worrying about being taken advantage of
*First published via email on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Click here to subscribe.
Last night, I was thinking about an incident that happened last year that I didn't realize I was still feeling hurt by until a friend brought it up.
When I first got certified in RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy), I asked friends to be my guinea pigs, so I was doing sessions for free because I wanted the practice and didn't feel right charging yet.
A year later, when I was already charging $900, a friend wanted to redeem her free offer. In my head, there was a rapid-fire succession of the following thoughts:
"Omg, she's taking advantage of me."
"How dare she?"
"What in my energy is still allowing people to take advantage of me?"
"I shouldn't be so greedy."
"I should be a good friend."
"I should honor that offer."
"But what the fuck, I don't want to. That's a very old offer, only when I needed the practice!
"I deserve to be paid. I'm really good at what I do!"
"I need to charge her because otherwise, I'll be resentful and not give her a good experience, and that's the last thing I want - for her to walk away thinking this stuff doesn't work."
"I should be a good friend and give her a discount."
"But all of my clients who pay full price get the fattest transformations. My friend deserves that, and I deserve to be paid!"
Ohhhhh my god. There is so much to unpack in there. And you know what I did in that spur of the moment when she asked for the free offer over dinner together? I had all of the above thoughts, tried really effing hard to drop my attitude and ego, and eventually said, "Ok, I can't do it for free anymore because it's not fair to either one of us, but I can give you the friend discount that I stopped doing 9 months ago which is only $150 deposit plus a donation of your choice."
Even as I said it out loud, my gut cringed. What I really wanted to do was to tell her I can't do it for any discount anymore. I only said what I said because I felt like I "should" and "had to" and was afraid she'd think I was a terrible friend. I chose having my gut shrivel up over being seen as a bad friend. (Yuck. My gut is clenching even as I'm writing this.)
And guess what happened?
I couldn't go through with the session.
My energy was not in the right place, I became resentful of my friend, and I canceled our session 24 hours before our appointment.
She was understandably hurt, and for that I was remorseful. I felt guilty.
And when I feel guilty, I feel angry. My ego is a fierce little thing that feeds me indignant anger when I feel guilty.
What's crazy is that even now, my ego is still trying to protect me by feeding me thoughts of, "Yea, thank god we canceled or we would have totally been taken advantage of. We have nothing to feel guilty about. Fuck that."
This morning, as I was journaling, I realized that I missed something. I knew ego was still protecting me from something and it was something a step before the guilt.
It was protecting me from seeming like a "bad person." It was protecting me from "speaking up for myself in ways that would make me seem like a bad person." And that's why I didn't just say what I really wanted to say then.
That was the real issue. If I had said what I had wanted to say, all of this would have been avoided. Or maybe not. Maybe my friend would have still pushed for a discount, but that just gives me more practice to hold firm with my boundaries.
Another problem is...I have a very hard time holding firm to my gut's decisions. I get swayed easily. All the time.
So you know an even better solution?
Asking for some time to think things over when my ego gets flared up or when ego and intuition are in a disagreement. I'm realizing as I get older that I need a lot of time to process things. It's very easy for me to feel bombarded or overwhelmed by others' needs and requests because I still feel the deep desire to be useful or helpful or valuable to them, even if it means hurting myself in some way.
When things upset us in life, there are often many layers to it, and it's worth digging a little to find out what the real issue is. When we only deal with the surface layers, the same issues come up over and over again in our lives.
Hopefully I've illustrated today how you can go deeper, and if you need help processing something, let me know. My life's joy and passion is in helping others "get to the real stuff."
And if you need time to gather your thoughts, get aligned, and share your true thoughts, feelings, and boundaries with others, MAKE THAT TIME FOR YOURSELF. You don't need to ask anyone for permission if you don't want to. It can be a statement - "Give me some time to think about this, please, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks."
And others will thank you and respect you for taking the time and energy to give them honesty and realness.
Has a similar situation happened to you before? How did you deal with it? What was your ego really protecting you from?
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