On the Like A Pro intensive I recently completed, one of the things the trainers said at the start stuck with me:
“This is a course about CHOICE, not boundaries.”
Of course, Like A Pro and Betty Martin's Wheel of Consent are well known as the gold standard when it comes to learning about boundaries and consent. And yet, this framing of it - as being about WHAT I WANT - gave it an entirely different flavour.
Placing MY desires, wishes, limits and needs centre stage.
Telling me they are not just important, but actually that it’s essential for me to claim them - IF I want to have clear boundaries, juicy intimacy and healthy relationships.
This is quite a paradigm shift for the part of me that was conditioned as a girl to think I was greedy and selfish if I asked for what I wanted.
That I was spoiled and ungrateful if I was given something I didn’t like or want and allowed my disappointment to show.
And that what I really wanted wasn’t important, because nobody ever asked, gave me a choice or supported my desires. (Quite typically what my parents/school/church/club wanted was imposed without consultation or the space to negotiate or just say no.)
Separating my Self from societal and parental projections and expectations has been quite a journey.
Ironically returning me, to all those things I loved and was instinctively drawn to as a girl - before my own desires were crushed.
But even so, the imprint to please and accommodate; to be needless and wantless is strong, it simply wasn’t part of my patriarchally nurtured nature (now there’s an oxymoron!) to ask for what I want. Let alone believe I’d get it.
Motherhood, though deeply desired, pitched me further into the selfless server role. Even as my parenting years mercifully co-incided with my calling to awakening, the self-sacrificing martyr mother archetype my Mum had embodied surfaced in me. Especially once I was a single Mum doing it all solo.
Fast forward to the new spiritual paradigm I’ve been immersed in for the past 20 years and I can still find myself imagining, that were I evolved enough, I wouldn’t be bothered about my earthly desires.
I’d just be in loving service to everyone around me, without giving a crap about my own needs and wants. And/or my needs and wants would be magically manifested simply because I envisioned them. (But never dared actually ask ;-) )
It’s like all that parental and religious guilt-tripping creeping in the back door and making itself at home in the guise of moral superiority.
This is not a plea for narcissistic self-absorption btw. I grew up around that and it left a vacuum where a healthy level of self-care and worthiness could have been established.
But because I see so many women out of touch with or denying themselves their wants, needs and desires (and creating suffering and limitation as a result) I simply want to make a case to redress the balance.
Because denying your wants doesn’t make them go away. It just makes them go underground, then resurface in unconscious and toxic dynamics like passive aggression, nagging, resentment and a growing sense of victimhood, disempowerment and dissatisfaction. Which may be expressed in blaming and complaining.
Or, at the other end of the scale, entitlement and non-consensual taking: of others’ time, energy, personal space and things.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these?
So ..... what if your wants were sacred?
What if your desires were holy?
What if that impulse to take a day off / treat yourself to a massage / order the most expensive dish on the menu / say no to whatever is asked of you…. was actually an expression of your divine feminine essence in all her Queenly abundance , self-love and self-respect?
Side-note: asking for what you want does not mean you’ll get it. But don’t ask, don’t even stand a chance of getting.
Grown ups know how to self-soothe and move with disappointment or rejection: they don't spit venom at the one who said no.
This is boundaries, consent and communication adult style. Where each individual has rights and responsibilities. Either of you can ask. Either of you can say no. And there’s negotiation room in-between.
You are not responsible for them (so stop worrying about the impact of your choices on others). And they are not responsible for you (so quit the blame-game). Once you’re crystal clear on your wants, the communication can begin.
Your life is in your hands. So what do you want to make of it?
love, Shakti x
ps. my online half-day workshop "Just Say No!" offers women a practical and life-changing intro to some of the key concepts around boundaries, consent and communication to help you bring greater awareness, clarity, empowerment and intimacy to all your relationships. Saturday, June 10th, 10am-1pm UK time. Message me with questions.