bound·a·ry – a real or imagined line that marks the edge or limit of something; the limit of a subject or principal; the limit of what someone considers to be acceptable behavior
This is the word I am choosing to focus on this year.
I have boundaries. I am entitled to boundaries. I will honor my boundaries. I demand respect.
Boundaries exist for myself, family, friends, work, time, energies, and everything in between.
This past year has been hard for me in terms of keeping healthy boundaries. In the changing world, some people are still set on keeping their old habits, routines, and ‘normal’. To each their own. I can’t control what someone does, but I can control how I allow that person to interact with me. Actions have consequences – both good and bad.
This last year has given my lots of time to reflect (sometimes too much.. me alone with my thoughts for a prolonged amount of time can be dangerous for my mind). Upon reflection, it has become abundantly clear what I want to accept in my life and what I do not. There are somethings I do not have, and never will have, control over. I have been working on letting go of my stresses and anxieties associated with those things. Easier said than done. As for the things I can control, I am making it my first priority to address those things head on, to better my life.
For so long I have accepted toxic behavior in my life, including from myself. (I know that I am not completely innocent. I have come to terms with things that I have done, and sometimes still do, that are toxic or not healthy.) It is time that comes to an end. I have allowed people in my life to treat me unfairly, to be disrespectful to me, and drain my energies. I continued to let them have a place in my life because “they are family”, “it’s easier to just overlook it, and move past it”, “we have been friends for so long”.. the list could go on and on. I created excuses, which in turn enabled them to continue the toxic behaviors. I didn’t hold people accountable for their actions, or when I tried, I just allowed them back in without an actual apology.
I once tried to set a boundary with someone.. I acknowledged the bad behavior, and tried to make a plan moving forward.. it was followed by gaslighting, avoidance, and eventually over time.. the only apology I ever got (in my lifetime from this person) was “I’m sorry, if you are”. Ummm what?! Isn’t an apology taking ownership for your actions, and your actions alone? Unrelated to what the other person did or said? An apology should never be dependent on another person. It is your own reflection about your own actions.
That same person has also gotten upset when called out for her actions, that she decided to just shut down, usually go into ‘defensive’ mode and try to bring me down to her level by saying hurtful things, usually unrelated to the conversation at hand. After some amount of time, she comes back into my life, without an apology, pretending like nothing happened.
This type of behavior is done. I am done accepting people in my life that will not take accountability for his or her actions. I understand people make mistakes, and I am not hoping that they don’t. Mistakes make us human and allow us to realize so many things. I am just asking that people become accountable for their actions and take ownership enough to admit when they were wrong.
I have seen all kinds of people talking about boundaries. It is not super difficult to come to a conclusion about where you want to make limits. What you find acceptable. What you will tolerate and what you will look past. It isn’t hard to have those conversations with people, either.
The hard part is sticking to your boundaries. Not picking up the phone and calling people that you used to talk to every single day. Not speaking to family or friends, knowing they are still good people, just don’t always make good decisions in regards to your relationship. Staying true to time limits, screen time, working from home, etc.
Most of the time, I am grateful for being able to respect myself enough to not be around negative, draining, and toxic behaviors. What gets to me the most, is when I am alone with my thoughts (go figure) and I think about what could be.. What would happen if people would be able to acknowledge their behaviors, accept they have wronged someone.. What could happen with a sincere and meaningful apology.
If you, too, are struggling with boundaries.. know you are not alone. It is a hard battle. It is reworking your brain to accept what you truly deserve. You are rewiring what you have done for so long, and breaking those habits, those cycles.
You deserve a life filled with people that are not belittling you, exploiting you, overworking you, gaslighting you, manipulating you, or even draining your energies. I promise you are doing the right thing. You are breaking the cycle that has been passed down by generations. You are manifesting a life that you deserve. Nothing good comes easy. If only.
When I am alone with my thoughts, I often question myself. Am I being too harsh? Is my life really better? Is this all worth it? How long can this last? I’m brought back to reality with one simple, and pure thought.
Witch Baby. That is why. I am doing this not only for myself, but for him. I am setting him up for success. I am leading by example, that although it may be hard, it is worth it. It is ok to cut people off if they don’t meet your standards, especially when those standards have been clearly communicated.. multiple times. You do not need to serve people that drain your energies, leaving you feeling worse off than you started.
I don’t have a simple answer to make this all easier.. if I did, I think I would be rich. But what I do know, that you are not in the wrong if you are setting boundaries and sticking to them. It is their loss not yours. It is worth the hard. Keep up the hard work you are doing. I promise it will pay off.