Recently I have been fortunate enough to be reminded that my spiritual journey has nothing to do with anyone else. I needed to hear these words, because I have a bad habit of judging others. I toggle back and forth from judgement and criticism to love and yearning for connection. These negative cycles don’t allow me to develop spiritually and heal any past wounds. These cycles are also very destructive to my relationships with others and myself. I was reminded recently that my journey of development and spiritual growth is mine and mine alone and to meet others where they are, for everyone has a unique path and timeline, that belongs only to them.
I have always been a person that lives in ideals. I hold on tightly to what I want, from people and my relationships and from myself. These hold me back from seeing reality as it is. My perception of the world is what is, and my negative judgments of the world color my world as such. I find it difficult not to impose my thoughts on the world. But I am learning, that it is necessary to make space between myself and others, to let them grow at their own pace. So that I see the world and other people for what and who they are. To allow others to grow at the pace they are most comfortable and also, that I am able to grow, at the pace I am most comfortable as well.
Judgement comes from fear and shame. That fear and shame doesn’t allow you to see the world through the lens of love. Love is crucial for forgiveness and forgiveness is the only way out of a negative judgemental cycle. I needed to learn this concept to pursue my own path to happiness and find my way back to myself. My self development is my own journey that sometimes gets judged by myself and others. I continually forgive myself and my judgement of people around me, this is the only way to continue developing and progressing.
As I release my judgement and my projections, I know I am able to move forward in my spiritual growth because my journey is unique to me and no one else can experience and live it other than myself alone. It is sometimes lonely and uncomfortable but very necessary for change. I encourage you to be brave in your exploration of your path without any judgement of yourself or others.
Try to mind your own business, release gossip, judgement and focus on your own path and you will see that your spirit will flourish over time.
Let’s be honest. Does that really exist? When having an honest conversation with yourself, do you know if it’s the truth or a lie? I think of how many times I have lied to myself to soothe or cope, and now, I am seeing that other people are doing the same. Being honest, and really getting to your core is hard work, like thinking and solving complex problems. I don’t know how many times in a day I lie to myself, but I am aware of it and sometimes this scares me.
To get to the bottom of a truth, I like to be objective. I know that my subjective feelings will always take me on a labyrinth of emotions leading to nowhere, so I parse out the facts. This isn’t enough however, because others lie to soothe and cope to themselves and others, so this makes everything complicated and difficult to piece together. Facts may not be facts at all, and so what is left to do is basically throw away all expectations, judgements, and let situations be as they are. This doesn’t include any disrespectful or inappropriate/abusive behaviour from others just simply what comes, let it come.
I grasp for situations to be different. I replay scenarios, wishing my past would be different, the people in my life different, and this is truly the antithesis of honesty. This is La La land. La La land is where fantasies live. The rose coloured glasses, the wishful thinking of what “could have been” or wish “could be”. Regrets, resentment, judgement and yearning is a place where no one should live. It is a black hole. It leads to bitter land.
There is nothing I can do about my past and definitely cannot control everything that will happen to me, and if I am to accept this notion, than I am living honestly. All the events of my past, and the characters in it, are my story to own and these are my facts to keep and accept. The acceptance of my facts I struggle with, but I know I will get there. I remind myself that no matter how many times I don’t want to accept my story, it is still mine to keep, forever, and I carry it either heavily by resisting acceptance or light, when I have an abundance of acceptance. Some days are heavy. This tug of war is what brings me closer to me. As long as I am still pushing closer to acceptance, I get closer to my truth. The honesty that I seek, I look for in other people, I rarely find it, because I am struggling to find it in myself. The closer I get to my honest self the closer I get to the life that I want. As I try to find a way to live in truth, putting action to every value in my life, I struggle to find the motivation to keep living in an honest way without soothing/coping and lying to myself. I don’t always encounter the support and likeminded community to realize this lifestyle preference. Despite all of this, I won’t give up in finding a way.
One thing is for sure. When you do lie to yourself you know it. Your body knows it, your mind knows it, and definitely your heart knows it. The consequences of living in dishonesty is that it will manifest in a negative way, in your life, one way or the other.
Living your truth and living in honesty is not easy. Let go of expectations, judgements and grasping. Let life take you where it moves you without regret. Things happened to you, and move on. Life is today, not yesterday and not tomorrow, and it is worth the effort to make every day as amazing as possible. Even when you don’t feel like it.
It took me a long time to peel back some of the layers of my personality. To wear my masks well, and to adapt my personality to the changing circumstances of my life. Different situations called for a different part of me. I always thought that I was one authentic self, but now, I’m in the camp that I have many selves, and that I am complex, flexible and have the ability to change/adapt if I need to. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that I have one core self that creates the foundation for my likes and dislikes but, I don’t think that I have to be so hardcore that I can’t bend my personality a little, if a situation called for it.
I have found that the more in tune I am with my emotions, the better I am in understanding how I am going to navigate certain situations. One key predictor of my motivation is when I burst into tears from repressed emotions. When I repress emotions, which was easy to do when I drank, I become aware of what I am lacking or need in my life. Motivation is a key indicator of who I am. It is the reason why I do certain things or act in a particular way, it steers me to my goals and excites my life. Subconcsiously there are complex processes highlighting events of worth and distinguishing them from everything else around me. I don’t choose what interests me, it chooses me. This creates who I am, and it is my responsibility to pursue my motivations to develop meaning in my life, so that I feel fulfilled. My motivations create my personality, and when I am able to fully express my personality I am able to be of service to others, and makes me a happier person overall.
I find that it takes courage and discipline to really get to know yourself and take full responsibility for your life. I lack patience and have a temper naturally. It took a lot of energy and motivation for me to come to some agreements with myself to move forward from some of my bad attitude and short comings. I find that if I don’t continue to challenge myself, and unburden myself from my repressed emotions by exercising, meditating and talking it out with my close ones, I project my unwanted desires and needs on others. This I see in other people, and immediately recognize it as it happens. I have come to know that, if someone doesn’t want to take full action and responsibility for their motivations and wants, there really isn’t anything I can do for them to better their life. They need to want to do it themselves.
To really understand what motivates you, pay attention to what catches your eye, what you take pictures of most, what types of books you read, what music you like to listen to and what places you like to frequent, just to name a few. Despite life being frustrating and not always fair, keep pursuing what motivates you. To develop your personality is to take full responsibility for your life and actions and create the life that fits you best. I have learned that my life unfolds according to my direct choices, and that means that I need to decide what it is I want and then really commit. I understand now that if I decide to neglect or deny what I want or not express it to others, it is only me to blame for the life that I am living. This is a hard truth to swallow but very necessary for personality development. The challenges that will inevitably present themselves as you pursue your motivations are only learning curves and should not be treated as roadblocks. This takes patience and grit. To create the life that is best suited for your personality you have to pursue what motivates you, so that you are able to present your true personality without resentment, anger or bitterness.
When you are able to move through your changing personality over time, and express your many selves from an authentic place, you are able to attract the right circumstances and people that develop further your personality, and achieve self actualization. As goals change, when they inevitably do, you will know where to steer next, if you trust in the process and know that your actions are motivated by what you truly want you will find you are always in the right place at the right time. This is key to personality development.
Feeling inspired or generating insight has always been a challenge for me. I am prone to negative self-talk, and ruminate situations to the point of anguish. These habits inhibit my ability to gain clarity. In trying times, when the wind is taken out of my sails, and I am burnt out I struggle to find a positive perspective. This past year the coronavirus pandemic has been one big rollercoaster ride from hell, the unexpected turns conjured up feelings of fear, anxiety and distress.
It is difficult to feel secure, when life seems out of control, situations swinging from one extreme to the other. Finding clarity in a hellish, vague situation is not easy, but it is doable. I have found that even in my worst moments there is something to be learned or gained. Clarity for me is not a destination, it is a process. When I need some clarity, I don’t focus on one specific area of my life, person or situation, rather I open up completely and allow my subconscious to lead me.
It is my negative internal chatter that keeps clarity at bay. It is the unnecessary unsolicited advice from others, competing interests, manipulative people and so much more that blurs my focus. The more I practice quieting the chatter, silencing the noise through meditation, getting lost in a hobby or developing a plan for self-development, it is then that I find that clarity comes to me. It shows up in my life in very unusual ways, at unexpected times and helps me make grounded decisions based on common sense rather than rash emotions. I have developed habits for myself that keep me collected when I need perspective. It is important for me to stay clear, so I am able to thrive and live in reality rather than slip into escapism.
3 habits that help gain clarity:
Focus on what you can control
This is one of my favorite tools in my wellness box. It does wonders for people like me, that ruminate every scene in life a million times over. When I focus on what I can control, I am able to stop the “what if” scenarios in my head. These scenarios are energy draining and a waste of time. I also like to make lists. When it is needed, I like to weigh my options, such as things like a pro vs cons or a likes vs dislikes list. When I focus on what I can control, I allow my process to finding clarity an easier path. My subconscious is able to focus on what I know, and what I can do, rather than confuse it with conflicting priorities. I set my mindset up for a goal that is tangible and within my reach rather than solve imaginary problems, or problems that aren’t mine.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Seeking clarity has nothing to do with anyone else but yourself. It is difficult not to look for an existing blueprint outside of myself, in places like social media, movies, celebrity lifestyles, or simply anyone or anything for that matter. I find inspiration in books and I love to listen to podcasts for clarity, but I take it in with a grain of salt. I know that every tool in a self-help tool box needs to be tweaked for every user. Comparing yourself to other people or using someone else’s blueprint for life is not the best way to honor your unique personality or finding clarity. Lately, I have been feeling a growing sense of space between my life, sense of purpose, personality and uniqueness from those of others. I used to get tangled up in other people’s dreams, and agendas but not so much anymore. I think shedding envy helps to recognize that you don’t always need what someone else has, or is perceived to have, because it might not be a fit for you. Recognize your self worth and honour your gains. Protect your identity by not selling out to get what you think you should have; nothing compares to you or your life. You will find you will gain more insight when seeking clarity, when you embrace your natural personality.
Recognize your patterns
I have triggers that I recognize and I deal with them as they come. It is not always easy, but with enough meditation and self-awareness, it is possible to become more aware of the types of patterns a set of behaviours produce in life. Finding clarity is not possible when you are stressed, afraid or unhealthy. I find that when I understand my negative go-to behaviours, I am able to create distance between my negative thoughts and immediate reactions. Understanding what I feel in a heated moment, helps me collect my thoughts and words, so that I am able to express myself with common sense rather than unintended hasty emotions. Recognizing how you operate is crucial to maintaining a clear head, when seeking clarity.
Gaining insight and seeking clarity are key drivers to realizing full potential, refines personality, and establishes the ground work to be a thoughtful human. Despite the many challenges I have faced this year with going back to work as a new mom, in the midst of a full-blown pandemic, I have found that even in this situation I am experiencing so much inspiration and clarity. I don’t need a perfect situation to feel inspired. It is in the imperfect moments I find myself most challenged and invigorated. I am not always clear on where my life might end up, but I know that despite the ambiguity that faces me, I am still able to embrace the process. Moments of clarity are jewels in my life journey, and when I receive them, I smile and soak in the feeling. I know more of these moments of inspiration are coming my way, if I choose to keep working hard toward healthy habits. Clarity is a process not a destination. Keep moving.
Have you ever felt like you just have bad timing? Or that time is just not on your side?
If I had more time, or gone back in time to change some of my past decisions, I wonder how this would have affected the future that I have today. Or, if I could have just been in the right place at the right time, maybe my life could have been different. I like to dwell in the past, this is my weakness. Timing is everything. In my head I like to reorganize my past events, introduce a whole bunch of “what ifs” and create endless narrative around the different possible scenarios “that could have been”.
I do believe that there is a place and time for every stage in life. But what if you don’t have the opportunity to realize a life stage due to conflicting life obligations? Like travel due to family obligations, party the night away because of work or school obligations and maybe even explore different love relationships when young because of family expectations and restrictions and now you are married with kids.
There isn’t a way to skip any phase of life. If you are experiencing a void of some kind, a feeling of emptiness will creep on you and will sweep over you like a wave. A yearning will start building in the cracks of your soul. Exploring different parts of our identity and personality is just a part of our human condition. I know for my personality, there are still a lot of unexplored identities I would like to tease out, the question though I ask is… when? When is it a good time to explore? To change? To seek? I don’t think a good time for “being” exists. You just do life as it comes. Life is not a dress rehearsal.
I met my husband in my twenties, almost a ten-year gap passed, and we found each other again at the same pub through mutual friends. We were at the right place at the right time, we reunited and two years later we were married. I guess the first time we got together it didn’t work because it was bad timing. But then I sometimes wonder what our life would be like if we did end up committing when we were young. Would we be the same people? Was it really bad timing? Or was the gap that we weren’t together just wasted time?
I question the timing of my life because it is something that I cannot control, and this bothers me. I have to trust that whatever stage I am in my life, I am making the best decisions for myself with conviction and based on my value system. I have to use what resources and energy I have in the moment to make the most of my current situations, without judgment and criticism of my past decisions, and have no expectations of the future. Everything that I have conjured up in my life is an accumulation of my past. The trust and faith that I have in myself gets shaky when I feel like time is not on my side, or that I have wasted my time. My ego gets bruised and I feel like my value system needs to be revaluated.
I worry about having regrets. Then I get frustrated about worrying, and waste my time on regretting my past decisions. It is cyclical hell. When I get into this state, I try to forgive my past decisions and move on. This is the only thing I can do. Stay firm in my values and sit in gratitude. I remind myself that I am not my past, and that my worth doesn’t decrease from my past decisions. Even though I step into my fantasy world of “what ifs” for only just a minute to indulge myself, I know that too long in this state of mind, judgement engulfs me and so I create distance and step out of this space. I try to balance my expectations of what I am able to accomplish, with the time I have, and with the resources allowable to me at the time. I know I can’t do it all. Even though things don’t always work out in a timely fashion and not exactly how I want, there is still lots of new and exciting possibilities coming my way and dwelling on regrets or wasted time is not how I want to spend my days.
The time is now.
Wherever you are.
This is the right place and the right time to live your life.
I wanted it all when I was younger, but now I know that I cannot have it all. The “all” I am talking about is anything really. The perfect house, the best relationships, the ideal job and the list is endless. When I was younger I was wildly ambitious, invincible, courageous, tenacious and fierce. This changed as I got older. Not to say that I am less of these traits but certainly different. As my priorities took form, I started to come terms with the idea that I cannot have it all. The ideal of everything, started to morph into the reality of everything instead.
I choose to focus my energy on very specific values and principles, and where my focus goes my energy flows. My energy is what gets me to where I want to be in the future. I build my foundation of my life with the energy I create in the world. My emotions help me turn my energy into action then turning my beliefs into reality. I do not have an abundant amount of energy for all of the things in my life and I don’t subscribe to the idea that people have a limitless amount of energy. I know that there is only so much time in the day and so much tolerance from needless noise in life from external forces. If I want to accomplish certain goals I need to be frugal with my energy and time, that means that some people, situations, experiences and opportunities are going to be left behind. What is left behind is not a loss, it is simply a matter of math.
I do a cost benefit analysis of the priorites/people in my life every so often. I look at my situations, relationships and where my future is going and decide what is worth my energy. You simply cannot dedicate yourself to everything and everyone without burning out. Have an honest look at the reality of the situaitons and people in your life, this is a good guide post to where your focus should go. Living in a fantasy world or having great expectations about your life and the people in it destroys your ability to set proper goals.
In my life my expectations of people were blinding me to who they really were. This set me up for some serious heartache when my energy was wasted from my goodwill or trying to mend or justify arguments. I wanted people to be who I thought they were, not who they actually were. I didn’t give people the space to show me who they were before judging them and not accepting their real selves, in turn branding them with a new personality that fit better to mine. I wanted it all. The perfect relationships, the kind that fit only me. I remedied this by listening to people and hearing how they told on themselves, piecing together their true personalities. The more I listen, the better I am able to make room for others where they belong not where I think they should be.
I peeled off the expectations and the masks I put on others, and organically situations flowed. That meant a little more work on my part, to get closer to achieving healthier and more honest relationships.
My values dictate my way of life and my priorities path the roads I travel on. Just because there are roadblocks, diversions and other nonsense, doesn’t mean I have to quit at what I want to accomplish. Sometimes, I pivot, reorganize or simply rest to feel re-energized again. Just because one area of my life is bad doesn’t mean all is lost. There is good in some of my life and not so good in other parts. I decide where I want to improve, and where or when it is not worth my energy.
One area of my life worth my energy is my marriage but I had some serious expectations of what my married life would look like, how my in-laws would be, how many kids I would have, and where I would live. Nothing turned out like I thought it would, because I don’t have the energy for it all. I have to compromise. There are somethings in my life that are exactly what I wanted and others quite the opposite. The things that I am thrilled with have compounded even more joy from the contrast of the things I don’t have. Let the things that you feel you should have, be the way that they are. You don’t have it because your energy is somewhere else. If you don’t like where your energy is flowing, consider where your focus is growing, that is where your life is going.
Life is not a race it is a marathon. Every chapter in life has its own title, story, plot line and characters. Do not compare your unique chapters with anyone else. Life is different day to day, month to month, year to year and unique only to you. Allow what comes and keep the energy flowing where it needs to be, everything else will unfold.
“You can’t always get what you want You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometime You’ll find You get what you need”
Since I was a kid I loved sugar. I watched my grandma bake apple struddle pies, and as soon as they would land on her kitchen table to cool, I would pick at the pie and eat tiny forbidden pieces. The soft, delicious warm pieces, where my first real memories of the feeling and taste of sweet sugar. As I got older, sugar has always been something that gave me a quick energy boost and feelings of warm familiar comfort.
It isn’t easy to deny sugar. As it is in most of my kitchen items, ketchup, most sauces, honey for my tea, cereal, and so many more. But when I seek sugar, I definitely do it deliberately. Now when I think of it, after not drinking for 5 years, I have realized I rely on sugar for energy more than I think. As I get older, and have more on my life plate, my energy is dwindling and need more to sustain me throughout the week. I reach for items to put in my body that will keep me going. This is not necessarily a bad or good thing. I am aware of it happening.
Some days my healthy diet just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, I have long work weeks or something throws me off my game and I need an energy boost. In my earlier days, getting more energy out of me was going to the bar and having a drink. The sugar alone in the drink gave me my second or third wind for the day. Now, a cookie, a piece of chocolate and even tons of honey is my elixir, some days are worse than others.
Everything in moderation I have heard over and over. But sometimes, moderation isn’t enough to get me through to the end of the day without having more than one cookie or piece of chocolate, but I don’t beat myself up about it. What I do, is keep in mind my awareness of my relationship with sugar. Just like when I reached for a second or third drink to give me a boost of energy, I am aware I am doing the same with food now.
Habits are funny like that. If you are not careful, the same habit creeps up on you in a different way. Just like the same type of person may keep showing up in your life, until you acknowledge it. I try to acknowledge my patterns of sugar intake with how much stress I am experiencing in the week, the month or even in the day. This helps me be aware of what might come next. This awareness slows down my sugar ride by creating some distance between my thoughts and my actions. I’m not too hard on myself about my relationship with my friend sugar, I know it is here to stay and I welcome it in my life but I am also not naïve about my patterns and habits with it. I try to create an inclusive and non judgemental space for sugar in my life so that I am not so harsh on myself when it shows up in my life a little more than I would like for a small period of time. I breath, take a bite, enjoy and get on with my life.
“You can be miserable before you have a cookie, and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie, but you can’t be miserable while you are eating a cookie.” – Ina Garten
I have always wondered how other people experience loneliness.
Is it painful?
Where does it hurt?
How long does it last?
I have never posed this question to anyone. It is an awkward topic of conversation. I guess it might be that we don’t really want anyone to know that we are experiencing feelings of loneliness. To be social and have a lot of social connections is more popular than bringing up conversations surrounding feeling alone or isolated. I know for myself, despite having many friends, this does not guarantee feelings of belonging and understanding. Your perception of the quality of your relationships and how you feel about them has a lot to do with how you are going to interpret your feelings of being connected. If the experience of loneliness is highly subjective and is defined by a state of mind of feeling alone or isolated can someone potentially experience the opposite of loneliness if there were a space or platform to open up conversations surrounding loneliness, like in any setting, work, home, the grocery store, the library, etc? Why aren’t we casually talking about feeling lonely?
When I was partying and drinking my younger years away, my motives for partying was for connection and belonging. Of course, peer pressure played a major role in that lifestyle as well but mainly for me it was finding a place to be heard and understood. I wanted a sounding board for my life that accepted me for who I was, which was ironic because when I drank this was not a true representation of my authentic self. So here I was trying to get accepted wearing a mask. Not true acceptance at all.
As I matured and embraced my health and my new way of life with no alcohol, I adapted to interacting with people differently, in different settings and I grew. My loneliness loosened its grip on me and it definitely doesn’t have the ferocity it used to have. Sometimes it still creeps up on me when I am not understood, accepted, rejected or feel disconnected from people. In those situations I rely on my logical mind to kick in to over analyze the situation and to neutralize my feelings of loneliness. I dropped the analyzing with time and replaced it with acceptance. I adopted the thinking “it is what it is” that’s it! I accepted people for who they showed me they were, the situations I was in, the role I played in situations, how coincidence and chance played out in my life and simply accepted that I was ok to sit by myself if that was what the situation called for. If I needed to be there for me, I was there for myself by accepting myself. If I needed help or social connection I reached out without attachment and grasping. The people pleaser in me fell off. The mask finally gone.
The solo work that I did getting myself healthy established a deep connection with myself that I bring to all my relationships today. The perception of the quality of my relationships has changed as I am aware of my own worth. The better I started treating myself, the better I treated others, this in turn fostered better, healthier relationships. Intimacy comes from knowing your own needs and responding to yourself in a way that you allow true connection. This connection, even if the feeling is just for a moment, is important to keep your emotional and mental health on track. This connection can be with nature, your religion, earth, people, yourself, your children, and the list goes on. Even when it is impossible to physically socialize with other people, loneliness doesn’t have to dominate your thoughts and feelings if you find a way to connect with someone or something that is truly important to you. I found solace in finding a way to cultivate my need for health, through running, cooking organic healthy meals and meditating. Even though these are activities that are done alone, I don’t feel lonely because I am doing them with the person that knows and appreciates me the best…with myself.
Perspective is one word I always incorporated in my toolbox to stay healthy. However, I have to admit that my default thinking is in black and white. This is a work in progress. I do travel down the road of all or nothing, yes or no, good or bad and I like this, or I don’t like that. A lot of this thinking comes from my need for comfort and familiarity. My safe space determines if I have decided emphatically that something is for me or against me. This has not worked for me in the past and still continues to cause me frustration today, so I remind myself to step into the gray whenever this thinking creeps into my headspace.
Expectations of situations have a lot to do with how I think about situations as they unfold. Before I give anything, a person, a place a chance I determine if I like it, it is good, what I expect from it and the thoughts and criticisms trail on. I label it, I box it and store it away. With this type of thinking I miss the opportunity to truly accept things for what they are. I miss the point completely and don’t see clearly until many months or even years later I reach an “Aha!” moment and true perspective erupts on its own with time and experience. Although I appreciate my experiences and embrace learning over time, the slow momentum of seeing truth in situations and people started bothering me. I needed another way.
I don’t really think that there are any easy solutions to growing your perspective to achieve a favorable or more clear view, but for me travel did help. I travelled and lived in Argentina for a while and this encouraged deep listening. I didn’t understand Spanish fluently, so I leaned on listening to body language, reading emotions from faces, and once language started sitting a little better with me, stories of different local people. The vibrant culture of Argentinians penetrated my closed mind and I was forced to take on different perspectives. When I build perspective today, I step into a different space by truly listening. Listening without necessarily responding in an instant is something I think today is underrated and a tool that is not practiced enough. Taking everything in and sitting with it for a moment is remarkable. When I listen to myself, the environment and people I drop the labels and stop categorizing putting things in a proper viewpoint.
Living in black and white is kind of like living in a maze. In the words of Margaret Atwood, “A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.” (Atwood et al. The Handmaid’s Tale) The maze is a closed mind and it doesn’t have any alternative paths or avenues for thoughts. Today, I embrace the unknown, I listen and keep an open mind no matter the landscape. I practice compassion before I take out the boxes to label and store away with judgment and finality. I try to tease out all possible standpoints and go where the situation or person leads me because after all, what I create to be my truth is not necessarily what is. I have the power to discern the truth but only when I start to paint my point of view with a little more color.
Saying no to people and to myself doesn’t come easy. I like to be a yes person. Always stacking too much on my plate. Draining my energy. Looking for room to always say yes to something or someone, thinking I’ll miss out if I don’t agree. This changed when I started becoming more mindful of my energy and my time. When I put my health first, I also scaled back on agreeing to every request that came my way. It was just physically impossible to do it all. I tended to my body and my well being first before anything else and then noticed I was putting up a wall and not setting healthy boundaries. I didn’t know how to express my wants without coming off as rude or annoyed.
I had some really big expectations of people. My annoyance came from the position that people should know what I am feeling and anticipate my needs and wants.
Of course, why wouldn’t someone know exactly what I am feeling that day??
Oh wait, stop! Here comes my ego once again. My insistence of people knowing how I felt and my expectation of them to read my mind created distance. Instead of simply expressing my needs and wants with words, walls were built instead. As more situations grew to be worse than better from building these walls, I realized that one core element was breeding this behaviour. My lack of assertiveness and low self-esteem. This was especially true when I was younger. I was unable to simply say no without feeling guilt and dread. I didn’t have the power to take responsibility for my emotions and express what I really needed. I learned over time that taking responsibility of my emotions and expressing my needs despite the feedback I might receive, actually benefits all parties involved. Meditating helped with this notion.
Meditation sucked the first few times I sat on the cushion. I battled the process. I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t see a point to it. I felt sorry for myself, that I had to sit on a cushion in silence and do nothing for ten minutes. The victim part of me came out and threw me a ten-minute-long pity party. Slowly, over time the victim disappeared and got replaced with a more self-confident, assertive person the more I meditated. I created some distance between my negative thoughts and negative self-talk. I was able to step into a place where I was more aware of my own needs and emotions. This allowed me to make a blueprint of what I wanted out of my relationships and set some standards for the things I needed from the people in my life. This map helped me navigate healthy boundaries in relationships, so I am able to build relationships as they grow over time. For the first time I was able to achieve intimacy in relationships. Instead of attaching unhealthy expectations, attachments, and unrealistic standards on people, today I take responsibility of my own needs and wants and the rest falls into place. My relationships grow organically. Some stay and some don’t.
Building healthy boundaries takes practice and patience. Something I still struggle with today. Nowadays I do say no without guilt more often. I do speak my mind as situations arise in my life. I do find that I receive push back from people still, mostly from those that have not set healthy boundaries themselves. There really isn’t anything I can do for anyone else’s development in seeking healthy boundaries as long as I can express my boundaries to the best of my abilities my wish is that at least maybe someone can learn a new tool to use to get what they need out of life through the way I conduct myself. I will not please everyone and will probably hurt some feelings along the way and know that I cannot determine how other people feel. I don’t want to control anyone’s emotions but to support self-actualization and growth. This is key to healthy boundaries.