Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Struggle For Boundaries

I must confess I have never known a yes I didn't like.

*facepalm*

Lunch?

Yes.

Dinner?

Yes.

Coffee?

Yes.

Volunteer?

Yes.

Meet at dawn? 

Yes.

Give money?

Yes.

Meet?

Yes.

If you ask me a question, I say yes. If you send me a text or an email, leave me a VM....I am a quick response. My go to is to respond quickly, make you happy, and work to find a way to say yes to you.

In the past year, maybe two, I have made strides at using the word 'no' more...or at a minimum, 'get back with me in six months.' Why? Because I have yes'd myself into exhaustion.

The problem is that my yes problem is not the sole culprit; I also have a problem with boundaries. 

By problem, I mean I have none.

By none, I mean none.

I can be whipped into a frenzy by an email or a crisis or simply someone using the phrase "I need you" in a sentence. Your emergency (real or imagined) or lack of planning or crisis or issue is now equally mine. You no longer have to sweat it, I will worry for both of us. Worse are those that simply want company in their state of upheaval. "Join me, won't you, in my emotional hurricane," they say without saying.

"Why yes I will," I respond as if I am in a trance (envision wide, spinning eyes like in a cartoon).

*Ugh*

Yesterday, I heard myself audibly say, "No." I got a "look" in return. I then double-downed with, "I am instituting some boundaries." More "looks."

This is where you go, "So proud of you. High fives. Woo Hoo."

Stop.

I just got the worst night of sleep in weeks.

*Shaking Head Here*

This is the post where I share that implementing change and wisdom into your life and your circles (read that as friends/family/tribe/work/sphere of influence) is HARD. Your people "get" you and by that I mean As. You. Have. Always. Been. They have a vested interest in keeping their world "as is" and so adjusting to your newfound "wisdom" may not be welcomed with a ticker tape parade. 

#thestruggleisreal

Worse (and yes there is a worse) your heart might wilt a little under the looks and resistance you feel from them and so you cave. 

Stop.

Change is hard.

Growth is hard.

Do it anyway.

I woke up (and by woke up I saw the light side of 4:30 a.m.) and wrestled (until the coffee pot finally kicked on) with myself and God and the headache I woke up with about the whys and wherefores of the past 36 hours. Why can't change be easier? Am I doing this all wrong? I have been back from a much needed vacation for a mere 24 hours and I am exhausted. Why is this SO hard...I might have whined like a small child on that last part.


Boundaries are not about saying no. The truth is that they are all about saying yes. To yourself. To the highest and best use of your time, your day, your life. BUT, but before you can get to the sunshine and roses of your best life ever, you have to withstand and survive the reality of teaching those around you that you are no longer their yes man or yes woman. That my friends, is the secret. Surviving the transition. Saying no is EASY. Not caving under the gasps after you utter it is the truly hard part.

We teach people how to treat us. I have believed that for years. That said, we are also teaching people standards of living by how we live our own lives.

That Heather is a go-getter, works all the time, driven, busy, and on and on. That all sounds pretty good. Right?!?! 

Well....

I would rather be known for working hard and playing hard - and even more - knowing the difference.

I am jealous of those that I see fighting for balance and winning. So what is the difference between them and me? They aren't caving when they get pushed back for going against the standard they have set for themselves. It is easy to blame the world, but the world didn't make you agree to work 80 hours a week. The only one in that room was YOU. The world didn't make you open that email on your vacation. Check your phone at 4 a.m. Agree to a 7 a.m. meeting. 

So as I approach this second day back from vacation with a calendar that looks like a toddler vomited on it and email that has still not been touched after a first day back where I went from meeting to meeting from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. and then spent the next 2 1/2 hours reviewing proposals in emails from my cell phone, texting about said proposals, and one phone convo at 9 p.m. #forthelove 😳🙄...I am going to be kind to myself. I am going to use the word no (possibly audibly 😂) and ignore the quizzical responses to said nos. I am going to fight  for my balance as hard as I fight for everyone else's. I am going to work to live out what I expound on daily and stop being a GIANT hypocrite. I am going to focus on breathing to the rhythm of the waves (if only in my head). 

We are asking too much of those around us. Period. To correct that, we first have to stop asking too much of ourselves.

Boundaries.

This might just be the toughest lesson I have to learn...yet.