Can you believe Christmas is a little over a month away? As I write this, I have my Mariah Carey and Michael Buble favourites playing in the background. And yes,"baby, it's cold outside!"
Last weekend, my family came to visit me in Vancouver. My parents came from Vancouver Island and my sister came from Edmonton. This was the first time the four of us had been together in over two years (it’s crazy how fast time flies!).
It was lovely to be together again as a family and catch up on all that had changed(homes, cities, retirements, jobs, interests, experiences). And all that has stayed the same (our collective enjoyment of pizza, my dad’s picky eating habits, our love for spas and time together).
One evening while my parents were in town, we went to one of the best restaurants in Vancouver. It was a Friday night, and it was busy.
Next to us was a table of 20 women at a bachelorette party.
If you’ve ever been to a bachelorette party, you know they’re loud.
If you’ve ever been to a bachelorette party with me, you know I’m loud.
If you were at my bachelorette party, you know we were loud.
I totally get that when 20+ people get together, and there’s excitement (and perhaps adult libations) involved, noise levels elevate. I understand and I have been on the “giving” side of that noise.
For this bachelorette party, to add insult to injury, the space the group was in made their sound echo through-out the rest of the restaurant.
From the moment we arrived, I could barely hear what my parents were saying across the table. We were literally yelling to discuss what appetizers we should order.
I could tell we were all uncomfortable. My heart started racing. My throat was already strained and we hadn’t even ordered a single bite to eat. The noise was ruining our experience at this wonderful (and expensive) restaurant.
I asked my parents if they’d like to move and they said “no it’s ok.” I could tell they didn’t want to complain. My parents are extremely kind and nice people. I knew they felt bad asking.
But I’m not one to settle. And I wanted them to enjoy their evening. I figured it was worth a try.
When the waiter came around to take our drink orders, I asked if we could move tables.
Within two minutes, he found us a new table and carried all our beverages to our new location.
In our new setting, immediately I could feel my heart beat slow. I was way more relaxed, comfortable and could breath easy. I could tell my family felt the exact same. In fact, within the first two minutes everyone said “this is soooo much better!”
We didn’t have to yell anymore. We could enjoy each other’s company. We could hear ourselves think.
And all it took was asking a simple question.
The restaurant was happy to accommodate and keep us comfortable. The waiter was extremely understanding – and he was relieved he wouldn’t have to shout at us. The bachelorette table was free to continue laughing, celebrating and enjoying their evening.
We ended up having an incredible dinner. The food was delicious. We built a great rapport with our waiter. We spent a lot of the night just being together, and catching up on each other’s lives.
This would not have been possible if we had not asked to move tables away from the noise.
This story is about my dinner with family. But it’s also exactly what happens in our lifeway (way!) too often.
Too often, we want to be nice.
Too often, we settle.
Have you ever found yourself settling?
This week, I want you to think about where in your life you are settling. Where in your life you’re being too nice. And stop settling.
It could be something big or something small. Or it could be a moment that comes up this week where you can choose not to settle. I want you to choose to make the moment what you need it to be.
If you’re not sure if you’re being too nice and settling, watch for these common thoughts and feelings:
“I don’t want to rock the boat.”
(I don’t want to be that table).
“I’m not sure what else I could even do. I have to accept it.”
(There’s nothing I can do. I can’t make that table leave. I can’t tell them to stop being so loud. I can’t change the way the restaurant is shaped).
“It’s not that bad. “
(It’s only two hours of my life. I can handle the piercing screams, elevated heart rate and throbbing headache).
“I’m not sure anything different is possible.”
(It’s Friday night. There probably isn’t even another free table).
“I want to be a “good” person. I’m “nice.” I want to be patient.”
(Who do I think I am, asking the world to cater to me?! I don’t want to make the staff work harder or have to do extra work because of me.)
Any of these thoughts sound familiar?
If yes, you’re being too nice. And you’re settling.
Sure nice, patient, good is, well, fine.
Maybe you’re telling yourself that some suffering, struggling, sacrifice is normal. It’s the price to pay.
Sometimes, this is true.
But not when it comes to what you really want in your life. Or when it comes to making big life decisions. Being miserable isn’t “the way it is”.
You might think you’re managing the discomfort. You’re handling it.
And you’re tough. You probably are.
But it’s hard to be truly present or joyful when there’s discomfort in your life. Or a massive challenge. Or disengagement.
Life isn’t about being “nice.” It’s not about settling. And you deserve more than to be just a “nice person.”
Don’t just manage. Don’t just settle. Don’t always be nice. Don’t just “get by”.
You are worth more.
Here's what you need to do:
1) Find out where in your life you’re being too nice and settling. It could be always putting others ahead of you. It might be that you’re settling for less than. It could be accepting the mediocre. It might be settling for flat-out awful.
- Ask yourself what’s SO juicy and enticing that it makes you want to jump out of bed (without caffine, on a cold cold day)? And how often are you doing it?
If that answer isn’t at least a few times a week, you’re settling.
- What is your soul yearning for? Listen to the answer.
2) Now you know where you’re being too nice. You get to decide how you will claim what you most need and want.
Perhaps the solution is an easy question or conversation. Often it is.
Probably, there’s something you need to make time and space for in your life.
Possibly, you’ll have to say “no” to someone or something you are settling for so you can say the real “yes” for you.
3) Remember this message: You may find yourself already resisting the thought of not being “nice”. You’re already talking yourself out of having the conversation. Or out of making a change. That’s totally normal.
Sometimes, our mind asks us “who are you? How dare you say you want more, or to be better, or to be different? Who do you think you are?”
I can’t say it any better than this beautiful quote from Marianne Williamson, so I’ll let her say it:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I want you to chase what it is in your life that makes you feel amazing.
Chase what sets you and your life on fire.
Chase what makes your light shine.
Chase what energizes you.
That’s how you change your life. And how you change the world.
You live your best life when you stop settling. You feel joy. You have gratitude. You have meaning and purpose.
When you stop settling you, you live your most alive life.
Stop being so nice.
Go chase and shine your light!
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You were made to crush your dreams!