I had an intriguing call with a client last week. From the moment I heard her voice, I knew something was up. She’s generally a positive person, but there was something going on. Of course I asked her what it was.
She said she’d just gotten home from a massage. Now that intrigued me, because, for me, a massage is a great thing. It can have the effect of having emotion come up, just because I get so relaxed that I let it. But usually I just feel relaxed and dreamy at the end of a massage. I was curious. What was going on?
Turns out that during her massage, the masseuse was regaling the client with the information from an article she had just read. The article was all about the top ten stressors. You know those things, right? Death, marriage, divorce, moving, changing jobs, etc.
So there is my client: lying naked on a table, draped in a sheet, being massaged all while hearing all about the top things that can create giant stress. Wow!
There are a bunch of things that are wrong with the picture. The first is that it’s unprofessional of the masseuse to be chatting about anything during the massage. Beyond that, it’s pretty disrespectful to the client. It’s like the masseuse is absent-mindedly rubbing while thinking of other things. And that may actually be the case. But we don’t really want to know about that while we are on the table, now do we?
And now here’s the really important thing. The crucial piece. The client is settling for this. She’s letting it go on.
Why? Because that’s what we all do, and all too often. We settle for less. There can be a myriad of reasons why we do that. Perhaps we are afraid of change. Maybe we don’t want the hassle. Sometimes we may feel embarrassed, or somehow rude if we ask for what we want. And frequently, we may actually feel it’s all we deserve, that we somehow can’t have more or better.
And that is settling, and that’s where the rub is. When we settle, we diminish ourselves, and we sacrifice something that is important to us. And doing the settling doesn’t actually help the other person either. All it does is harm to ourselves.
There is a distinction to make here between settling and compromising. A compromise is a negotiated agreement. Settling is just giving yourself away. Accepting less. With nothing in return.
It was a new idea to the client that she could have actually asked the masseuse to stop talking. It was a new idea that she could choose a massage person who didn’t chat through the ‘rub’. Many of us, this client included, have been raised to be polite. Some of us have been raised to not ‘make a fuss’, and even be as invisible as possible. Acting from that perspective just creates a never ending circle of not honoring our own worth.
One of the ways you can see if this is there for you is to notice where you are paying for things that aren’t quite what you want. Where are you settling? And why?
Frequently, when we don’t settle it takes longer. We may have to try a bunch of different massage people, we may have to shop around. And that, in my opinion, it time well spent.
You’ll know if you are settling when something doesn’t ‘rub you the right way’. At that point you actually are at a cross road. Do you keep settling, or do you make a different choice?