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Bubble Baths and Boundaries



When the concept of self-care began rising in our collective conversations, I personally had a bit of a hard time with it. I was raised in a fundamental organization that pushed the seemingly harmless message to "always serve others and turn-the-other-cheek." I had been taught that I needed to dedicate my entire existence to helping others and that if I was harmed in the process, I should just walk away, forgive, and not get offended.


The result of that kind of conditioning is that you learn to abandon yourself.


The result of that kind of conditioning is that you learn to abandon yourself.


You learn to ignore your own needs and you either eventually crash and burn or you live this kind of numbed out existence that you can't quite put your finger on. You learn to quiet the little voice inside of you that says, "you need a break, you need to slow down, you need to stand up for yourself, you need to say no, you know what's best for you, your peace matters and your health matters."


This kind of self abandonment isn't exactly a great way to live a life.


For me, it played out in a scenario that eventually landed me in a hospital bed, which turned out to be a pretty powerful place to finally internalize the message that it was time to take care of me at all costs.


Even thought the message was pretty clear, the practical application of it has actually taken quite a lot of time for me.


It's not all that easy to change decades of mental wiring and I found that I had to start in baby steps.


I found that the obvious forms of self-care were easy for my mind to accept, so I just started there.


Bubble baths, gentle walks in nature, solo drives listening to my favorites songs, and journal writing all became part of my daily routine.


But the self-care practice that was really shouting out to me and trying to get my attention was boundary setting.


I was simply too afraid to go there.


Boundary setting is not really a fun concept for a recovering good-girl-people-pleaser.


Boundary setting is not really a fun concept for a recovering good-girl-people-pleaser.


I didn't like the thought of disappointing others or making them feel uncomfortable. I thought that if I did set boundaries it would come across as rude or unkind. And it turns out people do sometimes take boundary-setting as rude, especially when you are addressing issues that deal with their personal belief systems.


But I knew I had to do it for the sake of my own peace and wellbeing. I had to do it to create the space needed for trauma recovery, and I had to do it if I was going to create any kind of a life that aligned with my values and needs.


So I finally took the plunge and forced myself to do what I had to do.


The process has been bumpy, but worth it. I'm learning so much as I go and I'm trying to have compassion for myself and others along the way. I'm learning to sit in the discomfort that boundary-setting creates. I don't really like to tell people that something they're doing isn't working for me. I don't think they like it either. But I've come to terms with it and realized that people might be upset with me. I remind myself that I'm doing this for the sake of my personal peace and my well-being and that that matters. They might not understand, but that's ok.


It's impossible to make everyone happy and luckily, the people who truly love and respect me try to understand my boundaries and how to respect them, and then I do the same for them, which in turn creates healthy relationships.


It's amazing to me how much boundary setting shows you who really has your back in life, which is why I always like to say "give your heart to the people who have your back."


Give your heart to the people who have your back.


These are the people who are willing to do the work that's needed to maintain healthy relationships. The rest of the world can go ahead and do their thing, just not with me.


So here's to boundary setting! May we all experience the peace that can come from owning our own precious lives.


We got this!


Love,


Julia


VIDEO READING:



Music Credit: We're Gonna Be Okay, by Cody Francis via Epidemic Sound

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