Do you know what a sacred zone is? I learned about this during Lululemon The Immersion and it’s helped me strengthen my confidence and navigate a few relationships. Your sacred zone is your own personal space where you determine who is allowed to come in. In essence, you learn and decide to not let other people’s bad moods, poor social skills, or ego-filled comments affect your day.
I used to let others’ attitudes and moods dictate my day. It was my way of being an empathetic person, but once I put my sacred zone into play, I learned that I could still care deeply for someone and hear what they had to say, but place them outside of my sacred zone so that my day was not affected. I know what you’re thinking — easier said than done, right? Here’s a visual:
Imagine you’re Buzz Lightyear and you have a protective shield around you at all times. On your wrist is a button that allows you to open or close your shield. You’re in full control of that shield and nobody can get past it unless you let them. Visualizing this shield (or whatever variation works for you) is something I had to practice every day for the first few months. It was my daily reminder that no one had control over my day or my emotions.
But let’s say someone catches you off guard. Out of left field, someone you didn’t expect to say something rude, does. Your heart drops. Maybe your blood starts to boil. The last thing you’re thinking about is a Buzz Lightyear shield. We’ve all been there, right? This happened to me twice last month. In the first instance, a typically supportive friend wasn’t so supportive when something good happened for me. In the second, someone close to me said something very inappropriate about me, physically. I’m so very thankful I had enough confidence and poise in each of those moments to respond in a respectful and truthful manner. Here’s what I’ve learned since utilizing my sacred zone, and how I approach tough situations.
It’s not about you.
99.9% of the time, other people’s moods and comments are not about you. If someone loves and respects you, they will talk to you like an adult and with kindness. As upset as you may be about something, I encourage a thoughtful dialogue once you’ve had time to cool down. Don’t write someone off for one bad comment — but if you can’t get to a place of resolve, it might be time to move on.
Take the high road, but don’t let people get away with inappropriate comments or behavior. You are in control. If someone says something negative to you, you have every right to shut it down. Don’t for a second let it into your space — I don’t care how close this person is to you. My response? “That was a very inappropriate comment. Please don’t talk to me like that again.” And leave it at that. If you don’t shut it down, you’re giving them permission to do it again.
Your happiness comes first.
I know you’ve heard “you do you,” but I’m asking that “you choose you.” We are allowed to be happy every single day, and for no reason at all. Vibe killers are going to attack it, question it, talk about it, etc. Be ready to not give a damn about it. We have far bigger things in this world to question; someone else’s happiness not being one of them.
Protect your energy.
Do you listen to your friends, absorb their pain or frustration, then try to help them find a solution? I’m guilty of this. I love helping people. I want everyone to feel loved and supported and I can thank my family for that. While I will never stop caring, I have pumped the brakes on how much I extend myself. When you give, give, give upfront, people may expect this from you all the time. Friendships are a two-way street. If you have a one-way person in your life, it may be time to reevaluate.
Listen and ask.
If how someone is behaving or what they’re saying really isn’t about you, then chances are that they are hurting. Do you care enough about this person to say, “You said _____, which made me feel _____, what’s going on?” If you don’t, let it go. You really only have two options in any scenario like this: listen and ask, or respond and move on.
I hope learning more about your sacred zone helps give you the confidence to handle situations and people that might have made you feel bad in the past. These people may always be around — but how you respond, react, and internalize can change.