“Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish or uncaring because I don’t do things your way. I care about me too.”
This journey of healing and preparing myself for my #FutureHusband has caused me to take a self-inventory of where I failed in my past relationships. One of the biggest eye openers for me was acknowledging that it is not always the other person’s fault; a lot of times we play a major part in the demise of a relationship.
As I looked deep within I have realized that one thing I did not do was set boundaries. Rather than addressing a behavior or behaviors that did not edify me, I chose to ignore them and allowed them to continue until eventually I was left feeling emotionally drained, resentful, hurt and angry. By not addressing the behavior at the onset, I killed a very important piece of me….my voice.
As I continued my self-exploration I asked myself why I did not put boundaries in place. Why did I chose to ignore the behavior or behaviors and not address them; and what I concluded was it is my character to avoid conflict and somehow, in my thought process, I derived that addressing the issues would cause conflict and jeopardize the relationship. Admittedly, I also never learned how to have healthy boundaries. Ultimately, I denied myself the right to speak my truth and to live as my authentic self. Something, as I look back now, would be damaging to my emotional well being.
“If you wear a mask long enough you begin to forget who you are beneath it.” ~ Unknown
Boundaries are important. Boundaries show that we care for ourselves. Boundaries set a guard over our hearts. Boundaries say, “I will not tolerate certain behaviors because I know my worth.”As a single woman I am learning what my boundaries are and I am learning to put those boundaries in place without apology. It is challenging at times because in some cases I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But as the saying goes,
“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you enforce.” ~ Tony Gaskins
It took many years to grasp what Mr. Gaskins was saying. In any relationship, people will do what you allow them to do. And it is completely up to you and me to set boundaries to protect ourselves. And with social media and a slew of other tools that have changed the dating game, being clear about what we will allow is more important than ever. So as I enter the dating arena I have determined a few ways that I need to set boundaries for myself.
- First, I need to acknowledge my feelings. My feelings matter. My feelings matter just as much as the other person’s feelings matter. No longer will I become so involved with the other person’s stuff that I completely lose sight of what matters to me and what is hurting me. I have to recognize my feelings and learn to differentiate between me and the other person.
- Second, I need to recognize where I need to set boundaries. Being clear of and enforcing behaviors I will not tolerate are paramount in being successful at setting healthy boundaries. For example, I am clear on my decision to remain abstinent until marriage. That boundary is in place and I must communicate that clearly.
- Third, I must be secure in my decisions. I must be prepared for push back. But I must remain grounded in my decision and not allow myself to be moved; as this will only push me backwards.
- Fourth, communicate, communicate, COMMUNICATE!!! When something bothers me, speak on it! When something doesn’t feel right, speak on it! When something needs to be addressed, speak on it! No longer can I overlook certain behaviors. I must communicate clearly what I expect and then stand my ground.
- And finally, I must take care of myself. If there is backlash step away and do something that brings me joy. I must remember backlash does not mean I need to compromise what I believe or how I feel. Backlash means that we are two different people and that is ok. And as a wise man once said, “Never waste your time trying to explain, to people committed to misunderstanding you.”
My journey has been nothing short of amazing. I have come a long way and excited about where God is taking me.