I find it so easy to hold the expectation that others will, without question, honor my boundaries, show respect, and be honest in relationships.
What I do not find easy, though, is holding myself responsible for these same expectations. Not to others, mind you, but to myself.
Somewhere along this healing journey of mine, I had to face the hard fact of how horribly I treat myself.
Oh, I had the proverbial list of personal boundaries and how I was planning on respecting other’s boundaries:
- I would no longer accept responsibility for another’s feelings or issues.
- I would no longer attempt to make things right or fix another.
- If my truth caused another unhappiness, I would allow them that freedom and choice, not taking it personally.
- I would choose my words precisely as to avoid confusion, interpretations, or assumptions.
- I would no longer apologize for things not my fault.
- I would gently leave relationships no longer serving my best interests.
And then, there were these:
- I would honor the boundaries of those around me by listening more than sharing.
- I would not become defensive or attack while taking the brunt of another’s feelings.
- I would lead with compassion and understanding instead of offering advice.
- I would not judge another’s choice but acknowledge their freedom to make personal choices.
The harder I worked at maintaining this list of boundaries with others, the more I realized I was not maintaining these same boundaries within myself
I was not accepting responsibility for my OWN feelings or issues. Instead, I blamed myself for having feelings.
I was completely trying to “attack” things in the “right way,”(whatever that is) and defensively trying to “fix” myself, instead of letting me be me. I was taking every single thought or feeling, I had personally, as if they were the only thoughts and feelings on the planet and then would judge, judge, judge each one of them to death. I was speaking shame to myself, not love. I was not being compassionate or understanding to or with myself. I WAS NOT apologizing to myself for ANY OF THIS, and I was not serving my best interests.
I was living a nightmare. The harder I tried, the worse it all became. I had to stop.
I knew the only way to the freedom of being whatever I believed was good and right, was to have super strict boundaries with and within myself. I understood boundaries preserved freedom so that freedom can be used to show compassion and act in love.
I knew my sanity was relying on not judging myself, but preserving boundaries within myself as an act of compassion towards myself. The fight to keep my boundaries would throw my behavior, of not keeping my own boundaries, back on to me, forcing me to acknowledge those negative behaviors and adjust my mindset with compassion and love granting me the freedom I so desperately desired.
I started learning the differences between shame language and love language. Every time I heard my inner self use shame language, I learned to catch it and would, instead, flood myself with love language.
I learned what self care techniques work most effectively for me and devoted one day a week to taking care of myself. I finally understood filling my cup first is essential, not selfish.
I learned how much easier it is to honor other’s boundaries, and have them honor mine, when I am honoring myself first. People truly do treat you in the same way you treat yourself.
I learned respect for the freedom my boundaries brought me. Respect so deep and fulfilling I couldn’t imagine ever wanting it to go away.
I learned to trust my intuition, my gut, myself. As I am only approaching myself with compassion and love, I learned to really listen to what my soul is telling me. And, more importantly, I learned to follow it.
I learned love. Love for the one person who I will spend the rest of my life with, day in, day out…me.
I learned I am the only one who has the power to preserve my own freedom by preserving my own boundaries.