Couple of weeks ago, I added another year under my belt. I celebrated my birthday, this year after so long, with my family only. It was a quiet day, filled with some of my favorite things: gifts, food, and wine. Being that it was a holiday, I spent the day relaxing and laughing and being thankful to be alive. As birthdays come around each year, I try to make an inventory of things I love about myself, and what I would like to improve on. I decided to put less pressure on myself, and be less selfish ( well, that one is an everlasting work in progress) last year. This year, my new challenge is setting clear boundaries, in order to carry less emotional baggage.

Boundaries are something I have struggled with, in my adult years. I am somewhat of a people pleaser, who tends to get too emotionally attached in situations when I shouldn’t. And since I can justify just about anything I do, I reckon being a people pleaser, makes me seem more “thoughtful” and “caring” to their needs. The truth is that, it is pure self-gratification and, in the long run, does more harm than good. Being this always available to people leads you to be seen at first as nice, but then you could easily be seen as not genuine. I care, because others’ opinions matter to me the most, how they see and perceive me, but when their needs are met and fulfilled, who helps me with mine?

Everyone I know or meets  me for the first time, will use the adjective “nice” to describe me ( except rude bank tellers, and cab drivers). I want to be perceived as the nicest person you would ever meet, because it really makes me happy to help others, and make their days brighter and happier. The problem is I would give so much of myself to others, that I forget to be nice to myself. I am always present, physically mentally, and emotionally, for family, friends, acquaintances, and I tend to let their issues and feelings, overwhelm me. And taking on others’ problems and feelings, can be exhausting in itself.

By setting clear boundaries for myself when dealings with people in my life, personally and professionally, I am preserving my feelings and my heart ultimately, from a world of hurt and misunderstanding. This,then,means giving each person I deal with, rules and limits of what I will allow to give, share and,what I cannot do for them. I will not write a memo individually, but in my mind and my heart, they will have a place ( or not) where I see fit to know how care for them, accordingly. I also can’t emotionally invest myself into situations where there is no need for me to jump in, head first.I am not Dr Phil to decode everybody’s feelings and solve their problems, and even he knows when to take a step back. I must create a safe place, to genuinely care for others and cater to my own sanity. I want to be a better daughter, sister, friend, partner, lover, and colleague, and I can be this better version of myself, by telling people who and what they represent to me, what I want, expect from them, and steer clear of blurring those new established lines. I cannot be referee, judge and arbitrator,all at the same time, for everyone. It is counterproductive, time-consuming, and nothing significant gets achieved.

This is a process, and as always, I am going to love it, with all the little victories and disappointments, that will arise from my decisions. I was blessed to have another year, to grow, in a world where things move so fast, and every moment is precious, and should not be taken for granted. It is fun to discover every day, how far we can push ourselves, test our limits and learn who we are. In this life, I choose optimism, and strive for greatness. I open myself by being vulnerable, but I gain more by losing and shedding all bad habits. If that’s what growth is, I absolutely love how it feels, and I can’t wait to see the results.

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