"If I say no, she will hate me."
Today, I had an Equus session with a horse trainer who was curious about experiencing Equus Coaching.
Whenever I offer to coach someone who hasn’t yet experienced Equus Coaching, they ask me what they are “supposed” to do. This is a logical question and one I would probably ask too, and it’s also helped me realize that as a culture, we are in a constant state of doing.
In my session with Laura, it was clear that she hadn’t allowed herself the time to be. She was constantly going and going, which was fueled by this self-pressure to please those around her for fear she would disappoint them or hurt their feelings.
She runs a horse rescue and with that comes with a lot of responsibility, as you can imagine, but what I saw in our session, was that a lot of her worry and stress was coming from the fear of disappointing people, not from her day to day responsibilities.
Specifically, she was feeling guilty for saying no to someone.
Can you relate? Have you ever felt guilty for saying no to someone, even though you knew it was the right choice?
That’s how Laura was feeling. She knew that saying no was the right choice for her, but she still felt guilty.
Why? That’s what we are going to uncover.
Here is the thing: When we are afraid of hurting people’s feelings, we hold things back. We aren’t honest with ourselves, which means we probably aren’t being honest with the other person, which ultimately ends up hurting both parties more.
Setting boundaries can be hard, and yet, there are a few steps we can take that can make it a hell of a lot easier.
Acknowledge your feelings.
When something isn’t going quite right, we know it.
We may ignore or brush it off, but it never fully goes away, if anything it grows until we do take the time to acknowledge it.
In Laura's case, she continually had people like Sally come into her life to test her and help her get better at saying no and setting healthy boundaries.
Inquiring within doesn’t have be a big production. We can simply take five minutes and check in with ourselves.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
How are you feeling?
How can I help?
Love and kindness towards ourselves can go a long way when we are inquiring within.
Admit your fear.
What is the thought or fear behind your feelings?
What are you afraid of?
Here is a trick: Our feelings are guide posts. They are showing us if we are moving down the right track or wrong track. If you're feeling guilty for instance, there is a thought or fear that is behind the feeling.
Behind every negative emotion is a limiting belief that isn’t true.
For example, Laura's fear/thought was:
"If I say no to someone they will hate me."
Laura realized that when she was feeling guilty, in this specific situation, it was because she was believing the thought: “If I say no, people will hate me.”
After doing The Work, she came to realize that this thought wasn't true and that it was the one thing causing her stress and guilt.
By the end of our session, Laura felt more at peace.
She realized that her feelings were like little messengers, helping her along the way. She also realized that she didn’t need to go on vacation to find her quite place, she could find it right where she was, if she allowed herself permission to do so.
Is there something that has been weighing on you that you have been scared to acknowledge?
Follow the first two steps.
Give yourself permission to go there.
I promise it won’t kill you, if anything, it you will feel relieved.
You got this.
Grab your journal and go there.