Beneath the Layers - January
This is a series that we started this year - in the spirit of vulnerability. It's on my heart to open this space up to more personal things, to keep it vulnerable and a place where you can come to feel validated. As women, and moms, we often times feel the same feelings, no matter how many kids you do or don't have, no matter where you live or what you do. But somehow, we all think we're alone, we think we're crazy for being crazy, and feel misunderstood. But guess what? Your crazy is actually totally relatable, while it might appear different on the outside, the heart of the matters are all the same. I hope you can find some inspiration, some hope and maybe even a few laughs knowing that we're all in this together. There's peace & unity in community.
Each month, I want to address a fear that I have, and a negative thought or self-talk that I engage with. What will follow those is an affirmation that I tell myself, something to combat those feelings, along with an action plan of how I intend to conquer those thoughts.
My hope in sharing these with you is to show you that you're not alone. It's easy to look at someone's life (or what you might think you know of it) and make judgments, assumptions and even paint a vivid picture. "She has it all together, she doesn't have struggles, her kids are perfect, her marriage is incredible, etc.." But guess what? We ALL struggle, and while many of our struggles can look different, they all feel. I want to live in a world where feelings are currency - where we can exchange feelings and invest in peoples hearts, invest in their feelings - not in their circumstances or image.
I want to talk a little bit about boundaries today. It’s kind of a buzz word, a bit of a hot topic (not the leather pants kind) and maybe even a word that holds more gravity than you’re really sure what to do with. Growing up with a therapist for a mom - boundaries was a household term that was very important. I didn’t realize until later on in life where I started settling my own boundaries how important it was. There’s a fear when it comes to setting boundaries - mostly for the reaction, the negative consequences or just the hard ground work it takes to set them, let along maintain them. For a very long time, despite my confidence and independence, I feared boundaries. I have done so much personal work this year to embrace boundaries, to use them to my advantage, and to be convicted in their power. I feared the consequences that putting myself first might have on my life.
If I confront this person, they will react in a negative way. If I set a boundary with this person, they will tell everyone how awful of a person I am. If I set this boundary, I’m being selfish. Setting boundaries makes me high maintenance. Setting boundaries can sometimes feel like an emotional decision versus a rational decision. If I set too many boundaries, am I putting walls up instead of facing real issues?
These are all thoughts or questions I’ve asked myself as I’ve set boundaries in my life - whether that’s with people (friends/family/work/etc) or with commitments. I’ve said no more times than ever this year, I’ve called out actions that don’t feel good or make me uncomfortable, I’ve sacrificed a lot of friendships and “fun” for priorities and my fear of coming out emotional and high maintenance was just the opposite. I’ve never felt more confident or free in my life.
Boundaries are healthy. Turns out, when we’re not willing to set boundaries in our lives for our own needs, we tolerate far more than we ought to. Brené Brown says: “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” PREACH! So good you guys. We don’t have to explain ourselves, we don’t have to feel guilty, we don’t have to be hesitant. It’s important to remember that setting boundaries is simply having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing people in our lives. Collin and I set some big boundaries this year and our marriage has never been better, our kids are thriving, and on a personal level, we’re more fulfilled and less stressed.
If there is something that is bothering you, where you find resentment building up, DO SOMETHING. There’s nothing worse than waking up with a pit in your stomach, knowing something isn’t right. You have the power to change these things - it won’t be easy, it feels terribly vulnerable, but honestly, the aftermath is an unexplainable freedom. There is POWER in the “care/don’t care” mindset - I care about you, but I don’t care what you think about me. If there’s a commitment that is sucking the life out of you, SET A BOUNDARY! Take a stance, say no for the first time, and remember the feeling when you finally prioritize yourself and your needs over the well-being of others. There’s a little bit of magic that occurs there.
A couple amazing books about boundaries that I highly recommend:
Let's remember that we're all in this together, that often the best support is someone who's going through it right there with you. I hope you'll share in the comments if you have other responses, fears, or vulnerabilities - sometimes talking about it is just enough to take that weight off our shoulders!