The world is filled with subtleties that when understood are oceans apart. What's the difference between confidence and arrogance, self-care and selfishness, empowering boundaries and defensiveness, serving others and being a doormat, finding compassion and being taken advantage of.
The difference is energy. Where are you coming from? Catabolic (victim, anger, complacency, coping, pleasing) or Anabolic (joy, synergy, abundance, opportunity, peace).
In a coaching call today with my coach (yes, coaches have coaches), we talked about my reaction to ugly stress - when people are being mean, angry, abusive, disrespectful, etc. - is to smile nicely and then run away. Where is my energy? In catabolic fear and overwhelm. Where's my personal power? Oh, it's in the toilet. And what kind of conscious choice am I making? I'm not - I'm in survival mode and letting my lizard brain take charge of my reaction.
After several minutes going around the houses of what I wanted to do about it, we looked for an anabolic choice. Several came to mind but the ironic one was giving myself an anabolic escape route. I could CHOOSE to go take a walk, to go for a run, to go to yoga, to call a friend. I could CHOOSE to take care of me in that moment by removing myself from the situation in a productive way.
What's the difference between freezing and running away vs. choosing to go to yoga? The difference is in how much personal power I have in that moment and the level of energy I'm responding from. Victim (run away) or Self-care (I want to give myself a break from this). Lizard brain reaction or conscious choice. Catabolic or anabolic.
From the outside, they may look similar if not identical, but on the inside it is all the difference in the world.