I have had many lessons to learn still in the latter part of my life, setting boundaries being one of the major ones. I, as many of you I’m sure, have not known how to or even what setting boundaries even means. I know, as a woman perhaps in particular, I have been keen to please others and to help them any way I can, not acknowledging my own needs and desires quite often. Women are more often the nurturers, the caregivers, the helpers.
I have usually taken pleasure in helping and being there for others, without any expectations of a return. This, after time will lead to an imbalance. I have been challenged in receiving from others what I feel I have so generously given of myself, whether it be time, money, or emotional support.
I have only recently learned of the term co-dependency….for me meaning; dependant on others approval, love, time, anything; as a way of feeling validated, worthy. It is an ongoing challenge, of which I am continuing to gain strength each and every step I take.
I no longer am willing to give of myself unless there is some kind of balance, of giving AND receiving… this can take on many forms. If given an ultimatum where I feel I have to sacrifice myself, my need to be heard and embraced for who I am in that moment, to have my needs met, then I take my side. I am no longer willing to make that sacrifice. It doesn’t serve me, or anyone else, in the long run. I am hear to BE ME, not something others would like me to be for them….for their convenience, to fulfill their needs, or to follow their beliefs and expectations.
One other type of boundary setting I have encountered most recently is with bullying. I was bullied in grade school. I am grateful it was before social media as it has taken on a life of its own; a very dark one. Perhaps if I and others had been taught how to set boundaries, and were supported and understood back then, we would not be where we are today. My younger brother and my Grandmother did the best they could to help me in these situations, but I never learned to stand up for myself. I did not see my strength….that if I’d just said ‘NO‘ to being treated this way that it might have made a difference. I just cowered in fear walking home from school everyday, just waiting for someone to jump, rarely in a physical way, but with words. The old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is a lie, UNLESS we have the access to the POWER within us to truly understand and FEEL our worth, beyond what anyone else says. This is something, I feel, needs to occur during our earlier stages of development, when we are old enough to understand.
It’s not just peers I felt bullied by, but also a family member…an elder male, who challenged me. I certainly didn’t know how to set boundaries there…and no one else stepped in to set them for me. Even my grandmother, who raised my brother and myself a good portion of our youth, could be considered a bully, using put downs as a means of trying to get us to learn and understand how she felt we needed to do things or be. I understand that this is what she knew from her experiences.
As an adult, I have stepped in when seeing others being bullied, as I was grateful when this happened for me. Only now am I learning to step in for myself. I also realize that bullies are coming from a place of pain and perhaps fear, within themselves. They need love and compassion more than anything.
I see this as a likelihood in the most recent challenge of feeling bullied; a situation where I felt I could not meet an agreement I’d made with someone because my intuition was telling me that it was not in my best interest, without some concessions being made. I was given an ultimatum….either do it their way or not at all and pay a monetary penalty. It was more challenging because I considered this person to be a friend. At first I was angry, and there were tears, but through it all wanting to see; understanding that this is a lesson, whatever it is; waking up to feeling/understanding this persons pain and need to lash out and I just happened to be the target closest or easiest at the time. And FYI; no I don’t believe that anything ‘just happens’ by mistake.
I do my best to understand and embrace these experiences, as a means/lessons for growth, to have brought me to who I am today, and to who I am becoming. I embrace that I have feelings. I can move through the darker ones, and forgive, and find love and light in it all, even if it doesn’t appear to be there. For me, this is a major part of seeing the purpose of it all.
I see this as a step forward, honouring MY truth, MY feelings, MY SELF, whether someone else can see that I am worthy of this, or not. I DO! I AM! I AM ABUNDANCE! I AM LOVE! I AM LIGHT! And I can only BE and eminate the LOVELIGHT that I AM, so that perhaps YOU can see, feel, understand and realize it exists within YOU as well. YOU too are the LOVELIGHT. I AM YOU, YOU ARE ME, WE ARE ONE ❤