Waterfall and Plateau emailed me.
I told them that I wouldn’t do certain things. They then proceeded to:
I felt a lot of anxiety when I saw their emails and decided to wait to read them. At first, I found it difficult to not immediately look. It was like an automatic habit – to read their emails as soon as I noticed them in my email account. Then my mind jumped to its default framework for conflict: it imagined all of the negative scenarios that could ensue. It took a little while to breathe through that habit. I had to remind myself to focus on a different set of thoughts around conflict, a framework for respectful resolution.
This reminder took the form of self-care. I tapped on a few ideas and napped. Later, I participated in a creative (crafting) social event and discussed various topics with new-to-me people.
In times past, I may have engaged with both parties and their directions for conversation. Many times, I allowed Waterfall’s way because it gushed with such aplomb. In times past, I didn’t force my way with anyone because it didn’t seem that important to have my way. I was super lenient with my expectations. I’d practically make up the explanations for you regardless of how you treated me. That was a confusing time. I had my reasons for acting in that manner. All of my actions made sense for my circumstances. Still, it was somewhat embarrassing because I expected different behavior for myself. I wanted to be that person who always said the right thing and knew how to comfort in the right way and act upright at all times. Essentially, I wanted to be an ideal.
My interactions with Waterfall and Plateau show me that humans will push limits. This is the nature of humanity. It’s why we go to the moon and write plays. They also show me that I choose respectful and confident communication in the face of what I perceive to be disrespectful and hurtful behavior.
I came back to the emails when I felt confident and strong. My response to Waterfall paraphrased my previous statements and reiterated my expectation. It also thanked Waterfall for the gift offer. My response to Plateau outlined my boundaries. I communicated my expectations, enforced my boundaries, and went on about my day.
Well hello there.