Letting other people be uncomfortable is the bomb

It’s ok to be yourself even if other people don’t get it.

Do you ever feel exhausted after social events? The very word “social” implies fitting in with others, not sticking out, setting others at ease. Unfortunately, that’s often impossible if you are exploring better boundaries and being true to yourself.

What if you dress differently? What if your physical appearance is really different from a group of people you find yourself in? What if you are in a particularly slow, plodding mood, and everyone else is shockingly cheerful?

Most of us want put others at ease in social situations, or in close relationships. Unfortunately, much of how we learned to do that means we disregard our own needs, ignore physical signals inside ourselves, dress in ways that aren’t comfortable, or match other peoples energy and tempo at our own expense.

I really enjoyed the recent Better Boundaries pilot workshop, and I’d love to share with you a few of the insights that arose…but, you know, boundaries! It’s private! So I don’t want to quote people directly, but I can share a few themes that emerged. 

  • we don’t have to apologize for the physical state we are in at any given time.
  • since culture & society don’t make space for us to be as we are, we have to make that space for ourselves and that often means choosing our own comfort over others discomfort.
  • or, it can sometimes mean not hiding our own discomfort!
  • using the pronoun “I” to replace the phrase “my body” can have profound consequences. If my body is shutting down, I am shutting down.

Embodiment is really a ridiculous concept. As if disembodiment was even possible.

I need reminding, as a teacher, that it is important for folks to have space and time to register whatever is going on in their bodies. I know it sounds so basic as to be obvious, but…those are often the biggest learning moments, right?

A practice that is very soothing for one person may be difficult for someone else.  Allowing for discomfort and difference takes the pressure off, so folks can really grapple with their own questions and challenges.

If I, as a teacher, expect everyone to be comfortable all the time, nothing interesting is going to happen! It’s like a somatic fascism of ease. In my classes, I never know what will arise in response to the practices I teach. In many ways, I can’t know ahead of time what people will learn.

All I can say is, I can’t wait to find out! I know my material is useful if it continually raises different issues and responses.

It was such a satisfying workshop, I’m going to expand it into a 4 week series starting September 12. We will meet one evening per week for 75 minutes, 4 weeks in a row (last 3 weeks of September, first week of October). IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND, PARTICIPATE IN THE MEETING TIME POLL HERE.

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