by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
I found out a few years ago that kindness could be weaponised, and worse still, I recognised my actions in the very description.
One of the ways it presented was by pleasing people. I would say yes to everything that was asked of me, as people would say that I'm dependable, strong and so on. My ego loved it. Of course, later on, I would be trying to work out how I'm supposed to fit all these things in, while actually fitting in everything else in my life too, you know the essential stuff, like taking my son to school or working. Slowly but surely, inner resentment was being fuelled, but I had no idea that I was cross and resentful with myself for saying yes to things that I really wanted to say no to.
Another way it showed up was in doing things that I felt others should be helping me with, but angrily. Angry cleaning the bathroom anyone? I've since learned that I was angry at myself, that nobody is a mind reader. The words "But you should know what I'm thinking if you're close to me" have no place in my vocabulary anymore, as this does not allow room for personal growth. Now, I want to improve myself and my outlook every day, therefore it is my responsibility to communicate my thoughts and feelings, as they will likely change. I value different things now, compared to 5 years ago.
Now, thanks to Brene Brown, clear is kind. Clear is definitely harder, even scary at times, as you just don't know how your message will be received. Clear takes responsibility. If the other person has not understood something, it is because I have not been clear enough - even if I think I have. I simply haven't communicated in a way that they have understood. Clear is about boundaries.
I try to state what is okay and what is not okay. Here are some examples.
To my son, now 17, if I am meeting him - it is okay to be late if the bus is delayed, it is not okay to leave me waiting without a message.
To our coaching team - it is okay to encourage folks with their roller skating at all levels, it is not okay to tell them they have nailed a skill if they haven't. Tell them they are on the right pathway.
To our shop team - it is okay for you to share your experience of roller skating with a customer if it's relevant, it is not okay to railroad your favourite roller skate brand at them!
Clear is a work in progress, with practise it gets easier.
Roller skating is a work in progress, with practise it gets easier.
I'm grateful for the 8-wheels that have helped to change my thinking.
What are you clear about?