I am having breakfast on this lovely garden patio, and when I went to order food, I stood in line beside a group of older men who were enjoying a meal together.
One of them was speaking emphatically…something about how the city should invest more in the quality of its roads. Playfully, he looked up at me and said, “Don’t you agree!?”
I smiled and said, “One hundred percent,” with conviction, even though
▫️ I wasn’t paying attention,
▫️ I don’t live here,
▫️ I don’t actually care.
He expected me, a stranger, to be
✨energetically available✨ to him and to agree.
And I reinforced his expectation. 💯
I didn’t mind. I liked him, the whole exchange was perfectly pleasant, and I could feel his kind-heartedness. But sometimes it’s not that way…like last year when a man was in a lobby in front of me, maskless and angry about being told to put one on.
He turned around, approached me, spitting mad and said something like,“This mask stuff is such bullshit, right!?”
I was headed to a neuro ICU. I put an energetic ice field around my body and responded,
“I’m not available and I don’t even want you to point your face at me.”
I could feel the shock (rage) at how clear my boundary was and how deeply NOT available I was to him.
Women make themselves energetically available even when we don’t want to because being likable and pleasant is a safety thing-categorically, men are stronger.
People sometimes do NOT like your boundaries or your desires.
This is why part of my work is with helping people cultivate more internal safety. So that they can hold themselves when saying no to their boss, saying what they want, or doing a brave thing in networking.
It’s so that you can discern between when you need to be pleasing for safety reasons or to hide what you really think…and when you don’t.
P.S. Men 💗: This is an area where you could give your female colleagues/cohumans grace, too, when they seem indecisive but you sense they actually do have a distinct opinion. Being pleasing can feel life or death…for many people it *has* been. Just ask. 🙏🏼
P.P.S. Women 💗: Nobody reinforces the patriarchy like we do.
Emma Garrett is an Executive Career Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life. Ready to start doing things differently? Consider scheduling a free call to share your situation and goals or checking out the resources at www.emma-garrett.com.