I removed a post yesterday. It really doesn’t matter what it was. I got a phone call from someone that was mentioned in the particular post. We didn’t agree on the exact nature of a few things mentioned in the write up and it was expressed that the overall tone of what was written misrepresented events.
The request was made that I pull the post down.
As a recovering codependent, specifically a people pleaser, this put me in a mental quandary. If I take the post down, am I allowing myself to be manipulated and adjusting my course of action simply to please someone else? If I don’t take it down am I intentionally causing harm, real or perceived, to someone else just to prove I’m my own person and won’t be controlled?
It took me down a path today of thinking about how boundaries and healthy thinking need to play a role in responding to moments like these. I came up with a few points.
1) Don’t respond in the moment. I need to politely and respectfully listen to the perspective that is being presented and, if at all possible, validate what is being said without making any commitments. Then ask for time to process what has been put on the table. If it can be done realistically, I will give a timeframe that a response could be expected.
2) Don’t process the person, process the information. Consider the nature of the new information in light of both its source and in the context of a bigger picture. Use the time to let emotions cool, seek appropriate counsel if needed and find the larger context of the event or events in question. Ultimately the question here needs to focus more on my own integrity and honoring God as my higher power than on any anticipated thoughts or reactions that are out of my control. (Note: if you are someone who uses information to steamroll over people, you may need to reverse this step!)
3) Don’t allow an outcome that diminishes me, only one that strengthens me. If a decision will cause me to be belittled or needlessly submissive, it’s likely not the right one. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I won’t need to eat a little humble pie, admit I was wrong and potentially apologize or ask forgiveness, but those things can make me stronger when done well. Retreating and making myself “less” for the sake of keeping an appearance of peace is never acceptable.
In doing those things today, I came to the conclusion that the post was not truly edifying to anyone but me and that it would not be a reflection of Christ’s love to keep it up knowing it was causing harm. Removed from the moment, looking at the big picture, I believe I am a stronger person for removing it than I would have been for leaving it up.
It was a good exercise. Knowing that facing an emotional moment of conflict does not mean taking a step back toward codependent behavior is empowering. Doing “the next right thing” and holding my own boundaries can coexist. That’s a bit of a relief!