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. 💖

Curly fries, trampolines, tears and unconditional love

There’s been an overload of carbs and cheese lately, believing that my pain could be smothered in cheddar and deep fried deliciousness. Unfortunately, then I realize I feel even less motivated to do anything and trapped by my obsessing thoughts because I’m about to birth a food baby. 

Then the tears come marching in, which momentarily leads to a full blown ugly cry. Time to call in the troops. At this point I usually spend the next several hours verbally processing with my support system. I laugh, cry, vent, blame and ultimately, accept my current choices. I really couldn’t get through this without them. It allows me to see different perspectives and pull myself out of the dangerous nostalgia that consists of failed expectations. I have had countless conversations filled with gratitude, love, appreciation, valuable insight, support, empathy and connection. My tears are short lived with so much love from all directions.

Tonight I needed more of a distraction than just conversations. My ex wanted to come drop some things off I left behind and I refused to see him for now. It took a lot of energy to resist and I needed another relationship to fill the void, but nothing intimate or romantic. I went to a friends house that has a family full of humorous, rediculous, entertaining interactions and a giant trampoline in her back yard. We chatted about big topics while I happily jumped my heart out like a bouncing Tigger. She knitted me more of my “love blanket” like a caring mother  and her 22yr old son joked that he was going to infuse it with a little judgement in order to balance it out. 

Me: Don’t infuse judgement, now it has to be cleansed.

22yr old: No, you need balance. It needs balance. You need balance. Are you gonna write this in your blog?

Me: Maybe. Why?

22yr old: Well, your writing is like that lady that wrote that Eat.Joy.Fuck book.

Me: You mean Eat.Pray.Love? Your name represents an entirely different book.

22yr: Yeah you write like her but there should be a book called Eat.Joy.Fuck

Me: Have you even read that book?

22yr: I’ve read pieces and a synopsis of it. I get the point.

Me: Well, thanks for sharing.

So, yeah, that’s been my night. It was gloriously imperfect and totally inappropriate. I loved every minute.