by blogasana on June 13, 2011

Practicing yoga every day in June has proved thus far to be a wonderfully sustaining and challenging experiment.

My body feels more balanced and clearly grateful for the care. Additionally, there’s an incredible sense of spaciousness in the day… whether I do a two hour practice or a ten minute Pillowrita Karani.

Where is this open time coming from? What was I doing prior to June 1st? Or, perhaps more directly, what am I not doing now?

It’s all about priorities, right?

Making time for practice (i.e. making the statement that my health and well-being are important) sometimes means…

No, I can’t go to lunch with you today.
I’m going to go do some yoga while you watch the movie.
I need a couple hours of alone time.

This often leads to someone being… disappointed.


Welcome to Disappointment Avoiders Anonymous.

I’ve never thought of myself as a people pleaser. It’s not the pleasing I get caught up in — it’s more about avoiding the discomfort of potential disappointment. Different end, same stick.

To help grow in this area I have begun to use the following affirmation:

I am increasing my tolerance for other people’s disappointment.

Say it with me…

I am increasing my tolerance for other people’s disappointment.

Oooo, makes me feel a little queasy. How about you?

Think of the last time you disappointed someone. Like, really let them down. Didn’t live up, didn’t meet the expectation.

It probably comes with a story or two about your relationship with that person, or what the failure is sure to mean about you, or the imagined karmic repercussions.

For me, it’s a hollow feeling. Kind of achy. It makes me itchy and anxious. It’s incredibly uncomfortable.

This is the feeling I’m increasing my tolerance for.

It’s inevitable.

Because someone’s always disappointed, right? If it’s not the other person, then it’s you. And it turns into resentment. And it starts to feel not like your life.

So I apologize in advance if I practice on you. It just means I trust you with my stuff. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to increase your tolerance for disappointment!

You’re welcome…

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Callie June 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Wow this certainly hits home after a weekend of feeling like I disappointed everyone and trying to figure out how to deal with all the anxiety this produced. Thanks for sharing :)


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm

i hope some insight has opened up… thanks for sharing, callie. xo


Amy --- Just A Titch June 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I really, really needed to read this right now. You have no idea. Thanks, my friend. P.S. MISS YOU SO MUCH. Can we make plans that don’t interfere with daily practice? I’ll be home later this week, let’s connect.


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm

YES. i will be gone next week… what about the last week of june or first week of july? big hug…


Kimberly June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I love it when you talk to me…


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

i am talking TO YOU! and you are talking to me… :) xoxo


Anna Guest-Jelley June 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Dang! This one has my name written all over it–calligraphed, even. Thanks, as always, for your badassery.


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Oooo, calligraphed!!! at least badassery comes in pretty fonts!! :P thanks anna!!


Kelley M June 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

It’s even harder when people think of you as someone who doesn’t disappoint. I think it gets easier once people know that you mean business and sometimes you won’t come through. Or at least that’s how I feel because I have gotten used to disappointing folks but now it’s easier because somewhere in the middle of all of it communication has occurred whereby these folks let me know it was ok and/or they disappointed me next time so we were “even.” It’s those folks who don’t understand that YOU HAVE A LIFE that you don’t need in the first place. Oh, and don’t get me started on self disappointment. That one I’m really bad at.


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

kels, i love that i really can see how you live this. not that you’re a jerk or don’t give people your time. but it seems clear to me that you don’t let people manage your life. now the self disappoint is another story for all of us. always the hardest…. xoox


madyoga June 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm

So perfect, thank you. I can’t WAIT until you practice on me – bring it ON!


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

haaaa! and likewise!!


Emma June 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm

i’m feeling this especially recently. i’ve, in the past, been open to students emailing me with yoga related questions and requests. lately, however, they have been requests for social events. having lunch or dinner dates, etc. inevitably, it turns into asking me a lot of yoga questions and perhaps dumping some personal troubles, with the hopes i can help. it feels draining, but the emails keep coming. i want these folks to still practice and am having a hard time drawing lines.

so, for this, thank you. a start, for them and me, will be reading excerpts from this in class tomorrow.


blogasana June 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm

wow, emma, i’d love to hear how it goes in class. yes, this is a delicate boundary… of course we want to be helpful. thanks for putting this out there.


Diane June 17, 2011 at 4:54 am

I think the disappointment allows our disappointed to reset their own priorities, find and emphasis their own needs and obligations.
Guess I speak from both sides……as my mother in law said (in a very kind way), remember that you’re not the most important. Everyone has their own priorities and IF time, enthusiasm and shared interests and history breaks time barriers to create more and better friendship, then it works.
Otherwise, we all have multiple obligations to ourselves, family and friends that more than take our time. Tops of these obligations may be learning, nurturing and best of all laughing!


Tracy June 17, 2011 at 11:59 am

haha… this was great, Michelle! I’m saying that “mantra,” and letting it sink in: “I am increasing my tolerance for other people’s disappointment.” I had the double whammy issue of wanting to please AND wanting to avoid the discomfort of potential disappointment–which has sometimes been very mentally, and even physically exhausting. In recent years I’ve been learning to grow more comfortable with setting more boundaries, even learning to disappoint, if you will. Because we can’t to it all, and be it all to everyone in our circle every day. Finding the balance of personal time & space, nurturing important relationship, and meeting certain obligations is a fine balance, and art to keep practicing–it’s all part of the practice. :o)


Liz June 20, 2011 at 5:32 am

i said i would get up the courage to comment at some point, so why not now? no huge revelations to share, just wanted to let you know that i always enjoy reading your writing. there’s definitely a lot of courage in it, i guess that’s what inspired and continues to inspire me.


Thais June 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

oh how true your words are. there is nothing us humans like to avoid more than disappointing others. but how difficult that is especially since NONE of us are perfect. we all make mistakes. its definitely a feeling we have to learn to handle. be strong enough in our own body to know that we can handle other’s disappointments. it does not mean we are a failure at life.


Ryan June 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

This made me think of you and this post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6xb4H5ueKs


Tina July 2, 2011 at 1:20 am

This is fantastic! I also did yoga everyday this month and learned a lot of stuff. Saying no and sometimes disappointing people was definitely one of the lessons.

But what it came down to was disappointing them or disappointing myself. I and I don’t have to live with them after…


Rhiannon July 2, 2011 at 8:21 am

OH me, me! This is such a huge thing for me I can barely look at it straight in the face. Such a lovely description here.


Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School May 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

funny, i’ve linked back to this post twice and haven’t ever left a comment. curious….

i have a friendship where if i haven’t heard from her in a while i’m convinced it is because she’s livid with me for some shortcoming on my part. it is never a subtle experience, it’s like getting smacked with a ton of bricks – wham! and then i’m all “why is she mad at me? i haven’t done anything… or maybe that’s the point, i’ve been a horrible friend because i haven’t…..”


i decided last night, if she really is mad at me, then it is up to her to tell me. and for me to hear it.

i still don’t think i’ve done (or not done) anything, but i have to stop torturing myself.

and yeah, i hate thinking i am a people pleaser, but it turns out i am. guess i am going to have to find some compassion for that part of myself and maybe let it go a bit.


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