What Are You Letting in?
Some time ago, I wrote an article on boundaries and the importance of saying “No” (you can read more about it here). Over the last week, I have come to realize that unhealthy boundaries are a much larger epidemic than I had previously thought. I happen to frequent many support communities and forums where I see members lamenting that their whole day has “been ruined” by something someone else had said to them. Or that they cannot achieve personal development because someone or something is holding them back. I have heard similar anecdotes from friends and family, and I have to admit, I have been in this space before.
I remember a time where I felt as though I couldn’t share my accomplishments or successes with an individual in my life because she would turn it around on me, blame me, or punish me for trying to move ahead. This person would use every and any opportunity to hold me back or push me down. I would experience intense anxiety when I would see her number appear on my caller ID, or if I knew that I was expected to be at her house (heaven forbid I be late). Catering to her consumed much of my life because of the fear of the punishment I would inevitably receive if I failed.
The day came when I reached my breaking point. I had to ask myself very difficult questions. Was I done? How much more of my life, my energy, my sanity, was I willing to sacrifice for this one person? Was she worth the time and effort to continue this ridiculous circus? If I continued, would anything ever change?
I decided that she would never change, so I had to. Something had to give, and in the end, I had to walk away. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I can honestly say that I made some significant sacrifices to keep my distance. But in the end, it came down to her or me. I chose me.
I throw down a lot of tough love when I coach people on healthy boundaries, and I’m not going to hold back here. Choosing to be healthy is not a decision to be made haphazardly. There are some hard truths that we need to face and some difficult questions that need answering.
Hard Truth #1: We are the gatekeepers of our lives.
If someone has ruined my day, it’s because I have allowed it. I let it in! I permitted it to have that profound effect on me.
Hard Truth #2: We have given our power away.
We are the only ones who have a right to define ourselves. We are responsible for our actions, thoughts, and feelings. The moment we give that power away to another, we have lost.
Hard Truth #3: Blame is the enemy of progress.
I’m truly sorry if you had a difficult childhood. I know that can be a huge obstacle to get over. But chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re an adult. It’s time to stop blaming your parents for their mistakes and take your power back.
Hard Truth #4: We cannot change other people.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try. If they don’t want to change, they are not going to. If we enable them, they have no reason to change. The only person you can change is you.
Hard Truth #5: We are not responsible for someone else’s stress.
Just as they are not responsible for ours. We create our stress, we are responsible for doing something about it. They are similarly responsible for dealing with theirs. Don’t take on someone else’s baggage just because they made you feel responsible for it.
You may not agree with what I have written here today. You may not like that I’m putting the responsibility for your wellness squarely on you. That’s okay. There was a time when I wouldn’t have liked to read this either. Back then, it was easier to blame others and look for excuses in my upbringing or environment for why I couldn’t be healthy. But one day you will reach your breaking point, just as I did. On that day, remember these hard truths. They could help guide you to a freedom and power you have yet to experience.
Originally published at www.rebeccaanhalt.com on April 6, 2015.