I’ve been unfaithful to myself again. I promised myself I wouldn’t say "yes" to things that didn’t resonate with the person I have become. Yet, I’ve repeatedly let myself down. I have come to realize when we’re not loving and kind to ourselves first, we become more concerned with how we are perceived by others versus how we feel! This is the complete opposite of authenticity!
Have you ever experienced that gut-wrenching feeling when someone you love betrays you? At your most vulnerable moment, when your guard is down being betrayed feels like a punch straight to your heart!
It's certainly one of the worst emotional feelings ever!
Betrayal is like being violated emotionally, It is literally breaking a promise or breaching a set boundary. Even though a boundary is a 'verbal contract', any violation is hurtful and can leave a scar that never goes away. If your heart is a piece of paper and it gets crumbled up by broken promises, an apology may flatten the paper out but the wrinkles or scars still exist. Much like the paper, your heart remains damaged.
The pain is intensely more hurtful when it comes by way of family members, good friends, or someone from your innermost circle - people you 'trust'.
But what if I told you there is a type of betrayal that's even more painful and devastating than the ones I described above?
I spent countless hours outwardly complaining about the actions of other people. I would always start off with phrases like "I can't believe" or "Really, you are going to do me like that!" It was a vicious cycle of hurt, anger, and betrayal.
After many years of constant disappointment and tears I was exhausted! Then one day, I looked in the mirror. I determined it was time to have a moment with the person I see everyday - the woman in the mirror - ME. Then it hit me! I realized that the main source of my pain wasn't family members, friends or anyone! The culprit was within. It was the one starring right back at me - the enemy was ME!
I realized that I have betrayed myself time and time again! If I counted up all the times I was betrayed by someone else, it wouldn't even come close to the damage I have caused myself.
Talk about a hard pill to swallow. Every time I said "yes" to a relationship or "agreement" that backfired my intuition was literally screaming "Nooooo!" And time and time again I betrayed myself!
So why did I say "yes" in the first place?
That's the million dollar question? Why do I say "yes" when my soul is screaming "no"? I had to search deep within to find the answer - I wanted to be liked! Yes, I wanted to be liked. It sounds silly to write, but I never want to seen as a bad person so therefore I must say "yes" right? I wanted to be seen as having a big heart, a kind person who is always there for you!
The price for seeking validation in others was sacrificing myself, losing myself, and being betrayed by myself! I was literally being pushed by each disappointing situation to my wits end. I had to break the cycle. I had to for once figure out how to satisfy myself and not give so much only to be left empty. I had to protect myself from myself. I had to once and for all put myself first. I had to set "boundaries".
Yes, BOUNDARIES! It doesn't sound sexy, but I promise you it felt like I was making love to myself by establishing boundaries! IT'S LIFE-CHANGING! I have recently discovered many women feel pressured by the WORLD [and dare I say other women] to position themselves to be of service to others. It took me over 35 years to realize that you can't give from an empty cup. Eureka!
Ok, let me explain!
Do you remember your first airplane ride? Do you remember how excited you were to land at your final destination? Do you remember when the flight attendant passed out those the famous Lotus Biscuit cookies and thought to yourself "why on earth would they only give me two cookies?" How about how well dressed the flight attendant was? You probably do, but do you remember when the flight attendant told you that in the event of an accident to put on your oxygen mask before you assist someone else? If you're anything like me you probably felt like you were a know-it-all and you were flipping through the magazine in the back of the chair. In that moment many of us missed one of the most important lessons of our lifetime. You can't give to others what you have not given to yourself. In other words....self-care is not selfish!
"People will hear what you say, but they will learn from what you do!"
If you're still reading this you're likely searching for change. You're probably healing old wounds and that's ok! One of the first steps is to not allow someone to turn your wounds into compound fractures! You have to teach people how to treat you. If respect is not given, then demand it! That is your right! It doesn't matter who it is......your husband, your wife, your children, your friends, the dog...it doesn't matter! It may feel weird at first, but you start to notice how empowered you feel by setting boundaries over time. These boundaries will safeguard you and your happiness!
We've got the order all wrong....we're taught to get a job, get married, have kids, give to the community, give up your dreams, sacrifice......BUT, if you don't love yourself first every offer we extend will be from a position of self-lack. Self-love is the first step to establishing boundaries with others.
If you have issues establishing boundaries this means you need to reconnect with yourself and strengthen your self-worth. What you allow into your life is a direct reflection of your values.
Here are our top 4 Tips for Establishing Boundaries:
Get to know yourself- We should be spending at least 1 hour with ourselves every day. The first hour of your day that should be spent reconnecting with yourself, loving yourself, and affirming who you are. As a wife and Mom, I understand this may take some reprogramming. This may require waking up at 5:15 am instead of 6:15 am. Prayer, meditation, reading. Do what you need to do to recenter your focus to yourself. Everyone else will need to adjust... including the kids. Yes, I said it!
How your limits- What does life look like for you? How do you envision yourself? Your interactions with others? What makes you feel betrayed and unloved? What hurts your feelings? Yes, it's ok to feel. It's a human trait regardless of what others say.
Be assertive- First, what is assertiveness? It's our ability to speak up for ourselves in a way that's respectful and honest. When you're used to being passive, assertiveness feels like aggression but remember your comfort zone is not a good benchmark. Practice saying "no" without providing an explanation. A justification for saying "no" is simply not required.
Practice makes perfect- Knowing your boundaries and setting them are two different things. It's an adjustment that may not come easily, but the more you do it the easier it will become. Just make sure you're spending more time focusing on how you feel after each interaction versus how others are responding to your requests.
Iyanla Vanzant said it best "You are a representation of God in your life and how you treat yourself is how you treat God."
Tell us what's the first boundary you're going to establish?
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