Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Living with Boundaries

Loving with Boundaries is Living
Its sure difficult to set boundaries, I mean where and how do you even start?!  First, lets set the basis for what a boundary even is. A boundary is a way to protect yourself from outside sources, "its where i stop, where you begin. " They aren't literal walls, but an insulation of space, that is your own. Setting boundaries is the only way to protect and keep your individuality. In relationships, they must be set, based on each individual.  Its time to start taking responsibility for our lives and how we respond to our experiences. Its time to get serious, its wasted time to be a victim to outside sources. This is, of course, easier said than done. We need to really review how a person even defends boundaries, effectively and healthily. Don't be fooled, it isn't mean to set up ground rules, its good! Every classroom has rules and so must every relationship. In the book Navigating Your Mind, Kris reviews six different situations of boundary violations. Lets review:

1. Being too responsible for others' behaviors and actions.
This means taking control and responsibility for another person to gain power over the dependent person.

2. Taking on the feelings or emotions around you.
This is when you blame your moods or feelings on another person. This is the basis of codependency, not being real and responsible for your feelings and needs, but taking on the feelings of others.

3. Pleasing others by being a victim.
Sacrificing your healthy boundaries to be accepted by and invader. Passivity! Refusing to rock the boat to keep others happy.

4. Saying yes when you want to say NO!
Giving time energy and talents to others to be loved. This is based on the fear that saying no, will lose others admiration and love.

5. Unable to express needs or wants.
Too afraid or unaware to ask for what  you need.

6. Overstepping other peoples boundaries.
Invader! Many times the invaded person will turn and invade another.

There are a lot of different ways up there to ponder. Think about your own tendencies! I for one, struggle to say no. I can barely choke out a no, I need to go to bed, no I need to take care of me, no I already have plans, because I am so fixated on the lie that admiration and love is based on my answer of Yes. If I get asked on a date, I will instinctively say yes, even if I don't want to go. I fear that if I say no, that person will stop caring about me. That may be true, but it isn't noble or kind of me to lead them on, because frankly Im lying to them!  Along with this, I tend to take others feelings upon me. Im so aware of their feelings, that i simply have to give them what they want, or i feel awful. Thats a sick cycle of codependency if you ask me. But one day i became aware of my problem. I was going absolutely 100 mph, i had almost two or three dates a day. This is a dream of many high school teenage girls, but it turned into a nightmare. I had many of my own responsibilities with work, church, family, hobbies, etc. I anticipated my flood of dates would help me feel extra special and loved, but Oh Contraire Pierre. I felt used and exhausted. Realizing that I had turned myself into a tool for other people, I finally understood something had to change. But I was still shy on saying no. I did however have a really great archive of excuses, And usually they were legitimate! I was/am good at pretending like i am always having a great time, but i was running out of fake smiles and laughs. Frankly i was burned out. I knew i had to change, but i didn't want to end up empty handed, until i realized the power over my life, lies in me! I dont need those boys to feel love, i need me to love self... and thats when it busted out of me, NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH IM TIRED ENOUGH! NO! YES I CARE ABOUT YOU! NO I CANT BE EVERYTHING FOR YOU!!!!!! 
Its still really hard for me to say no OUT LOUD. Im practicing in my mind, but thats frankly not going to be enough. I didn't realize how badly I want to be passive and stay on everyones good side. I guess that comes back to the fact that i'm afraid i have to be liked to be okay. It seems when you're liked, that the pain of your dishonesty is maybe not there. But it certainly is. 
The other day I was at work, and Kris started bopping me on the head. Over and over and over again. And each time he hit me, I shrunk lower and lower until I was cowering with my hands over my head, silently. It was hurting, but i didn't have the courage to stay stop. I had ZERO boundaries. I was finally coaxed to stand up and put my hands up. But even still, i keep them right in front of my face and said stop, while stepping backwards. Even though i put up a boundary...it was sucky. I was taught to stick my hands out, in front of my heart and mind, and say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Stepping forward with confidence and courage.  I am practicing, but its scary. I am realizing that i don't need to set boundaries on my oppressors, but myself, and thats when i would be protected. The only person that is going to love me and actually care about me is ME!! Its time to change my perception and rise up to the power that i have. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am worth it. I am not a victim. I AM PROTECTED BECAUSE I LOVE ME!

I am so interested in you sharing your thoughts and feelings with boundaries! What are you finding about yourself? What are ways that have helped you? Did this blog help you? Please share, but keep it appropriate as this blog is a public site:) 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Forgiving and Releasing

Forgiving and Releasing
 Forgiveness, the most beautiful thing that we deserve for ourselves, because withholding it, only hurts us. When we don’t forgive we are really allowing others to control us, this causes a lot of emotional chaos. Internalizing rotten and old feelings of anger chains us to the painful past, but when we let go, we can reclaim. Of course there is a process of forgiveness, one cannot simply “get over it” but the goal is to work through the situation, and let it pass through us. Many people have experienced a lot of abuse, (emotional, physical, mental, and sexual) and granted it’s hard to let -go, but if we don’t, we are controlled by our abuser (s), which is an outside source. When we get angry and stuck in the process of feeling, it’s hard to let -go of the pain and negativity. We feel absolutely awful… and we want them to suffer as much as we have. Its interesting how strongly we believe that revenge and control of those who harm us, will bring us peace. Somehow we think it’s our personal job and duty to change their minds, and convince them that they hurt us. When we engage in a fight we are trying to convince the other person they hurt us. Once you unload these feelings, you might feel like you can walk away from these feelings for a moment, but one trigger and it all comes back. At some point in time we have to decide, enough is enough, its time to stop the cycle, enough trying to change others perceptions and controlling their behavior. When you don’t forgive, it’s hard to feel your actual feelings, because you’re emotionally constipated with anger, sadness, and hurt. Once you clear it, you can see it. Let go! Enough of the victim [all your fault] or martyr [all my fault] thoughts. We all have the opportunity to change our feelings by changing our thoughts. Focus on the negative emotions for 2-minutes and then, out loud; force yourself to say, “I don’t like it. That’s okay. I CAN STAND IT ANYWAY.” Do this exercise 25-times in the morning, midday and before you go to bed. Changing how you think, will allow you to forgive. It’s so important that you do this, because you’re the one who has to pay the price (anxiety, depression, anger, etc.). If you don’t face the facts, you will self-soothe with self-harm: sexual acting out, alcohol, drugs, screen-time or other physically or emotional distractions to avoid the feelings and painful memories.
Its time to believe in yourself and capacity to overcome painful past experiences and find what you really want out of life: Forgiveness and letting-go. Think more about what you really want, relief and peace, think more and feel less. Keep in mind the point is NOT to remove the emotion, but to simultaneously think about the emotion while you re experiencing it. No more using feelings for justification. Exercise your right to choose and say to yourself this positive proclamation, “I forgive you, I forgive the situation, and I let it go. I have peace in my mind joy in my heart and happiness in my family and my life.” Feel 10% more than you think you can stand, hang on to that emotion for 2 minutes and then kick in the positive proclamation, out loud, until you can manage. Practice, so you can learn to release emotions, neither stuffing nor holding. Remember that forgiveness is a learning process, but it is something you can give. Take time to recognize your own errors and apologize.  This might prompt the other person to apologize in return, but it also may not. Frankly, it’s irrelevant how they respond because it’s not your job to control how they react. Once you can forgive and stop trying to control the situation, you can let it go. Take time to examine your life, for things or people that you need to forgive. It can be intimidating, but forgiveness helps you to learn. Once you have forgiven, write it down in your Success Journal (a place to record your accomplishments). In the future, it will be a helpful tool to remember how you managed past situation to assist with future problems. Be sure to offer gratitude to your experiences and acknowledge the lessons you learned. Perhaps you learned empathy and compassion and you are now better able to help others. Or maybe you simply learned about yourself and what boundaries you need to set. The lessons are limitless, but can’t be uncovered until you begin the healing process of forgiveness.


Author of the book:
Navigating Your Mind: Achieving a Life of Peace, Joy and Happiness

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