How often do you greet a new idea or invitation with “I can’t…” or “I am not good at…” I feel like we sometimes use these sentence beginnings to get ourselves out of a potential commitment that we don’t want to participate in… WHICH IS FINE… but could we not use better language to communicate that exact point to other people? Could we not tell the person that we are not interested at this time? Or that we were just looking to complain, not for ideas?
I am the queen of feeling uppity when people keep pushing when I have expressed disinterest in an idea, but I won’t communicate my disinterest clearly from the beginning of the conversation. I often use “I can’t…” and “I’m not good at…” to try to sway the conversation away from what I am being invited to in order to be polite, but the fact is that these words just invite more conversation about the subject. They invite a discussion that revolves around problem-solving to take away my blocks. They invite convincing and debate. Just because I’m not interested in an idea, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, it’s just not for me. I’m happy to listen to it, but please don’t take my interest in your topic as a sign that I want to be a living part of it.
Wow. It turns out this is a big thing for me to talk about. I get caught up in the excitement of others SO EASILY. I feel like others around me do the same when I am into something… Do I push past the “I can’t…”s and “I’m not good at…”s as well? This is an enormous thing to consider. Do I take these sentence starters as a declaration of desire with a lack of ability? A problem that needs solving? Do I do exactly what I dislike other people doing to me?
This clarity of communication is something that I feel like a lot of people can work on. I am the first to admit that I worry more about being polite than being completely honest and upfront. To declare what I want, which is to not be converted or convinced, feels abrupt and short… mean, but it is crucial to setting the expectation that I am here to listen, connect, and experience a new perspective. I am not here to be hassled into doing something I don’t want to do or believing something I don’t want to believe. I’m not here to leave my story and my desires behind. I don’t need to be convinced that your decisions are the best for me just because they’re the best for you.
I understand the desire to share something that you’re excited about. I do it too. I also understand the desire to help other people and to enrich their lives with the activity that brings you so much joy. I’m actually doing it right now. The difference is that I’m writing all of this down for me and for anyone who wants to know part of my process… The parts I am willing and, ultimately, able to write about. I am not going to harass and judge you into loving what I love. Doing what I do. Enjoying what I enjoy. I want to empower you to experience your best life- the one that comes when you feel your intuition and follow it’s guidance. Your life won’t look like mine, but I can’t wait to hear about what yours does look like and the process that you followed to get there.
Please don’t take my lack of leaping buy-in as a criticism of your choices and your passions. I will do my very best to use my most honest words to explain exactly what my interest in your joy is and turn your offers to join you down in the most graceful way possible. I will help you to describe your joy without feeling like you need to convert me into a follower as well. I will do this so I can give myself a chance to experience life in my own way and on my own timeline. I will do this same thing for you too and for the same reasons. As you move on your journey I might discover that your path lights up a part of me as well. I might not. And I expect nothing less than this from the people that surround me as well.
My joy is mine, and your joy is yours.
This growth and development is a process. Give yourself a chance.