“An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.” Harriet Lerner
Setting boundaries is essential if we want to be both physically and emotionally healthy.
Creating healthy boundaries is empowering. By recognizing the need to set and enforce limits, you protect your self-esteem, maintain self-respect, and enjoy healthy relationships.
Unhealthy boundaries cause emotional pain that can lead to dependency, depression, anxiety, and even stress-induced physical illness. A lack of boundaries is like leaving the door to your home unlocked: anyone, including unwelcome guests, can enter at will. On the other hand, having too rigid boundaries can lead to isolation, like living in a locked-up castle surrounded by a mote. No one can get in, and you can’t get out.
What Are Boundaries?
The easiest way to think about a boundary is a property line. We have all seen “No Trespassing” signs, which send a clear message that if you violate that boundary, there will be a consequence. This type of boundary is easy to picture and understand because you can see the sign and the border it protects. Personal boundaries can be harder to define because the lines are invisible, can change, and are unique to each individual.
Personal boundaries, just like the “No Trespassing” sign, define where you end and others begin and are determined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others. Personal boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behavior, and interaction are acceptable.” Get more here: How to Create Healthy Boundaries « Positively Positive.
Kute Blackson writes:
Just because you perceive something a certain way, doesn’t mean it is true.
But in reality, the reality that you experience is based on your conditioning and past programming. The reality that you think is reality isn’t necessarily reality. As you become aware of this, it frees you up to see more clearly and question how you perceive a situation or person.
When you look at a situation or person, what you really see is what you bring to it. As a result, we make up assumptions and judgments about people which are often not true. Then we react based on our interpretation, which is not always accurate.
Have you ever reacted a certain way to a situation or person, only to realize afterwards that what you thought wasn’t necessarily so? It was simply how you were perceiving it in that moment based on your limited viewpoint.
Perhaps someone did or said something to you which left you feeling hurt. When you react to the situation based on your hurt, it only creates a negative spiral.
To the degree you live inside of your assumptions about what is going on, is to the degree you are not free and limit yourself.
The more you can step back, question your first reaction to a given situation and embrace what you feel, the more space you can have to actually choose a response that is empowering rather than reactive. Living from reactivity only creates more reactivity in a situation.
When you are in a relationship with a loved one and they do or say something that triggers something within you, we often think that our upset is about the other person. As a result we might react negatively, or even attack the other person out of hurt. We might make up a story about what they said or did, and what that means. In truth you may have no idea what was really going on with the other person or situation as a whole.
So we are all seeing through our individual lens/viewpoint and experiencing reality in unique ways. The challenge is when these realities do not agree, it often results in arguments we both think we are right.
Have you ever experienced this?
On some level you are both right. Everybody is right, based on the viewpoint your are looking through. It doesn’t mean it is reality though. When you realize this, you do not need to take the other person’s reaction to you personally; you realize that, based on their particular viewpoint which they think to be reality, they cannot help but react to you the way they are. It just frees you up to not keep fighting them, and be able to take a step back so that you can really choose your response.
The meaning you give to things controls your entire life. What’s the meaning you are giving to the experiences that happen to you?
Mind reading: When you project onto another other person what you think they are thinking and why they did what they did.
Living in fantasy: When you have an entire relationship with a person not based on reality, but what you have made up in your mind.
Preconceived ideas: This is where you have already made up in your mind who and what someone is and how that person will respond ahead of time. You then already feel reactive, even though nothing has happened yet.
The more you free yourself of your conditioning, the more clearly you are able to see reality clearly and really choose.
Before you judge someone or the situation.
Breathe. And take a step back.
Take a look at the situation from a more expanded viewpoint. Be willing to not know.
Question: Is this reality?
So, how much Freedom do you want to experience in your life?
- Transforming Your Reality (omtimes.com)
- Reality Show Reality (curmudgeonman.wordpress.com)
- What parcels are you getting from the universe’s delivery van? (trueconsciousness.net)
- On Perception (ahechoes.wordpress.com)
Yes, even more Melody Beattie!
A married couple, friends of mine, decided to make some changes in their living situation. They had always lived in the city, and now they decided they wanted to live in the country, on a lake.
They found a small, lake home. It wasn’t the house of their dreams, but when they sold their city home, they would have money to remodel it. They had saved some money, so they moved into their lake home before selling their city home.
One year passed, and the city home didn’t sell. My friends went through many changes during this time. They had times of patience and impatience. Some days they trusted God; other days they couldn’t figure out why God was making them wait so long, why God wouldn’t let them move forward with their plan. The doors just wouldn’t swing wide open.
One day, a neighbor came to visit my friends. His home on the lake was my friends’ dream home — everything they wanted, plus more. The first time my friends saw this house, they admired it, wishing they could have a home just like it, but then they forgot about the idea. They didn’t believe it could ever be possible.
The reason the neighbor came to visit my friends was that he and his wife had decided to move. He offered my friends the first option on purchasing his home.
My friends accepted his offer, and signed a purchase agreement. Within two months, they sold their city home and their small but adequate lake home. A short time later, they moved into the home of their dreams.
Sometimes, we experience times of frustration in our life. We believe we’re on track, trusting God and ourselves, yet things don’t work out. We have false starts and stops. The door refuses to swing wide open.
We may wonder if God has abandoned us, or doesn’t care. We may not understand where we’re going, or what our direction is.
Then one day we see: the reason we didn’t get what we wanted was because God had something much better planned for us.
“Tickets! Tickets!” And you give yours to the big man in the beard and the T-shirt at the gate and step onto the carousel. So many choices! Horses and carriages of every color. The white one with the golden tail? The green one with fire in his eyes? Yes, he looks fast– but no, someone else got there first. You settle for the black-and-red horse with the sparkling silver saddle. Someone bumps past, leaving sticky cotton candy on your arm. And then the music starts– loud, creaky organ music, blaring through old blown-out speakers. The lights flash on and off, and the world spins around you. Children shriek in delight while you tug on the reins, guide your mount around the course, and try to let go of the nagging suspicion that the green horse would have been more fun. You vow to get back in line and get that one next time.
Step off of the carousel.
Take a break for a moment and watch all the horses go hurrying past. The green one is no better than the red one, just different, and certainly not any faster. All your frantic pulling on the reins is wasted effort,too. See, they come right back again. They keep right on going around whether you are there or not. Let them.
Sure, it’s fun to be on the ride, to be right in the middle of all the action, up and down,’ round and ’round, lights flashing, music blaring. Just remember that you have a choice. You can be on the ride, or you can get off. Be where you want to be, and occasionally, relax.
God, help me remember that I have choices, and relaxing and letting go are two of them.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 26, 2012.
A slump can go on for days. We feel sluggish, unfocused, and sometimes overwhelmed with feelings we can’t sort out. We may not understand what is going on with us. Even our attempts to practice recovery behaviors may not appear to work. We still don’t feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as good as we would like.
In a slump, we may find ourselves reverting instinctively to old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, even when we know better. We may find ourselves obsessing, even when we know that what we’re doing is obsessing and that it doesn’t work.
We may find ourselves looking frantically for other people to make us feel better, the whole time knowing our happiness and well being does not lay with others.
We may begin taking things personally that are not our issues, and reacting in ways we’ve learned all to well do not work.
We’re in a slump. It won’t last forever. These periods are normal, even necessary. These are the days to get through. These are the days to focus on recovery behaviors, whether or not the rewards occur immediately. These are sometimes the days to let ourselves be and love ourselves as much as we can.
We don’t have to be ashamed, no matter how long we’ve been recovering. We don’t have to unreasonably expect “more” from ourselves. We don’t ever have to expect ourselves to live life perfectly.
Get through the slump. It will end. Sometimes, a slump can go on for days and then, in the course of an hour, we see ourselves pull out of it and feel better. Sometimes it can last a little longer.
Practice one recovery behavior in one small area, and begin to climb uphill. Soon, the slump will disappear. We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today.
Today, I will focus on practicing one recovery behavior on one of my issues, trusting that this practice will move me forward. I will remember that acceptance, gratitude, and detachment are a good place to begin.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 26, 2012.
Melody Beattie writes:
It was a stressful time in my life. I didn’t know what to do. I had pressing business decisions to make, and painful relationship issues to face. Everything felt like a mess.
I gathered up a few favorite books, the Bible, a journal, and some clothes. Then I headed for the mountains, a resort that was a favorite place of mine to hide out in and gather my thoughts.
I told myself, “I’m going to stay in there. Write in my journal. Pray. And meditate. I’m not coming out until I know what to do.”
After forty-eight hours of writing about my problems, praying about my problems, and meditating about my problems, I remembered something a friend had said to me.
“What are you doing?” he had asked.
“I’m trying to surrender to God’s will.”
“No you’re not, you’re trying to figure it out.”
Within six months, each of the problems I was wrestling with worked themselves out. I was either guided into an action that naturally felt right at the time, or a solution came to me. The immediate solution to each problem was the same: let go. Just surrender to the situation taking place. Sometimes, what we need to do next is surrender.
If you don’t like the word surrender, try calling it making peace.
God, help me surrender to your will, especially when I don’t know what to do next.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 25, 2012.
- Withholding (toddlohenry.com)
- Sadness (toddlohenry.com)
- “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” – An Interview with Melody Beattie (wheretheclientis.com)
- Codepedence is not just an issue for partners of addicts (toddlohenry.com)
- Get Nearer to God (teachingsofmasters.wordpress.com)
- Commitment (toddlohenry.com)
- Boundaries (toddlohenry.com)
Melody Beattie writes:
We need healthy boundaries about receiving money, and we need healthy boundaries about giving money.
Some of us give money for inappropriate reasons.
We may be ashamed because we have money and don’t believe we deserve it. We may belong to an organization that uses shame as a form of control to coerce us out of our money that the organization wants.
We can get hooked into giving money to our children, family members, or friends because we have earned or unearned guilt. We allow ourselves to be financially blackmailed, sometimes by the people we love.
This is not money freely given, or given in health.
Some of us give money out of a sense of caretaking. We may have exaggerated feelings of responsibility for others, including financial responsibility.
We may be giving simply because we have not learned to own our power to say no when the answer is no.
Some of us give because we hope or believe people will love us if we take care of them financially.
We do not have to give money to anyone. Giving money is our choice. We do not have to allow ourselves to be victimized, manipulated, or coerced out of our money. We are financially responsible for ourselves. Part of being healthy is allowing those around us be financially responsible for themselves.
We do not have to be ashamed about having the money that we earn; we deserve to have the money we have been given — whatever the amount, without feeling obligated to give it all away, or guilty because others want what we have.
Charity is a blessing. Giving is part of healthy living. We can learn to develop healthy boundaries around giving.
Today, I will strive to begin developing healthy boundaries about giving money. I understand that giving is my choice.
Sometimes, to protect ourselves, we close ourselves off from a person we’re in a relationship with. Our body may be present, but we’re not. We’re not available to participate in the relationship.
We shut down.
Sometimes, it is appropriate and healthy to shut down in a relationship. We may legitimately need some time out. Sometimes it is self-defeating to close ourselves off in a relationship.
To stop being vulnerable, honest, and present for another person can put an end to the relationship. The other person can do nothing in the relationship when we are gone. Closing ourselves makes us unavailable to that relationship.
It is common to go through temporary periods of closing down in a relationship. But it is unhealthy to make this an ongoing practice. It may be one of our relationship-sabotaging devices.
Before we close down, we need to ask ourselves what we are hoping to accomplish by shutting down. Do we need some time to deal? To heal? To grow? To sort through things? Do we need time out from this relationship? Or are we reverting to our old ways – hiding, running, and terminating relationships because we are afraid we cannot take care of ourselves in any other way?
Do we need to shut down because the other person truly isn’t safe, is manipulating, lying, or acting out addictively or abusively? Are we shutting down because the other person has shut down and we no longer want to be available?
Shutting down, shutting off, closing ourselves and removing our emotional presence from a relationship is a powerful tool. We need to use it carefully and responsibly. To achieve intimacy and closeness in a relationship, we need to be present emotionally. We need to be available.
God, help me be emotionally present in the relationships I choose to be in.” via Just For Today Meditations » 2012 » June » 23.
- Letting the Cycles Flow (toddlohenry.com)
- Directness (toddlohenry.com)
- Commitment (toddlohenry.com)
- Hanging on to Old Relationships (toddlohenry.com)
- Discovering intimacy (toddlohenry.com)
- Fear of Intimacy (toddlohenry.com)
- Recognizing Choices (toddlohenry.com)
More goodness for my spirit from Melody Beattie:
We don’t have to give others so much power and ourselves so little. We don’t have to give others so much credit and ourselves so little. In recovery from codependency, we learn there’s a big difference between humility and discounting ourselves.
When others act irresponsibly and attempt to blame their problems on us, we no longer feel guilty. We let them face their own consequences.
When others talk nonsense, we don’t question our own thinking.
When others try to manipulate or exploit us, we know it’s okay to feel anger and distrust and to say no to the plan.
When others tell us that we want something that we really don’t want, or someone tells us that we don’t want something that we really do want, we trust ourselves. When others tell us things we don’t believe, we know it’s okay to trust our instincts.
We can even change our mind later.
We don’t have to give up our personal power to anyone: strangers, friends, spouses, children, authority figures, or those over whom we’re in authority. People may have things to teach us. They may have more information than we have, and may appear more confident or forceful than we feel. But we are equals. Our magic is not in them. Our magic, our light, is in us. And it is as bright a light as theirs.
We are not second-class citizens. By owning our power, we don’t have to become aggressive or controlling. We don’t have to discount others. But we don’t discount ourselves either.
Today, I will own my power with people. I will let myself know what I know, feel what I feel, believe what 1 believe, and see what I see. I will be open to changing and learning from others and experience, but I will trust and validate myself too. I will stand in my own truth.” via June 24: Owning Our Power.
Melody Beattie writes:
Detachment doesn’t come naturally for many of us. But once we realize
the value of this recovery principle, we understand how vital detachment
is. The following story illustrates how a woman came to understand
“The first time I practiced detachment was when I let go of my alcoholic
husband. He had been drinking for seven years, since I had married him.
For that long, I had been denying his alcoholism and trying to make him
“I did outrageous things to make him stop drinking, to make him see the
light, to make him realize how much he was hurting me. I really thought
I was doing things right by trying to control him.
“One night, I saw things clearly. I realized that my attempts to control
him would never solve the problem. I also saw that my life was
unmanageable. I couldn’t make him do anything he didn’t want to do. His
alcoholism was controlling me, even though I wasn’t drinking.
“I set him free, to do as he chose. The truth is, he did as he pleased
anyway. Things changed the night I detached. He could feel it, and so
could I. When I set him free, I set myself free to live my own life.
“I’ve had to practice the principle of detachment many times since then.
I’ve had to detach from unhealthy people and healthy people. It’s never
failed. Detachment works.”
Detachment is a gift. It will be given to us when we’re ready for it.
When we set the other person free, we are set free….
Learning healthy detachment has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I knew how to be attached in an unhealthy way; it’s called codependency. I knew how to be detached in an unhealthy way; it’s called “Eff you — I’m leaving!”. Healthy detachment for me looks a lot like interdependence without giving over control or response-ability to my partner but I can’t say that I’ve mastered it yet or that I will in this lifetime. It may come naturally to some people but it does not come naturally to me — I have to work hard at it every day. I don’t claim perfection — only progress — but I know that learning healthy detachment is one of the best investments I can make in myself…
- Codepedence is not just an issue for partners of addicts (toddlohenry.com)
- Choices (toddlohenry.com)
- Sadness (toddlohenry.com)
- Recognizing Choices (toddlohenry.com)
- Directness (toddlohenry.com)
- …on Control (toddlohenry.com)
Just as we have relationship histories, most of us have work histories.
Just as we have a present circumstance to accept and deal with in our relationship life, we have a present circumstance to accept and deal with in our work life.
Just as we develop a healthy attitude toward our relationship history – one that will help us learn and move forward – we can develop a healthy attitude toward our work history.
I have worked many jobs in my life, since I was eleven years old. Just as I have learned many things about myself through my relationships, I have learned many lessons through my work. Often, these lessons run parallel to the lessons I’m learning in other areas of my life.
I have worked at jobs I hated but was temporarily dependent on. I have gotten stuck in jobs because I was afraid to strike out on my own and find my next set of circumstances.
I have been in some jobs to develop skills. Sometimes, I didn’t realize I was developing those skills until later on when they become an important part of the career of my choice.
I have worked at jobs where I felt victimized, where I gave and gave and received nothing in return. I have been in relationships where I manufactured similar feelings.
I have worked at some jobs that have taught me what I absolutely didn’t want; others sparked in me an idea of what I really did want and deserve in my career.
Some of my jobs have helped me develop character; others have helped me fine tune skills. They have all been a place to practice recovery behaviors.
Just as I have had to deal with my feelings and messages about myself in relationships, I have had to deal with my feelings and messages about myself, and what I believed I deserved at work.
I have been through two major career changes in my life. I learned that neither career was a mistake and no job was wasted time. I have learned something from each job, and my work history has helped create who I am.
I learned something else: there was a Plan, and I was being led. The more I trusted my instincts, what I wanted, and what felt right, the more I felt that I was being led.
The more I refused to lose my soul to a job and worked at it because I wanted to and not for the paycheck, the less victimized I felt by any career, even those jobs that paid a meager salary. The more I set goals and took responsibility for achieving the career I wanted, the more I could decide whether a particular job fit into that scheme of things. I could understand why I was working at a particular job and how that was going to benefit me.
There are times I have even panicked at work and about where I was in my employment history. Panic never helped. Trust and working my program did.
There were times I looked around and wondered why I was where I was. There were times people thought I should be someplace different. But when I looked into myself and at God, I knew I was in the right place, for the moment.
There were times I have had to quit a job and walk away in order to be true to myself. Sometimes, that was frightening. Sometimes, I felt like a failure. But I learned this: If I was working my program and true to myself, I never had to fear where I was being led.
There have been times I couldn’t survive on the small amount of money I was receiving. Instead of bringing that issue to a particular employer and making it his or her fault, I have had to learn to bring the issue to my Higher Power and myself. I’ve learned I’m responsible for setting my boundaries and establishing what I believe I deserve. I’ve also learned God, not a particular employer, is my source of guidance.
I’ve learned that I’m not stuck or trapped in a job no more than I am in a relationship. I have choices. I may not be able to see them clearly right now, but I do have choices. I’ve learned that if I really want to take care of myself in a particular way on a job, I will do that. And if I really want to be victimized by a job, I will allow that to happen too.
I am responsible for my choices, and I have choices.
Above all else, I’ve learned to accept and trust my present circumstances at work. That does not mean to submit; it does not mean to forego boundaries. It means to trust, accept, then take care of myself the best I’m able to on any given day.
God, help me bring my recovery behaviors to my career affairs.” via Thought for the Day — Hazelden.