It takes a lot of self insight and honesty capacity, to be able to view yourself, from outside of yourself and then discern your own interactions and behaviours. And how they are perceived by others. Whilst also viewing other people’s interactions, behaviours etc.
Had a lovely time at my ladies group again today. A very diverse groups of ladies, all older than myself, all in very different relationship situations. Some divorced, some never married, some married. Very different lifestyles. Very difference financial situations etc.
People fascinate me. I am definitely able to use my discernment and vigilance skills, to see into the lives of these ladies.
I give very little of myself away. I talk about myself in a very careful, guarded way. But, still in a friendly way. They still only know I am married, have children, my husband is a cop. Little more than that has been revealed.
I, however, know a lot more about them. They have all opened up, shared, and the group have responded in a non judgmental way. Which is good.
I already know two of the ladies have had difficult childhoods. They haven’t said much, but I can tell from the little they have said. A couple have divorced out of unhappy marriages. One lady is unable to consider marriage, due to her childhood experiences. Which I can tell, was abusive, likely due to domestic violence type issues. One lady in a difficult marriage, with a controlling husband, who does not like her to go out. When she said ‘my husband lets me come to this coffee group, because it’s only the price of a coffee, and there’s only women attending. That spoke volumes to me. A few times, issues like depression have been mentioned. And I can see who is struggling with that, even if they are not going into any detail.
I’ve said little about what I have already picked up on. I’ve nodded and been careful in my responses. I want these ladies to feel accepted, not judged, not forced to reveal more than they want to. And with each of these ladies and their life situations, it is not my place to give opinions, or advice. I just let them be themselves.
I just want them to have somewhere safe to feel welcomed and included. Somewhere ladies can meet and not feel any pressure, in any way. Just a space and group to feel they belong.
We also have lots of laughs and giggles, and I can be the clown (my need to please), so I sometimes allow that part of me to show, but in small doses. My sense of humour, self honesty and ability to laugh at myself, has created laughs, and I’m glad. However, I limit this, as I don’t want to be the person that stands out in any way. I’m aware of keeping my more vulnerable side, empathic nature, more silly side, to a minimum.
As this is all occurring, I can literally watch myself and how I am interacting, responding. It’s working out well. I realise I don’t feel safe to discuss any of my ‘stuff’ and have no desire to. And I don’t need to. I do wonder whether anyone has noticed, I don’t talk or share as much as everyone else. If no-one has noticed, that’s fine by me.
The feedback has been really positive. Words like ‘welcoming’, ‘non judgmental’, ‘fun’, ‘friendly’ ‘great group of ladies’, ‘interesting’, ‘great conversation’, describing me as a lovely host/organiser and describing me as ‘non judgmental’ and ‘kind’.
The ladies are already at the stage of hugging each other. It’s really nice. I don’t have many hugs or physical contact with people, other than my children. So those hugs matter to me. And I can see they matter to others.
I’ve also anticipated any future issues, like if someone starts talking about someone who is not there. I don’t intend getting into conversations behind anyone’s back. And stick to the ‘only say behind someone’s back what I am prepared to say to their face.’ And only nice things. I don’t intend enabling gossip or unkind talk about others.
And all this, shows huge improvement in my boundaries, self care, self control, constant self awareness and capacity to reveal only what is necessary. It shows my capacity to not be the person – exploitative types of people hone in on. It also shows my increasing capacity to not feel like other people’s issues are somehow my responsibility to help/fix, not to let my empathy lead me to jump in too quickly.
And for anyone who knows me and my history……… these continuing improvements, are pretty big.
It’s far safer.
I am a very different person, to the woman I was 5 years ago.