I love all of me: My huge feet, my eclectic style, my writing, my playlists, my sometimes shitty artwork, the books I read, the books I keep saying I’ll read, my chapstick, my sometimes-too-often-ice cream, my current healthy eating, my coffee, my tea, my flu symptoms that encouraged me to write, my scarf I never wear accept when I’m playing dress up in front of the mirror, my lovely new daydream mug (score!) that I found for a $1 at Goodwill, and all my change that-is-oh-so-precious-because-I’m-oh-so-damn-broke. I almost through one of my cats in but he wouldn’t stay still and I don’t exactly love either of them right now…tolerate, that’s a much better word for them.
Self-love vs Self-absorbed
Self-love is not the same as self-absorbed. Self-love changes the inner dialogue from “I’m such an idiot” to “ok, it would probably be wise not to do that again, but live and learn”. It’s about changing negative self talk to counseling yourself with the utmost care and respect. No one can ever be your best friend more than you are, no one will ever know your whole story better than you do and no one will ever pick you up like you can. So, loving yourself is not about me, me, me or degrading yourself to accomplish goals, it’s about treating yourself with compassion, and learning to love who you are so that you can give that love away to others. You cannot love anyone else wholeheartedly until you have mastered loving yourself, especially when you screw up.
How you motivate and counsel yourself will be how you motivate and counsel those you love.
Boundaries with yourself
Sometimes we need to light a fire under ourselves, like those of us are procrastinators. Ahem. Personally I need to Drill Sergeant myself sometimes. That is not a license to bully ourselves. It’s never good to tell ourselves we are bad people, unless you are, but even then the true bad ones-like sociopaths- don’t exactly have negative self talk, they’re pretty grandiose…So, where was I? Oh, boundaries… Set a boundary with yourself to begin recognizing negative self talk rather than allowing it to run amok. Most of our emotions, including an amygdala hijack, can be traced back to thoughts and beliefs we are telling ourselves so it’s healthy to become self aware.
Boundaries with co-workers or roomates
Everyone desperately needs boundaries and we do ourselves a disservice when we aren’t clear with other people about what’s okay and what isn’t. Let’s say you usually let a co-worker borrow just about anything on your desk but now they have stopped asking and go into your drawers whenever they need something. If it bothers you then this would be a moment to set a boundary. You could say “I’m usually fine with you using things but I would like you to ask and not go through my drawers” politely the first time you notice it happening. If you wait and say it weeks or months later you may end up saying it in a passive aggressive way because you feel walked on. This will take some time getting used to but the more you do it the more clear your boundaries will become. It will help you to not harbor any resentment and your co-workers will respect your honesty. But it will take time if you aren’t already doing this. Be prepared for them to begin setting their own boundaries as well.
The same goes for roommates, but because it’s also where you relax you may need to pick your battles more carefully. Maybe they took your clothes out of the washer to do a load of laundry and it really aggravated you. If you left it in there for a couple days, well then, that’s your bad. If, on the other hand, they did it the moment it finished it may be worth a conversation like this “I completely understand that sometimes we need to get laundry done right away, would it be helpful to have designated laundry times for each of us?”.
If you don’t typically set boundaries, expect pushback.
Some people will simply never take responsibility for their behavior. That’s ok. They don’t have to. Some people will challenge you just for the sake of challenging you. Sometimes they will think your boundary is “rude”. You always get to decide what behaviors and responses are ok with you. When you set boundaries for how you want to be treated you will be happier and have very little resentment.
It’s totally NOT easy
Boundaries are difficult to set, especially when people are not used to you setting them or when YOU aren’t used to setting them. Just remember, boundaries are very healthy.
Boundaries with family and partners
We build many, many, many you have unspoken contracts with the people we care about. The most common is between partners that you will be connected to someone no matter their behavior. When you voice what’s ok and what’s not ok, with LOVE and grounded confidence, you will begin to decipher who really belongs in our life. You will lose friends, you will become estranged from some family members.The ones that stay will help you grow. When you set appropriate boundaries with family and significant others your message will become clear “this is how I want to be treated, this is how I will treat you back. If that’s not okay with you then I wont make space for you in my life”. You will begin to hold one another to higher standards, love bigger and forgive more often. This is the area that will flourish the most when you marry self-love with firm boundaries. Your circle will likely change, maybe a little, maybe alot. When you set boundaries through the lens of love and compassion you realize it’s ok if some people go, because you may just need to let them go in order to grow.