Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yes and No Boundaries

{Photo published on web here}
In my heart is the desire to love everyone and make everyone happy.  I am a people-pleaser, if you will.  I can hardly live with myself when I unintentionally offend someone, even a cashier, a telemarketer, or a complete stranger.  While my feelings stem from good intentions, my desire to be good to everyone is unrealistic and can do more harm than good.

This habit of mine is the result of poor boundaries.  Over time, I have established my self-esteem to be dependent on other people.  I do not have interior self-worth.  Therefore, I have to search outside myself for affirmation and love.  I am just as sincere with my best friend as I am with a bum on the street.

On the one hand, it is important to be kind to everyone and treat each person you encounter with respect and dignity, even if you do not know them on a personal level.  However, not every single person, like, can be your bestest and, like, greatest friend in, like, the whole wide world.  Like, no duh.

The way I practice having good boundaries is to say a quick prayer when I am feel personally attached in a conversation.  In the moment, I have to remind myself that God will take care of that person and it is not responsibility to save that person.  I can only do what I can do with the time God has given me.  The rest is in His hands.

What this really comes down to is two things: 1) I have a hard time saying “no”, and 2) I have a hard time recognizing my “self-worth”.

First off, I have a hard time saying no to helping people.  It is difficult for me to say no when I am asked to do something, especially when pressured.  I have trouble saying no when someone asks me a favor.

I am deathly afraid of heights.  However, it is shockingly easy to persuade me to ride a roller coaster at a theme park.  It’s ridiculous, but I have a hard time saying no to something that will give me a panic attack.  I always think that, maybe this time, I will be okay.  I don’t want to let my friends down.  I want to be affirmed and loved.

My “no” has no power.  On the flip side, yet just as true, my “yes” means nothing either.

If I say “yes” all the time, it is humanly impossible to keep up.  Important relationships and necessary responsibilities in my life will begin to suffer.

I have to remember that it is okay to say “no”.

When I am deciding what to do, I remember that I’ve already said yes to other commitments.  If the object in question conflicts with what I’ve already said yes to, then I must say no.

Instead of thinking of it negatively (“no” has negative connotations), I think of my decisions in a positive way.  When I say “no”, it is not negative, but it is positive.  I am really just reaffirming my “yes”.

In the past few months, I’ve been offered a few part-time jobs.  It was incredibly difficult to say no.  In my head and on paper, the opportunities were perfect for me.  However, I’ve already said “yes” to commit to healing from depression.  So I had to reaffirm that “yes” by saying “no” to the job offers.  It is difficult for me not to have a full-time job but I have made so much progress this year by staying home and not working.  Maybe in the future I will be ready, but not yet…not yet.

Parents of young children can relate to the no/yes dilemma.  They have to use this technique constantly.  Saying “no” to the snack before dinner is really just affirming your “yes” decision to teach them good eating habits.  Saying “no” to the extra TV show is really just affirming your “yes” decision to cultivate their imaginations.

For me, it is easier to say no when I think of my decision in a positive way.

When you are in the dilemma of choosing between yes and no, think of what you have already committed to.  Will it reaffirm your previous “yes” or will it cause that “yes” to suffer?

It is important and healthy to have good boundaries.  You do not have to be responsible for the whole world.  Accept the tasks you have been given and give the rest the God.  Trust Him with everything.

It is also important to remember your ever-present self-worth.  Your worth does not come from other people, nor does it come from inside you.  Your worth comes from God.  You are worthy and deserving of everything good, true, and beautiful.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”   I would like to take it a step further.  I believe that, “You might feel inferior from time to time.  However, no one can take away your self-worth, with or without your consent”.

You have self-worth whether or not you feel like you do.  If you are feeling worthless, it is good to remember that worthlessness is just a feeling.  Feelings come and go.  They bring you up and down just like a roller coaster.  God is ever the same.  He is the constant Truth in life.
You can never lose your self-worth.

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