Boundaries

I have been doing an incredible amount of healing and nurturing work on myself in the past few years. I have stepped it up incredibly this year.
I have been in mourning, for children lost, for other losses, for different reasons.
I lost everything that was me…completely…
I have never in my life felt so shattered and bereft.
People I thought supported me and cared about me turned out to have other agendas, agendas I still cannot fathom and have given up trying to as – not my circus, not my monkeys, ya know what I mean?
I am not saying I have been working on me in a vacuum. I have some amazing people who love me for who I am, as I am…who are there to hold me, light candles, talk to me, let me cry on their shoulders…and they know, because I tell them every time we talk (or at least I try to) just how much I love them and appreciate them—because that is what I do—that is who I am…
Where does the Priest go to confess his sins? Where do mothers go to be mothered? What sort of therapist does a therapist have? Where do Healers go to be healed?
Some days, I amuse myself—since I am all of the things I mentioned above—do I need to go to four other people for assistance? More? Or will one be plenty? Lol
In my current experience, for myself, one person is more than enough—so long as that person has a good solid support system in place…that one person working on me, helping me, giving me strength, mothering me—it’s me…and I do have that solid support system in place, albeit not next door to me…but it is there and I have faith in that support, every day.
Now, one of my most difficult lessons to learn, based upon my childhood and some very not nice things that went on way way back when, I have always had issues with boundaries…boundaries have always been an issue with me, especially in a relationship of any sort…because I throw myself into everything, heart open wide, vulnerable and willing to do anything for the people I love and claim as my own…
This time around, in this stage of my healing, my lesson to learn has been boundaries…boundaries around my health…boundaries around my basic needs, about my wants and desires…boundaries about the people I allow into my environs…boundaries about words and actions…boundaries about the way I communicate, where and how…boundaries on what I will and will not allow…all sorts of boundaries….
If you think learning how to utilize the Sacred No is a good thing…there is so much more to it…
I love the example of two lovers. The one lover says, if you love me, you’ll do “it”. In an attempt to manipulate and push the other party past their inhibitions, past their boundaries… The other lover says, if you love me, you’ll wait.
Now, one test here is will the first lover wait—or walk away? Will the second lover be all right with whatever option happens? Because the crux of the matter revolves around…that second lover…and that response to whatever happens next.
How many lovers, when threatened by their partner leaving them, will cave and give in, because they need someone there? How many lovers let that partner walk out, only to chase after them—and then cave? The truly brave people understand that – if that person loves me as much as they claim…then waiting will not be an issue at all for that person. And the reverse is true for that second lover—if the first lover walks out and leaves for good, then the brave person says, I didn’t need someone in my life who obviously cares so little for me. I deserves someone who respects me.
Which type of “lover” are you based upon the above scenario?
The hardest lesson I have had to recover in this past year is my own … self-respect. Because, for me at least, boundaries begin with respecting myself…with saying, this is all right for/with me—this is not—this is—this is what I want and I will not settle…this is what I want and maybe I am open to something else. That doesn’t bother me in the least, so … I don’t care if that happens…
I am not saying establish boundaries and never examine them, never push them, never seek a compromise if necessary—so long as you feel it is healthy for you to do so, do it—examine and push away—but do it because you want to, because it feels right to you.
I am not saying that establishing and maintaining boundaries…especially after letting them slide for whatever reason for so long…is easy or simple or without pain—or without hard work.
It takes effort to respect yourself enough to stand up and say, hey, this is not ok.
It takes effort to work with others and still stand up, gently, compassionately and say, excuse me, but this is not ok.
Some days, you do have to unload on someone who repeatedly takes advantage of your boundaries and say – enough is enough…and if that is a work relationship, and your boss is unwilling to listen, then you go to HR, you go to Legal, you go up the food chain and all over the place and you make someone listen…and if that fails, you find an attorney and you pay someone to listen…because even if no legal action is necessary, to have an attorney step in to say, hey, this person said this is not right, this is not ok—no means NO—and you will respect this boundary or there will be action taken—that can be what it takes to get your point across to someone.
Not at work? You can do the same thing bascially, when someone repeatedly violates your boundaries—you tell them it is not ok—and you have enough self-respect to say, this is not ok, every single time an incident happens—and you have even more respect and love for yourself to say, ok, 3 –or however many feels right to you—so long as you do not allow it to keep going on—three is my limit there– times is enough…if it happens again, I will…what?
Depending on the level of violation, you can remove yourself from any activity where that person is present. You can remove yourself from the group, or groups, where that person associates. You can remove yourself from those opportunities, the locations where that person will be.
Don’t want to give up your homies and your local pub? Change your times that you do things. You usually meet everyone at 6p for a pint, you start coming in at 5p and when that boundary-stomper arrives, you say, good day and you leave. You calmly and politely explain to one and all that you have tried to be polite, tried to explain to that person that whatever was not ok, and they refused to listen, so you are leaving/etc/etc/etc…
People who genuinely care about you will say, ok, let’s meet at x time here to hang out so that person won’t be an issue and we can talk…people who don’t care will not bother…and please remember at all times: actions do speak far louder than words, so if there is someone in your life saying, xyz, and then nothing comes of it…you will understand what they really mean.
The thing is – with your boundary upkeep you have to be FIRM. You cannot waffle back and forth. This is not ok today, but tomorrow it’s fine…but the day after it’s not ok…
I am all for compromising—in a healthy manner — and you decide what is healthy for you—you decide what is ok for you…
Now—obviously—this article does not delve into truly abusive relationships—physically or sexually abusive or things of that nature…so please, if you are in that sort of situation—seek help immediately…please…
Compromising is about working with another person—it is not about giving up bits and pieces of you in order to be a good spouse or a good worker or a good sibling or whatever. It is not about competition.
Yes, other people have needs, which we can deal with in a compassionate manner.
If you have a frilly neon pink rug on the floor in your bathroom and it’s just a rug, changing it to something … less obtrusive… for a romantic counterpart may be a compromise that feels ok for you. However, if that rug was created by you and your best friend in middle school and it is among your most prized possessions, your partner will need to learn to compromise.
There is give and take in every relationship, yes…but boundaries should not be something that one party takes from the other, especially when only one party takes, yet gives nothing in return…
And living with a martyr does not count here…living with someone who says, I just want you to be happy, do whatever, who then spends most of the time complaining about how you have taken over the space, or there is nothing of that person visible in the surroundings, or there is no trace of the work they put into that report–or they don’t need anything so long as you are taken care of or while you get credit for whatever—and then complain they never get anything, they never get credit—you know the type –the self-deprecating back stabber…it all seems lovey and jokey—until it isn’t…that is unhealthy for all parties involved…
And yes—some people are just givers—some people are self-deprecating—but it is those people who give and then …mutter under their breaths, or make mean belittling jokes, or who outright state I never get xyz while you get everything…it is the layer of nasty underneath that makes it…inappropriate…
How do you get healthy boundaries? How do you keep them?
The first thing that needs to happen is – you have to know what means something to you.
I am ok with this, but not that.
The next thing is: practice, practice, practice.
Especially if you’ve been in a relationship and/or situation where you have not had good boundaries before or not stood up for yourself before…when you start to stand up and say, no, this is not ok—no, I can’t do that…you are going to meet some mighty resistance…
You will be pushed—you have to push back and you have to mean it.
This is where you need to have that good support system in place—because maintaining those firm healthy boundaries is difficult—it can suck to be in the process of standing up to someone, and afterwards— you may need to have someone to fling yourself onto to cry once a situation has passed…this is ok.
Remember, you are a human being. It is ok to be where you are, as you are.
You start there and you work yourself slowly over to where you want to be…and then you drive your stakes deep into the ground—you build a rock solid foundation of deep love, respect and nurturing for yourself—and you build yourself a castle—because you deserve it…

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