Embracing Self-Love and Boundaries

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.

Friendship, love and expectations 


Strangers

I’ve been trying to make the most of my common interactions with people. Whether it’s striking up a conversation with the rental car person that picked me up when my car was in the shop or just smiling at a cashier and making them laugh. I find those moments tend to have the least expectations attached. You get a snapshot of who that person is and a brief moment to bring joy into their life. Most of us don’t take the time to connect when we are running errands or getting things done.

But what if we did take the time? What if we saw every interaction as a valuable moment for connection? What if we looked at each other as unique creatures brimming with different strengths, different experiences and different lessons? The world we be a whole lot more interesting. 

Acquaintances and Casual Friends 

These are the friends you consistently share one (or several) common interest(s) with. Maybe you like to hike together. Maybe you’re both into a particular subject. Maybe you can always laugh with each other. They might be your neighbors or co-workers. You see each other enough to be more than strangers but not close enough to know each other’s whole story. Maybe you choose to keep it there and maybe they do. Either way, they add variety and richness to you life that you wouldn’t have without them.

Family & True friends

Family is is not always what we are born into. These are the people that know you. I mean, really know you. The ones that know your story, that honor who you are. The ones that raise the bar, that hold you accountable, love you unconditionally and you can call 6 months or a year later to simply pick up where you left off. These people are your tribe. Time stands still with them. You have things in common but more importantly you understand each other’s souls. You know what’s important and how to connect with one another. You can laugh or talk about your day, it doesn’t matter because there is an unspoken commitment that you are there, each of you, always, in the background. You’ve always been wholeheartedly connected. You’re not afraid of losing them because you know you have a bond. They’re family.

Love is in gratitude. Be grateful for your tribe. Be grateful for your acquaintances. Be grateful that you have connection. 💖

Contempt marries creativity?

 
Credit: I have no earthly idea but if you do, let me know.

We have ALL felt this way before. I will to to keep this short but you know how I LOVE to write when I have other things to do. I have shared with you all lately the things I have been going through, including my post “This is the part where I start taking over”. (Which I removed, then put back up because it tells a story and I’m trying not to feel ashamed) A friend recently read it and said, “whew, it’s good, but I hope he never reads that or he’ll feel really small.” When I felt pleased that she thought it would make him feel small or hurt him, I knew…

CRAP. I must be really pissed at myself

I sent my pain out into the universe, knowing that maybe one day he would come across it, or feel the anger I was sending to him intuitively. I was hurt and blaming him for my pain. That’s not the person I aspire to be. The truth is, I’m not perfect either. Our relationship moved at lighting speed and we should have taken things slower before I jumped in the deep end with an already established family. I felt like I failed, AGAIN. I already felt like a failure for my marriage falling apart. In the previous post I spoke about my ex-husband like he was a saint, and for much of our relationship he was. But at the end, he metaphorically lit everything on fire. He was spiteful and cruel, using every possible insecurity he could. That wasn’t my friend. My friend had left our relationship months before it ended and I hadn’t even realized.

My current/past/complicated relationship is highly emotional and confusing. I’ve never dealt with that level of connection in a relationship before and felt very unprepared. At the same time, neither one of us seemed able to live with each other. I feel less trapped now and back in control of my life and my surroundings. I meant

This is definitely the part where I start taking over

The post I wrote before was driven by my own temper, which in my mind, clouds your judgement and dampens creativity since it only tells part of the story. I felt empowered by contempt at the time, but I realize now that it’s not my only emotion and I have no absolutes or total clarity yet. I personally felt, in that instance, it was not a good thing. I don’t want to cast stones, even if I was hurting. So readers, please, accept my apologies, I’m not hurting like I was. Maybe there will be a redefined future for us, and maybe not. Either way, I will be ok and stand for what’s important to me. It took a friend to say what she said for me to realize how intense it really was.

Anyone who has an emotional reaction to one of my paintings, knows how I felt when I painted it.” Painter, Mark Rothko

Maybe some of you were able to relate to how I was feeling in that post, if so, thank you for understanding. However, my goal of this blog is not to be angry or blame anyone for my own emotions. Sometimes I will bring you with me as I process things. The original intention was not to be condescending towards him but open about my own pain. I had simply wanted to empower myself to feel confident in my choice to move out because I was heartbroken. Well, it worked. I did what I need to, propelled by anger, determination and self preservation. Has there been a time recently where you allowed your temper to guide your creativity and wished you had given it a little time to develop first?

Holidays, evil minions and expectations

 

We hold the holidays in high regard. The expectations are incredible, from family showing up and getting along to everyone having gifts to open. The tree must be just right, someone has to be in charge, a perfect dinner arranged and no one is supposed to worry about the finances. Those are just the generic ones. Every family is different and each one has even more expectations. I spent all day thinking about what to write about. I knew I needed to write but wasn’t sure what to focus on. Now it’s clear.

I love Christmas. I enjoy going all out, decorating everything, getting everyone well thought out gifts, cooking dinner and watching die hard and a Christmas Story. I have been pretty blessed in previous years, everyone put their personal stuff to the side for the sake of family. This is not one of those years. My truth…is that my mother and sister are estranged, my boyfriend and I are at a major crossroads, my pseudo step kids think I’m the devil incarnate, one of my friends thinks I’m inconsiderate and I’m sicker than a dog. My father and I are sharing the holiday together, both sick, unable to visit anyone with no tree or decorations. My expectations are destroyed and I’ve spent most of the day in total despair. In walk the evil minions…or gremlins as Brene Brown calls them. They are the voices in your head that tell you you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not pretty enough. You are not worthy of love and belonging. Those evil minions can be engaged simply by a comment someone says to you, but when shit really hits the fan their voices are all you will hear. For the last 5 days that’s all I heard. I’m sick, exhausted, beat up and kicked on the ground.

I could name all the reasons for my pain. Not being able to see the kids faces as they open the gifts we picked out so thoughtfully together is one at this moment. That was my choice, albeit a difficult one. The universe has insisted on my current solitary reflection. Sometimes, it is as necessary as the air we breathe. Never, ever, settle on your morals and your boundaries. I’m not saying be a martyr either, that always seems to lead to death. But if you want to attain peace and happiness as badly as I do then you must stand firmly and bravely in the face of negativity, blame and projection. I will not allow myself to develop a cloak of shame because someone else wants to blame me for their past. I am brave, I am worthy. I am a good person and work hard to nurture the relationships close to me. I am not someone else’s judgements or pain. I am not my past but the possibilities of my future. I am resilient and what is difficult today will strengthen me tomorrow.

No one can hurt me without my permission ~ Ghandi

Be very careful who you listen to when you allow their words to define your character. Very few are capable of pointing out things that truly help you to grow as a person. Most, in fact, will project their weaknesses, or self perceived flaws, onto you. Maybe they will misjudge you’re motives for having ill intent. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone has the best intentions and not everyone is good natured. Sometimes you may really need someone to put you’re butt back in line. I’m grateful for those moments. I’m strong willed and don’t always listen but I know when to admit I was wrong.

I found myself recently questioning who I was. My intentions were good. I wanted to provide stability, space for new roles, boundaries and love. Get to know who you are on your own. Self reflection and self love will carry you further than you can imagine. Not everyone knows how to love unconditionally, I’m still a padawan. Mastery of the force still eludes me. Not everyone will be considerate, patient and gentle with your shame triggers. Some people will purposefully summon your evil minions. Not everyone is a trusted friend. You are lucky if you have one, and very blessed if you have more. By listening to yourself you can be the one who decides what you need to work on and what you don’t. So, this holiday, release some of those heavy expectations, know you are doing you’re very best and appreciate every moment you have with family and friends. Merry Christmas. XOXO

~K