in later and really screw up and do the whole passive aggressive bit, or even really shout. Actually it isn’t so much their fault, though I may have felt my boundaries have been violated, but sometimes it is because I have not been clear. Too busy people pleasing!!!

With my new venture of facilitating writing workshops I again have to set firm boundaries or I could easily get either carried away and do too much or not be willing to do something because of someone putting me down. I have to work out my life balance. I have things I have to do and things I can do and I have to learn what I can fit into my day and still be me. I need to also find time to write and plan and also just to hang out.

touch-and-emotions-the-role-of-human-contact-in-healing-33-728There are some amazing books out there about setting boundaries – which I have read – but actually it isn’t till you have to set them, and then have opposition to them that you realise how you are. Oh yes it is easy for me to set boundaries whether with the Airbnb rooms (yes we are up to 2 now) or with the writing workshops when people are playing ball with them, or even if they give them a bit of a push but when I say “No that’s it” they affirm me. The Airbnb guest being aggressive toward me upset me. Not because he had done it but because I realise how fragile I am about holding on to my boundaries.

So this weekend was hard work. I made some mistakes with the guests, with my husband, with myself, but I have learned a lot through it. And for me learning is always the greatest thing. I am not perfect but I am always learning. This weekend was good – even if there is now a horrid mess that needs cleaning!!! And loads of washing that need doing!! And guests that are arriving soon. – So why am I posting this? Because I told myself I need to 44bfb75e506e24127aa42088bd617f89publish something on my blog and so I that is also my boundary for me and my writing today.

(Lots of amazing boundary quotes pinched from various places 🙂  )