I was about 29 and one quarter when I truly realized what a boundary was. For most of my life, I have walked around like a highly-sensitive sponge. I remember walking into a yoga studio when I first moved to California and this one very outspoken teacher said, "Jeez girl. You walk around all heart. Pull your shoulders in a bit, stand up straighter. Protect yourself." At the time I just felt like I was going to cry but looking back, I see she had a point.
Oh, the post office lady isn't feeling very kind today? Let me take that on. A student has some kind of squinty-eyed scowly look happening? That most certainly is because of me. And my husband? Don't even get my started.
I'd convince myself that I was absolutely dead on. Like completely and utterly right about whatever my head had created. Then I'd suffer over it. My mind was working like a hamster in a wheel and I couldn't quite find my way out.
We all do it. We cause our own suffering. Over and over again. And often they are the same stories which once you can step away from it a bit, are pretty damn hilarious.
My biggest issue seemed to be this sponge effect - taking on other's energy and then projecting what it was that was "wrong" in the first place. I desperately wanted out of this cycle, but despite all my self-helping and yoga-ing, I was stuck.
I am ____. You are ____.
It seems simple enough but boy, is it a game changer.
It allows you to create a boundary so you can fully be you and really listen from your truest self without reacting.
I am the queen of reaction.. or the former queen now that I've reined in my inner brat quite a bit. An example: Misery loves company. And when I was in reactive listening I was that company. But when I reconnect to me and say "Who am I?" and listen to from a place that is truly connected and I can be a better listener and move from a space of creation rather than reaction.
And the best part about this is that no matter what I'm pretty damn positive you are thinking or scheming, I'm likely wrong. And even if I'm not wrong, it's not my business anyway.
What IS my business, however, is what I'm creating, how I feel and how I'm showing up for myself, for the world and for others.
Oh, and some people can suck pretty regularly. Keep them on the "you are ____" and keep that boundary. No need to keep getting burned over and over again. When people show you who they are, believe them.
And stay spongy. It's a beautiful thing to be compassionate and empathic, but even more than staying spongy, stay true.
"To love ourselves is to act respectfully toward ourselves, to enjoy our own company when in solitude, to honor our limits and speak our truths." — Anodea Judith