At the end of this post…I am going to ask you how you make and keep boundaries in your life…and what your experience has been….or if you are having a hard time making boundaries…and what this is doing to your life…so be thinking about this, ok?
This is a touchy subject for me and I have typed and deleted, typed and deleted…..typed and deleted. I have come SO FAR concerning boundaries….but still have these yucky issues of guilt that I have to politely ask to leave when they show up……and old confusion that comes up, too…..until I remind myself of everything I have learned about making and keeping boundaries……and all of the twisting, gut-wrenching discomfort that came from the in-between stage of not have ANY boundaries and the new way of living when I promised myself to keep the boundaries I knew I had to make. The in-between is always the worst…….because you are fragile and wobbly and clumsy and some days it seems like it would be easier to go back to the old way because at least you know that old way and even if it is soooo wrong for you in almost every way….because the old way was comfortable and predictable and easy to put on auto-pilot.
But…now that I finally have boundaries, and I work hard every day to live by them……WOW. I finally understand what the wise people in my life were trying to tell me all along when they would say….
“YOU NEED BOUNDARIES, MELODY”
“YOU NEED TO MAKE SOME BOUNDARIES FOR YOUR LIFE”
….and that used to make me so frustrated….mostly because I didn’t know what the heck it even meant. Over the years, I have learned what it is to have boundaries in your life and also how to make them and keep them. I have learned the yucky parts….when you start living the way your heart wants to live and there are parts of how you were living that you have to leave behind. It changes some relationships. It changes the way some people see us. It changes the way we look at things.
It changes the way we answer questions…the way we say yes or no…….it changes our life. BUT…the cool thing is….we are the one doing the changing of our life…not a bunch of outside circumstances that we are constantly having to change color and shape and attitude to match. We are taking charge of our own time, our own life, our own future…our own mental, spiritual and physical health….
…which gives us the time to care for the things that fit INSIDE of the boundaries we have made for ourselves…the important things that matter most but that often only get what is left over after we have given to all sorts of things that we care about…but don’t LOVE…..often our families, our dreams, our close friends, our faith, our souls simply get the few strung out minutes left of us after everything else has taken what there was of us.
I am no expert….I am still learning. I still have a lot of tear filled days when I know I have to say no to things that sound fun and wonderful….to people who are fun and wonderful. I still mess up a lot…a lot. I still say yes to things I shouldn’t and no to things that I shouldn’t. I still say no to things I should be saying yes to, too……….but at least I am thinking hard about what the boundaries are before I commit to anything. That never used to really happen….I used to put it ALL out there, ALL of it…for the taking. I thought that is what you are supposed to do to be a good and nice person…..you are supposed to show all that you have and tell everyone COME AND TAKE IT…IT’S ALL YOURS!!! I am talking about time, skills, resources…emotional energy…wholehearted love……all of it…..ALL OF IT until there is nothing left over.
Well….when you do that….guess what? People take it…strangers take it….acquaintances take it….people at work take it…people at church take it….the internet takes it….food takes it…..habits take it…..old beliefs, thoughts and memories take it….sickness takes it…..even really good things take it….really good people take it…..and you can’t blame them…you can’t at all!!! They are just going through their lives too….doing their best….they have goals and dreams and when you have something that fits into their goals and dreams….it is the best thing for them to fill their basket with what is available to them, you offered it to them! It is a huge gift to them!!! AND IT IS A VERY GOOD THING TO GIVE TO OTHERS….A VERY VERY VERY GOOD THING!! But sometimes we are giving things away that really should be going to someone else or to something else……and then our time, resources, energy is gone and we leave the things and people that we love without what is best in us……..the parts of us we WANT to give to the people and things that we love most. When time is gone, it’s gone. When energy is gone, it’s gone. When resources are gone, they are gone.
THAT is why we have to make boundaries for what we have to give….and where we want to give it……IMPORTANT AND LOVED AND CHERISHED PEOPLE AND DREAMS COME FIRST….and then when there is some left over….THAT is what we give away. The really cool thing is that when you live your life this way….the energy multiplies, the love multiplies, often the resources multiply…….and then we have more to give anyway. Giving our lives to things that we THINK we should be giving our lives to drains our energy, sucks our time and makes us resentful (unless we are joyfully giving it after we have already given the time we need to give to the most important things in our life)
OK….so this sounds all simple and easy…doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. But there are not many things in life that are worthwhile that come easily and stay with us. When things come easily…they go easily too. What this takes is really digging in and figuring out what you are about….what you want to give your life to….how you want to feel….what you want to learn….what you want to contribute to your family and your friends and your life’s work….what you want your life’s work to be….what you believe…..how you want to love…how you want to be loved…..who you want to give your most energy-filled, patient, well-rested minutes and hours to (because there are only so many of those in a day)….
You gotta start making some really hard decisions….decisions that will change your life. You gotta start making decisions that protect the things that are most precious to you…….THAT IS WHAT BOUNDARIES ARE….they are the limits, the fences, the border patrol that protect the things that are most precious to you…….your most important relationships….your most important work…..and most importantly…the sacredness that is YOU…your heart, your ideas….the unique contribution that you can make to the very life and to the world that you can make…and ONLY you can make……..and really, you can only make that one unique contribution if YOU are the one who is in charge of your life……..and when you are giving to the things that you choose, that you believe in, that you were always meant to give to…….when you are full of the bliss, energy and vitality that comes when you are living true to YOU and to your truth.
Here’s some of the questions that I had to answer to get to this place….the questions that I am having to ask myself daily (and sometimes it is really really really hard…..but, worth it)
There are pages and pages of these kinds of questions…and it took me a week or two to answer them all…the funny thing was…the same answers kept coming up…..and the answers got louder, more clear and more insistent the more times they came……they wanted to be heard…..THEN…once I knew the answers….I knew what I had to start to protect, and what I had to build a protective BOUNDARY around……..it has changed everything. I used to be racing, running, chasing and stressing…trying to be everything, do everything and figure it all out…….my family and friends got the leftovers. I have slowly, clumsily and sometimes painfully rearranged my life day by day to follow my own truth….the truth I found in those soul-deep answers. Now I have boundaries. I feel safe. I feel like the things I love and cherish most are safe. I feel at peace. I feel on track. I feel HAPPY.
So…….what about you? Where are you with boundaries? Have you always had them? Have you never had them? If you made them somewhere along the way….how did you do it?
WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO POST AND SHARE!!!!!!!!
thanks for always being so willing to share.
p.s. if you need help making boundaries…the class starts next week…..it will help you figure out the exact life you want to live, why you are not living it right now…and what you need to do each day to get there…would love to have you. CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT