Many of us who grew up learning to please in order to belong and to be seen. That was how love was modelled. We have this twisted belief that boundaries are unkind, unsafe, restrictive, not loving, and not generous. What we weren’t told is that without healthy boundaries we wither, dry out, shrivel and disappear. Not to be dramatic but many of us will give what we don’t have trying to fill a hole in others that can’t be filled until we reach the end of our precious supply and die. I see it all the time. The fear of losing “love” is so strong that disappearing is more appealing. But no one benefits from you leaving. What we need is your light. And for that you have to protect it, fiercely.
Take your cues from the tree 🌳 It knows how to honour life with clarity and groundedness, and to not take crap that will compromise its sacred life. True love for Self, Divine love for Soul, is not sacrifice and misery. If the tree did that, we would all suffer, no one wins and no one wants that.
If you have kids you know you wouldn’t let them deplete their resources with a person that sucks life out of people. You wouldn’t. You would protect them from the predator with all that you’ve got until they learn to do it on their own. We have to do this for ourselves, be our own mama bear to us, and call bullshit on life-sucking conversations and behaviours, and on one-way giving. We know it when we are not putting up boundaries. We can feel it inside. It's the pit in the stomach and the voice that says “I am about to betray myself right now if I stay here” or “Shoot, I did it again, I went too far away from my core, I need to come back” or “I am about to say something I will regret because this situation is making me unresourceful, so I will step away, not repeat the pattern, and go breathe in the bathroom”.
We need to remind ourselves that crossing that line in the sand, the self-preservation line, will only lead to resentment and burn out. Nothing can grow in a depleted soil.
So here it is:
boundaries are freedom
boundaries are self-care
boundaries protect my mental health
boundaries teach other people how to treat me (and love me) and how to treat themselves
boundaries are not selfish
boundaries can shift and change according to my needs and preferences
boundaries are love
boundaries are safety and protection
I love you (from within my tree core ; )
Image by Annabelle & Aiden Re-Imagining The Giving Tree 🌳