How can I see this differently?

Hi Brooke!

I have a specific question but I realize that this is a theme that often comes up in my life and so I’d like to really look at it and see how I can approach it differently.

I’m a Certified Nutritionist and work out at a gym that does not offer nutritional services. After I got to know the owners, they asked me if I would like to offer nutritional services to their clients and I agreed. Then one of the guys started dating a girl who sells Isagenix (not sure if you know Isagenix but it is a multi-level marketing company that sells supplements in the form of bars and shakes for weight loss). I do not support Isagenix (nor do I bash it), but when they asked me if I would incorporate Isagenix into my services, I said that I am not comfortable promoting something I do not believe in and believe people can achieve sustainable and healthy weight loss by eating real food, moving their body and above all, managing their mind. I said that I believe there is a place for Isagenix because the truth is, not everyone is willing to do the work to change their lifestyle and understand their eating habits and for those people, Isagenix is an option but it’s not one that I support.

They have expressed their concern that they are worried that I will bash Isagenix to the clients at the gym, which I assured them I would never do, especially because the people that I want to help will not be the people who want to use Isagenix and at the end of the day, I want people to enjoy and be committed to whatever system they choose to follow (whether it be me or Isagenix). I’ve had to repeat this to them many times when they bring it up, but I am very steadfast in my belief in that.

Fast forward to earlier this week. One of the gym owners approaches me to help him run an event they are holding in the fall. I have a lot of connections in the health and wellness space in the city and would (I think) do an amazing job at helping pull this event together. I was honoured that he’d asked me and asked him for more details around timing, plans for sponsorship, what my role would be, etc. He told me “we’d get to that” and then proceeds to start mumbling and then says “I’m not intimidated by you”. To which I replied, shocked “Do you feel like I’m trying to intimidate you?” and he said “no”. And then I asked, “do the other two guys find me intimidating?” and then he started mumbling again and avoided my question. And then he said “Your pocker face sucks, you need to work on that. You need to learn how to just go with the flow and smile and nod”.

And I found myself reverting back into my old people-pleasing/chameleon habits. Apologizing, telling him I was working on it, making myself small so as not to ruffle feathers.

The conversation didn’t go much further after that as he had a meeting to go to and has contacted me again to set up another meeting but I’ve been thinking our conversation ever since. I’ve always been told ever since I was a small child that I have a smile that lights up a room and that when I’m not happy I’m like a black cloud. I get that a lot, and I feel the pressure to constantly be happy and smiling but when life happens and I’m not feeling ecstatically happy, people get very uncomfortable. I’m also a strong, confident woman and I’m not afraid to stand my ground, set boundaries (ie. I will not support or sell Isagenix), disagree and display my emotions. Is this wrong?

I made myself sick to the point of an ulcer and serious cystic acne years ago people pleasing and not expressing myself and feeling resentful and taking advantage of and feeling constantly out of integrity with my values and beliefs. I believe that it is possible and healthy to disagree with people, not from the place of “I’m right and you’re wrong” but from a place of expressing my true beliefs and allowing the other person to express theirs as well as being open to changing my mind. But even if I don’t change my mind, it’s not the end of the world and especially because it’s their business, they have every right to do what they want whether I like it or not. But also, I don’t think I should simply “smile and nod” so that someone else doesn’t feel comfortable with conflict or disagreement or differing of opinion. How they perceive me and what I say or do is not my responsibility.

All that to say, I’m not sure how to approach this. Am I seeing this clearly? Am I missing something? I understand the model, so I understand their thoughts about me have nothing to do with me, but I don’t know if lecturing them on that will be useful. I guess I’m just tired of feeling like I can express myself or express an opinion that is contrary to what other people believe without them getting uncomfortable and telling me that I’m making them feel some sort of way and that I should change.

This is a revolving theme in my life, so any insights you have would be SO helpful.

Thanks Brooke!