Last week, I had something happen to me which really put into question my own beliefs about self-care and self-worth / self-value. From the outside it might seem benign or not a big deal but for me personally it was an eye opener. Let me share with you what happened.
Each week I have French conversations with native French speakers because it’s a language I’ve been learning for a number of years now and as I’m no longer in France, I want to make sure that I maintain my level not to mention the fact that I really do enjoy speaking with people, especially in a language that I adore.
For about a year now I’ve been having conversations with a man based in France who I met on a language conversation exchange website. These conversations would last about an hour and we would talk about everything from the weather to politics and what was currently happening in the world.
I can’t remember exactly when it was that he happened to mention the subject of prostitutes. It wasn’t necessarily said in a derogatory way but it irked me. It seemed strange to be bringing up this subject especially as it’s not a topic I generally speak about. In addition, before diving into deeper topics or talking about things that are less mainstream, it’s important for me to trust the person which was something that hadn’t yet developed with this conversation partner.
It was noted in my mind but I left it as I considered it a once off. Then in another conversation someway down the track, he happened to mention the word rape. Again, he had said it on an offhand basis and used it as one of his examples to explain the meaning of a word. Knowing friends and close people who have been affected by abuse, I was really unhappy about this. Furthermore, it wasn’t necessary to use this word. I told him that I didn’t want to talk about this subject nor have it mentioned by him.
He was a bit taken aback but said he understood and said that he wouldn’t do that in the future. At this point I probably should have just stopped these conversations. Who mentions these types of topics when they don’t really know someone? I had other French male conversation partners who didn’t exhibit this type of behaviour at all.
However, I kept going. I didn’t listen to that voice inside that was telling me that I felt uncomfortable. I was trying to be the ‘good girl’ and not cause upset because at the end of the day what had he really done? He had said two words that I wasn’t happy with. He was a foreigner and didn’t understand the anglophone culture. Was that really enough to stop these conversations where I was learning and achieving my goal of improving my language skills? Basically I made excuses for him rather than really listen to myself, my discomfort.
So our conversations continued and most of the time it was interesting enough and I learnt new things. On the other hand, I didn’t necessarily look forward to them and was always alert to the possibility that he was going to talk about something else that wasn’t ok.
And then last week, he happily told me that one of his conversation partners in America had sent him a translated page from French to English which he found really helpful in learning new words. When I discovered that it was about a man and his experience with a prostitute in Paris (and especially when I saw the translated page and the terminology), I completely lost it.
For so many reasons, I was furious and angry. Firstly, that he would think I would be interested in this especially when I had clearly told him that I wasn’t interested in these topics. Secondly, that he didn’t seem to understand that I had set my boundaries and he had overstepped them. Thirdly I was angry with myself for not listening to my needs and for accepting behaviour that was unacceptable to me. That I had ignored that inner voice telling me that I didn’t feel safe and that this wasn’t ok.
It made me think how often we accept in life less than we are worthy of and certainly less than we deserve. It’s also the fact that we generally accept this in situations that seem unimportant. We say to ourselves ‘oh but it’s not a big deal’ when actually it is. Anytime we accept or participate in something that we don’t want to, we send a message to ourselves that we aren’t enough, that we’re not worthy.
The funny thing is, with major things it’s a lot easier to say no. We’re clear on the matter and we can put our foot down. However, it’s the small things, the times when we’re not so clear that really impact us. And often times it’s because we don’t want to change the status quo, to upset someone or create conflict.
This incident really taught me a lot, certainly a lot more than I had anticipated. It’s made me more aware of how much more learning there is to do and how important it is to be more aware of the times when I accept less than I really want to; when I may feel it in my body or somewhere in my consciousness but ignore that inner voice anyway.
It’s not about beating ourselves up when these moments happen but rather noting them as a signpost of the changes that we need to make, to be more loving and kinder to ourselves. To listen to that inner voice / our intuition that tells us when something isn’t right and to be brave enough to make a stand. That we don’t need to be that ‘good’ person anymore.
To support you on your own journey, here are some tips that I suggest:
I hope that by writing this post, it helps you to consider your own life and situations where you may accept less than you deserve or are worthy of. Please know that you are more valuable than you might ever imagine.
If there’s anything that I can do to help or you would like to book in a free discovery call or session, please send me a message. I would love to hear from you.
You might also find this post interesting: Let Love Guide You