First of all I LOVE this quote. Growing up I didn’t know much about setting boundaries, so I would often end up figuratively setting myself on fire for others.
Whether that would be by giving too much, over committing myself, being too nice, or only worrying about how everyone else felt, except for me.
I always wanted to make everyone close to me happy and didn’t think they could handle any thing less. I felt like it was expected of me.
It wasn’t until early in my twenty’s when I would begin to have to set many boundaries with the people closest to me- pretty much all at once.
This seems really simple when you think about it. And kind of elementary “Im setting a boundary to protect myself”. Simple as that.
Not quite. At least not for me because I never learned it. Regardless of who you have to set boundaries with I think what makes it so hard is that it is typically with the people closest to you (at least those can be the harder ones to set) and you want to be strong, share your feelings, and lay it all out. (Yeah, inner strength!)
But at the same time, deep down, you fear that the person(s) you are setting those boundaries with wont step up to meet them.
That’s scary because you want so badly to not be let down and you want confirmation that you are worth that. (PSA: You are worth it regardless of whether or not someone is able to meet your boundary that has NOTHING to do with you or your worth.)
As many of you know I have anxiety and I can get especially anxious/emotional around confrontation (especially at that time because it was so new to me) the thought of having these hard conversations was pretty crippling to me.
What really helped me most when setting the biggest boundaries, especially within my family was to write a letter to the person I was going to talk to saying how I felt, what I needed, and a plan of what I was going to do if that person wasn’t capable of meeting my boundary. When the times came to have those conversations I read from my letter.
As hard as it was in some of those cases, when someone couldn’t step up to meet a boundary I had set I stuck to my plan.
This wasn’t always easy. In fact for the most part it sucked but I realized that I was only responsible for myself and couldn’t control anyone else’s feelings or actions. (again, somewhat elementary, but oh well.)
From all of this I gained more confidence in myself and even on the hardest days, days where I felt completely broken I felt like I could trust myself more. Really in the long run this only helped strengthen all of my relationships.
It’s okay to be compassionate, but do it in a way that still allows you to love yourself and stay true to yourself.