When I started creating personal boundaries for myself, I had no idea what I was doing and it made me uncomfortable to think I would ever enforce them. But I stuck with it. Even when it made me grit my teeth, I stuck with it. Even when I would backslide, I stuck with it.
Everyday now I reap the benefits of those personal boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
Personal boundaries are not magical. They come with a cost and some pain. You have to be honest with yourself about what you will not stand for anymore and be prepared for the fact that this is going to piss off some of the most toxic and heinous people in your life. You will have to be prepared to do battle with them and with yourself, at first. As time passes this will subside considerably.
But stick with it.
These days when I have contact with a toxic person, it bounces right off of me like I’m wearing armor. That’s not because I’ve hardened myself either. Anyone that truly knows me will tell you that I love people and have an open and loving heart. I just have my radar tuned to eliminate the creeps out there now, rather than letting them in to create drama. I am able to recognize them now a lot quicker than I used to and I owe that spidey sense to my personal boundaries.
It used to bother me for days when someone would inject their own personal negativity into my world and I would feel compelled to continue responding and reacting to it. Not anymore. Once I realize who and what I’m dealing with, I move on. Their brand of connecting is not something I am interested in pursuing or participating in.
I spent quite a few years feeling helpless and being fearful. I would button up and be suspect of everyone. I let that go too. I realized that by enforcing what is good for me made it easier for me to eliminate and let go of everything else that was bad. Those people can’t hurt me anymore because what they do doesn’t matter to me anymore. When you really stop caring about the toxic ones, they really stop being a monster under the bed waiting to get you.
While I have been doing this inner exploration trying to figure out exactly how I got here, I stumbled upon a pattern. It wasn’t glaringly apparent and I had to dig and dig to realize it was a pattern, but it was there all along. I just never knew it. This pattern started during the years I would develop my own personal criteria for friendships and acceptance, and it was forged from my connection with family.
That’s right! It was family that honed my needy, need to please at any cost, please like me, you can insult me, abuse me, manipulate me, destroy me and steal from me, and I won’t mind as long as you’re my friend…personality.
I can share quite a few incidents that led me here.
I received an allowance once a week. It wasn’t much, maybe 50 cents, or so. But I had saved it for a few weeks to spend at the local drugstore on a small bottle of red nail polish that I had been dreaming about for months. The day I carried that little bottle of red nail polish home and placed it lovingly on my vanity, was a grand day indeed.
A few days later some of my cousins came over and we hung out, painted our fingers and toes bright red and talked about boys. At the time we all lived within a block of each other and were playmates to each other growing up. I don’t remember ever having childhood friends that weren’t my own kin.
That evening after everyone had gone home, I noticed my tiny bottle of red nail polish was missing. I looked everywhere. It was gone.
A few weeks later I was at my cousin’s house and I saw where someone had drawn on the headboard of their bed with red nail polish. I looked around the room and there it was. My tiny bottle of red nail polish, my prized possession that I had saved my money to buy, sitting on my cousin’s dresser.
She saw me notice it.
“What are you looking at?!” she demanded to know. I pointed to the polish. I knew she couldn’t buy it for herself. I knew she hadn’t bought it for herself. I knew it was mine. “So? What are you going to do about it?!” I shrugged. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything about it because she wouldn’t like me anymore.
What I never stopped to consider was that she didn’t like me anyway.
EPIPHANY!!! Pattern recognized!
If I had never taken a step back and started to take a hard look at the number of days I spent worrying about what other people thought of me, or how other people treated me, or feeling like shit because my own friends were mean to me, I would still be in that same sorry state of being.
People! Wake up! If someone treats you like crap, dump them! They are never going to change and you will never have any impact on them at all, until you leave them in your dust. They treat you like crap because THEY DO NOT LIKE YOU! I know it’s going to be a chore to walk away from some of the people in your life that treat you badly. I know it because I did it and I know it’s difficult. But if you want to live a happier and healthier life, you’ll do it.
Move on and find friends that cherish you as much as you cherish them. They’re out there! Find that friend that will come over and paint their fingers and toes with your tiny bottle of red nail polish, talk about boys and when they get ready to leave, they’ll place that bottle of red nail polish lovingly on your vanity because they’ll know that it will always be there when they come back to visit. Just like your friendship and your love will be there too.
You don’t have to beat people up to make them love you and you don’t have to keep taking a beating in order to be loved back. This year I would love to see many of you sit down and make personal boundaries that will lead you to a better place in life. We all deserve to live better lives, so what do you say? Let’s do it!
Note: if you would like to read about my own journey while making personal boundaries, you can find those posts under Categories. Look for the category entitled Personal Boundaries Primer. Good luck! I’m here for ya! 🙂