A couple of days ago, I mentioned that one of the things I want to work on in therapy is creating boundaries. Some of those are just boundaries for my own protection or energy issues. Some are to prevent oversharing, something that happened a lot in my life growing up. Some are there for other reasons. My next therapy appointment is next week, but in the meantime I thought that I would get started looking at some ways to create better boundaries.
To start looking at forming boundaries in relationships, you have to really know yourself and what you want out of life – and then how relationships you have will fit into that. It requires that you be really in tune with your body, mind, and emotions. I still have some groundwork to get to that point, but I’m much farther than I was last year at this time.
Of course, one of the benefits of this is that you should be noticing who drains you and in what capacity. From there, you have to decide how much interaction you want with these people and what the consequences of what’s going on will be. You also have to stick to your guns. I’ve already kind of hit that area in my life which is very nice. There is so much less drama in my life now that I’ve kind of removed those people from it.
You have to figure out what limits you’ll have on your positive relationships as well. You have to allow yourself to experience your emotions because keeping in touch with those is how your relationships are going to flourish. You have to focus on self-care and acknowledge what makes you uncomfortable and discuss it.
Probably the hardest part for me will be being more direct about what I want or need and being assertive if that doesn’t happen. I hate to feel like I’m inconveniencing someone or interrupting their daily life.
Obviously the key to all of this will be to start small and go slowly.
I talked a few days ago about how I was working on being a better friend, on being there and more available. That’s definitely a part of all this, as is really connecting with my sister in a more sisterly way instead of a motherly way. It’s been really nice to talk with her more in a supportive and loving role, being silly with each other. We definitely haven’t gotten to do that enough.
Another big step with this will be to define and really start to establish more of the relationship with my dad and his family. Similarly to what I’ve been doing with my sister and my friends, we’re going to look at setting up regular calls or Skype dates (thanks Katy for the awesome idea!!). I also want to look at the next times we can visit with each other in the upcoming year. At the very least, maybe we can play Cards Against Humanity online. They’re amazing at that game!
This alone is going to take a lot of work. I’m anxious about how things will go to start off. I obviously don’t want anything to get too weird or awkward for anyone, but I need my family too. I do have to say how awesome my step-mom is. She has been so helpful with me processing my own emotions, with understanding where others are coming from, and with validating my frustrations with things. They didn’t need to be validated, but it’s a whole different ballgame when they are.
I’m excited to get started working on this. I think it’ll really make a difference with my anxiety issues and with my self-esteem. I’m also ready to just finish processing these emotions and memories because it holds me back a little bit. It’ll help lower the triggers I deal with and help me to be more okay with just existing and not necessarily changing the world. I love the work I do for advocacy, but sometimes it gets overwhelming and I need to be more okay with taking breaks.
Bring on St. Patrick’s Day!