Article after article talked about boundaries. What are boundaries? I had heard the word, many times, but what does it really mean in a person’s life? What does it look like? What does it feel like?
Boundaries, to me, always seemed like artificial walls people would erect when 1. They had been hurt and said “Never again!” and then promptly shut their heart down for all eternity. Or 2. A buzzword that women use to criticize themselves or other women. “She clearly doesn’t have any boundaries (she’s easy)” or “If I was stronger and had better boundaries, this wouldn’t have happened to me (I must be stupid)”.
Where to start? It didn’t seem right to just arbitrarily make up rules. Because then what if I wanted to change them? What if I didn’t like them?! So, I panicked and decided to just try to be aware of how things made me feel and try to do my best to honor those feelings with the same respect I would give to someone else.
Here’s what I learned: We know when a boundary has been crossed. We might not even be able to put into words what the boundary is or what we don’t like about what just happened, but we feel it. In our gut. Something hurts. Something snags. Something about what’s happening just doesn’t feel right.
Want to grow a little? Try to stay open to your feelings as you go through your day. When something snags, stop for a moment. Pick that little feeling up with two gentle hands and tell it “I don’t know what just happened, but I’m going to take care of this feeling.” As you collect and take care of those little snags, you will start to see a pattern. For me, the first pattern I began to see was “I don’t like it when I get up the nerve to call the guy I’m seeing and he doesn’t pick up the phone.” Even saying that I didn’t like something was empowering! Hey, I didn’t like it.
Then we get to ask ourselves great questions. Like:
“What does it mean that he didn’t pick up the phone?” I’m not important
“Ok. What does it mean if I’m not important to him?” That he doesn’t love me.
“Ok. What does it mean if he doesn’t love me.” Maybe nobody can love me.
When we can start to be aware of snags, and then take care of those little feelings, we begin on what is maybe the most talked about journey in all of mankind. Who am I and what’s important to me?
You are so, so loved.