I don’t know how I got there, but like all humans, I developed skill to identify the struggle in others. The muscle became stronger than the muscle that identifies my own issues. After learning about boundaries, my tools became sharper and I was able to understand much quicker how I was doing and why. It wasn’t anything close to light-speed, but it gave me the opportunity to handle whatever I was facing with a stronger face.
In addition to a better lens to my heart, boundaries helped me see when others were stepping in a spot I wasn’t comfortable with. I became determined to protect my space and in turn, very quickly would mentally put my foot down. I tried to rule over my turf with my little bit of strength.
I had been struggling with a specific issue for so long. I had my protest sign on hand and was not afraid to use it. I felt torn and was starting to be hurtful to those around me. Finally, one day, the mysterious problem came out from its cave. It was as if my eyes had been opened to a wonderful sunrise. I met what was hurting me, identified it, and could look for a plausible solution to make it better. After that day, I’ve had new disappointments yet now, they have softened my heart instead of sharpening my tongue. Through the pain and anger, I have been able to understand that it wasn’t my turn to celebrate and that it’s okay. I realize that I have so much that gives me great reason to endure, and so many past celebratory stories that give me hope.
I was hiding behind a defense line, not an offense one. I had felt so compliant for so long that I needed to make myself heard to heal. The hurt slowly elevated my perspective from my personal point of view to an aerial view of life. I have transitioned from protecting my turf with a small picket to standing there unarmed. I no longer think “you need to accept your reality because you are pressing into mine.” I think “I can see your feelings, and while I honor them, these are mine, which I want to honor too.”
The train of thought went from serving others, to serving myself, to serving us. I wish I had jumped to us, but there was a process that needed to be respected. I am still in it and will be for all my life. Recognizing what my problem was amidst situations with others frees me to get my hands dirty. It puts kind words on my lips, a shoulder to lean on, and a sense of community. I can focus on us because I carved the space between you and me, and gave myself room to step back and listen. I listened to you, and I listened to myself. As we live together, we can work on things together. The more you listen to yourself and are willing to step up and share, the better we can cohabitate. We both have to be courageous to speak up kindly and take a step forward.