(“I Quit”– Episode 4)
It felt like my whole life had been spent being available to others, helping others, caring for others….and listening to others.
Now it had to become all about me.
I turned off my outside ears and turned on the inside ones.
Instead of listening to others I slowly learned to listen to me. To be honest I think “me” was initially in shock when I started doing this, after all I had always pretty much put myself last.
Me and myself had to learn a whole new way of going about things. I had to slow down a little bit, to be still and to start tuning into the me that sat behind the “busy mind’ version of myself.
I learned to sit.
(Sometimes for even more than a whole minute at a time!!)
And I began to listen.
I learned that behind the do-gooder, self-talk that had always run the “Me Show ” there was another Me, a more authentic Me, who had other things she wanted to say….
(Warning! Warning! Trouble Ahead…)
Yes, it appeared that finding my yes /no voice around boundaries with others was not the end of the vocal emergence.
It appeared there was more to come.
Quite a bit more in fact…
Authentic Me and my mouth were about to join forces, to start working in sync…. and they made a most interesting duo.
Now here is an interesting fact I discovered: When you start speaking your truth something strange starts to happen…and once it starts it’s almost impossible to stop.
I was a good listener and great at letting others speak whilst listening attentively. My mouth had always been pretty practised at saying the “right” things but, almost overnight, things began to change.
It was sort of like I became allergic to anything that wasn’t the truth.
I began to choke on any of the habitual, old polite-speak that was attempting to smarmy its way out of my mouth. (You know the “Yeah, it looks great on you”- type white lies.)
It was almost as if the editing software that had always translated my evil thoughts into polite-speak before they passed my lips, malfunctioned.
Instead of the expected, well-mannered replies and sympathetic murmurs that had come without thought, now other weird stuff started to come out of my mouth, usually in the form of a verbal truth diarrhoea.
Just like squirty bum diarrhoea, verbal truth diarrhoea can be hard to control. It can take you by complete surprise, gushing forth unrestrained, often in the most inappropriate of places and at the most inconvenient of times.
Sometimes it was hard to tell who was more surprised- the unfortunate recipient or me.
In the past it would have gone something like this:
Mouth: “I’d love to come to your talk you’re giving!”
Authentic Me: “Oh for FS, one more minute of listening to you talk about yourself and I’m going to stick my head in a bucket of pig urine.”
Mouth “Sure, come and stay. You’re very welcome!”
Authentic Me: “Are you serious? How come I only ever hear from you when you’re after a free-everything-supplied-seaside-holiday every couple of years, you bloody user?”
Mouth: “Oh you poor thing. Of course I can spare a couple of minutes to hear what’s happening..”
Authentic Me: “Golly gosh, what a coincidental surprise! You’ve managed to find yourself yet another drunken loser who treats you like a doormat and steals all of the money out of your kids’ piggy banks…Yawn. I suddenly remembered it’s time for me to go and swing in my hammock”
Now Authentic Me had found her true voice and Mouth became a more-than willing accomplice.
The “Authentic Mouth Combo” was a force to be reckoned with.
Sure, it created some havoc…(but it also started to feel pretty darn good!)
So, I began to actually speak what I thought. If I didn’t want to go somewhere or do something I didn’t. If I didn’t feel like talking I didn’t. If I didn’t feel like listening, guess what?
I learned not to make excuses, not to explain myself.
Sometimes other people took this personally. (Whoops, there’s that Authentic Mouth again )
I gradually removed myself from the problems of others, stopped trying to save the world and learned to walk away. I could go days at a time without seeing anybody. I became my own best friend. “Selfishness” reigned supreme…
Eventually, and with lots of practice, I realised that old nemesis Guilt had been finally tossed onto the scrapheap where it belonged and it had happened while I was focussed on creating a space for myself.
I had pretty much dropped out of the world of people and had become very choosy about dropping back in. Essentially I had a complete “people detox.” After a lifetime of working with people I needed it.
With the simple process of enforcing my boundaries and being honest with myself and others, I was beginning to set myself free….