Becoming yourself is not an easy task. No one tells you how to do it. There are no instructions or diagrams, no L-wrenches and extra screws to help you put yourself together. You just figure it out as you go, which, if you ask me, is a really annoying feature of this whole human being model. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and involves a lot of trial-and-error.
I am constantly confused and lost. But I have found a useful strategy – the same one I use when working a tricky jigsaw puzzle: start at the edges. Some people, like my beautiful, headstrong daughter, have a solid self-concept. This kid was born knowing who she was. Me? I still spend a lot of time trying to understand what’s mine to control and what isn’t, where I end and the rest of the world begins. And what I have come to know is that I need sturdy, well-maintained boundaries in order to be a happy, functioning, compassionate person. If I have a healthy understanding of my limits, I can serve from a place of wholeness. I’m thankful.
Sometimes the kindest thing I can say is a calm but firm “No.” If I feel confident in my ability to set a boundary, I am utterly at peace. Deadlines, demands, crises, other people’s emotions or drama or expectations – all the outside noises can get as loud as they want. I’m good. But if I don’t feel safe, there is no rest anywhere. And nothing grows in fear.
When you find your edges, you are learning important information about yourself. You’re making a clear space where you can think and feel and grow. You can see where you need to reinforce boundaries and where you might be able to expand them. You don’t even need an L-wrench.
Some questions to get you in the grateful space:
- What is a boundary you’ve set successfully?
- How did that make you feel?
- How do your boundaries help you to thrive?
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Until next week,