According to dictionary.com the definition of easy-going is: relaxed and tolerant in approach or manner.
For years, I’ve happily accepted the character quality of being easy-going. As a woman, I inherited the script of being obedient, putting other’s needs above my own. As the youngest and only girl in my family, it was more useful to be quiet and wish for calm than to stand up and speak about what didn’t feel good. It was more important to belong than to honor my individual values.
I learned to prioritize “being together” over embodying and speaking my truth. As I grow into a strong woman, I have learned to think and feel for myself. Now, I’m learning how to honor myself and establish peace and trust in relationships through creating and respecting boundaries.
I’ve realized forgoing your needs for the sake of “belonging” creates disconnection rather than connection, because the person who shows up as peacekeeper is not being authentic. Remaining small in order to “keep the peace” serves no one.
It is difficult for me to be constantly congruent with another and remain in integrity with what is true for me. I can remain solid in my truth and respect the differences of the other. In this place, we can find the happy medium, the appropriate spaciousness between honoring our own needs and respecting the needs of others. The truth is we will have some different needs and desires than others. We will not be in harmony with every person we meet, every moment we’re connected to them. The balance point comes in when we can respect someone’s differences and realize our commonality is committing to what is true for each individual and supporting the enactment of that truth.
Recently, I’ve noticed the unintended consequences of being “too easy-going”. I’ve noticed my tendency to go with the flow can actually be a lack of conviction to speak up about my needs and desires. Being a doormat to others is not an attractive or honorable quality. I’ve carried an old belief pattern that what is true for me is not as valuable as being “in good standing” with another. If rather than asserting my boundaries or making respectful requests, I am more attuned to maintaining peace, I am doing no one no good.
I have refrained from speaking up for fear that the other will have a differing view than me, will disagree, will not understand and thus not respect my request, or will leave if my request or boundary isn’t congruent with their desires. And I’ve realized, I’d rather fly solo and maintain my boundary than be semi-present/semi-authentic and not alone.
The consequences of not speaking up have become more apparent to me, and I have been chewing on this: because I still desire to have things “my way” I have noticed a tendency to unconsciously manipulate people or the situation to get what I want, after having not spoken up and clearly naming my desire.
Woah. (is that interesting to anyone else besides me?)
Let me repeat: Rather than speaking up for what is true, I noticed a tendency to give in to the other (either by their force or my lack of stability) and then manipulate the situation in an effort to still get what I want. That is the opposite of transparency.
This whole story of not speaking up and manipulating others stems from a lack of trust in my own value and a lack of trust in the unconditional love and acceptance of the other.
All healthy relationships require a foundation of trust. According to qualitative researcher and public speaker Brené Brown, trust is built through many small acts over time. I am silently disgracing trust when I choose “easy-going” over embodying and speaking my Truth. I am building trust in moments that I honor myself and my boundaries, and communicate them compassionately.
In the talk “The Anatomy of Trust” Dr. Brown deconstructs trust, a rather intangible concept, into the pieces that build and maintain it. She dubbed this process BRAVING (Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgment and Generosity). The ability to assert my boundaries builds trust because I am demonstrating that I honor and value myself.
To my hearts discontent, I’ve noticed a habit of allowing my boundaries to be too malleable and flexible and thus affirming over and over again tiny moments of betrayal, rather than cultivating trust.
True connection is when I am grounded in myself, and the other is grounded in themselves, and all parties respect each persons’ expression. Connection isn’t dependent on having the same view, but in respecting the view of the other while also respecting your own. Two distinct beings can dance with one another and experience and create beautiful magic much more authentically than two beings who are trying to be like the other or trying to make the other be like them (this is called co-dependency).
Freedom is the ultimate trust exercise. Without cords or ties or manipulation, in a moment of free choice, we see who someone really is, and who we really are. Freedom is respecting another persons’ preferences and taking care of yourself. Freedom is retaining your worth no matter the thoughts or actions of another.
Upon reflecting on this new self-observation, this mantra came to me: Given that I am Free, how do I choose to be? The preface of this phrase supposes freedom as a starting point, inherent in our existence, not something that we “get” over time. The second portion encourages choice for thoughts, words, and actions. Because my worth is not dependent on another’s opinion of me, I am free to be whomever I am. In that space of freedom, what is true for me?
Our ability to clearly and respectfully articulate our boundaries is the meeting point between the internal voice and the external world. When I set a boundary for myself, regardless of how the other person will view me, I am honoring my needs/inner self and actively building a world in which those needs are heard and respected.
Hands-on Personal Exploration: to help connect your Truth (the inner voice) with the external manifestation (speaking up for your inner voice).
- Connect to your 3rd chakra (your personal-power center), lay your hands on your solar plexus. Take 2-3 long, deep breaths feeling into the decision at hand. (*A deep breath informs you of what is true, a shallow breath indicates it is not in resonance.)
- When you find what is true, move the energy up to your 4th chakra and place your hands on your heart center. Add love to the energy of what is true for you, and then communicate it (5th chakra) with love.
Do you have awareness of where you are disproportionally easy-going? Can you relate to the experience of putting another’s needs above your own? How did the work out for you? What are practices that help you build your boundaries while remaining respectful of the other?
May we all remember our inherent worth and freedom and be clear in communicating our needs. From this place, may there be more authentic, respectful connection in the world, for the benefit of all Beings.