“The brighter your light, the more you attract… everything. Moths and butterflies. At which point you begin learning what to celebrate and what to let fly on by… or who.” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe
I have a hard-time knowing when to set boundaries in relationships sometimes. I wish this was easy and clear for me. But I am naturally a "giver" and I have this instinct to take care of people and their feelings... even when it's not really necessary or beneficial to either of us.
I’m becoming more aware of this. But it’s been a slooooow process.
I think it comes back to my identity. I see myself as a nurturing person who sees the potential in people. I love being able to see beyond what’s literally happening in this moment, to the greatness that is possible in the future.
But, in relationships, it’s also a big investment of energy to give that kind of focus to someone… and right now… that is the focus/love/energy that I want to be giving to myself in order to keep the Acceptance Project going and to make the progress I need to make to prepare for my grad school auditions.
However, letting someone “fly on by” is not hard if they’re going away all on their own… But what about when they’d like to spend time with you?
And you have to be the one to say… “Well, I work 35 hours a week plus a lot of overtime in the month of November because work is crazy/busy, I blog about 15 hours a week, I try to sleep 8 hours a night, I exercise 3-4 days a week and I am working on preparing the written applications and essays for grad school and the 4 monologues required for the audition and try to have the occasional brunch with a friend. I am really in love with what I am doing in my life right now… and you are just not a high enough priority to tempt me to be a distraction from all of that.”
Feels a bit mean/harsh to me… But it’s honest.
I just wish I could feel “nice” while communicating that idea… but I just don’t. I feel like I am letting a fellow human being down and I don’t like that feeling at all.
However, not feeling "nice" hasn’t actually stopped me from setting the necessary boundaries recently. I feel mean, but I set the boundaries anyway.
In action, I have been extremely protective of my time and who I spend it with, but I do still feel a little bit guilty.
I wish that I could be all things to all people. But I can’t.
As a recovering “people-pleaser” I realize that I can only be me and do what I need to do to live my life the best way that I know how in this moment and that what other people want/think/feel about that is really irrelevant.
I really need to focus on taking really good care of myself, because the path I've committed myself to is not an easy one for me.
And learning to take good care of myself includes getting really good at setting limits with others… because nobody’s gonna do it for me… Nor should they. That’s my job. But getting good at it takes practice. And I know it will get easier the more I do it.
Ha ha ha! I really wish I had aced that class in school.
I just want to be able to do what I want to do and not care so much about hurting people’s feelings. They can take care of themselves, right?... Right.
I can still be a "good person" and take care of myself first.
So give me a call and ask me if I want to hang-out… and it’ll give me an opportunity to get over the mini-freak-out that I inevitably have in my own head about disappointing someone I love and say “No, thanks! Gotta focus on building my dreams right now.”
“Instilling ethics is a timeless objective. We need to talk about it because it gets into everything we do every day. Every situation gives us a choice, and the key is to have that moral compass that points you in the right direction regardless of the situation.” – Mohammed Aljishi