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That Ella Enchanted Moment

Have you ever read the book or seen the movie Ella Enchanted? Well, when Ella was a baby, she was given the gift of obedience so basically, she had to obey every command she was given. Sometimes I feel like Ella that everything asked of me I have to say yes to. Growing up I was told to respect my elders which means doing what I are told no questions asked. To this day I carry that around with me, but it seems to translate to everyone. It has played a role in relationships, my work environment, basically any situation I feel I can’t say no to. I don’t like feeling like I’m disappointing anyone or hurting anyone’s feeling so I end up putting others before myself instead of speaking up or setting boundaries. For me, its not easy to find my voice, I rather take the easy way out and cave to make others happy but I’m realizing now that it doesn’t do me any good to be like that.

This year I am going through a process of rediscovery and as I reflect I started asking myself certain questions such as, why do I feel obligated to make someone feel comfortable at my own expense, what makes me afraid of speaking up or saying no, and what is the worse outcome of me expressing my true feelings or intent.

So lets unpack the questions above. Why do I feel obligated to make someone feel comfortable at my own expense? The first thing that comes to mind is that I am not a confrontational person and to me if I make someone feel uncomfortable that will be the end result. Here is a very simple example that lead me to this question. The sink in my apartment was draining slowly so I put in a request for someone to come out to fix it. Also, at that time work was being done on the outside of my apartment building so my friend who lives in the apartment next to me was working in my apartment to get away from the noise. The plumber arrived and he wasn’t wearing a mask and with the pandemic it has been a safety measure. I noticed he didn’t have a mask on and instead of me saying something I was going to let him into my space without even saying anything because I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. Good thing my friend was there cause she asked him if he had a mask and he did end up wearing one. From that experience I really took away that I need to stop making others feel comfortable at my own expense, that I need to say what I’m comfortable and not comfortable with and stick to it. That if a situation goes left to trust myself enough to know that I can handle it in the right way.

What makes me feel afraid to speak up or say no? As mentioned above I don’t like to feel like I am disappointing someone or hurting someone feeling and my fear is that if that does happen that person will be angry with me or leave. I have a hard time with losing people in my life, so I tend to hold things in rather than saying how I’m truly feeling. I can remember a time where one of my closest friends and I were not seeing eye to eye and at one point and she said to me you tend to hold onto things then are passive aggressive about it later. She said you need to say how you are feeling right then and there so we can move forward from the situation instead of holding things in. That has really stuck with me because she was right, I needed to learn how to express the way I was feeling in the moment and not harbor on it. This is still a work in progress, but I’ve learned that its ok for me to speak up without the outcome being negative.

What would be the worse outcome of expressing my true feelings or intent? Well, my answer to this is nothing I wouldn’t be able to handle.

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent” - Madeleine K. Albright


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