Up until recently, my resentment was a beast that I’d learned to tame. But I was wrong. I was carrying him with me even as I was dancing, smiling, and shining. And instead of acting out wild, angsty outbursts and temper flare-ups, I was doing something equally destructive: I was letting people hurt me.
So newsflash: Resentment is tied to hurt. If you hate, you’re hurt. It’s that simple. For me, there have been times where I was hurt as a result of the confusions of others and still others where I was hurt by the confusions of my own making. But through my exploration of healthy boundary setting, I’ve learned that I allowed this hurt to happen, and I kept it alive with my resentment. In the process of maturing emotionally, I did not set the proper boundaries that tell people, “This is how I want to be treated.” Instead I said things like, “I don’t care, what do you want?” and “I’m flexible” and “I’m fine” and the worst of them all, “It’s okay.” And the resentment danced along with me all along. (Maybe you can relate.)
As a result of this maturing process, I began to see myself with more clarity. And with my commitment to setting boundaries came a cleansing of old resentments and the hurt that caused them in the first place. But, as I soon learned, this is a lifelong commitment to healing and the beginning stages of setting healthy boundaries can come with a harsh learning curve. Then, a few weeks ago, someone came along and changed the way you look at boundaries forever.
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For me (up until recently) setting boundaries sounded like, “I don’t deserve this!” and “Fuck this shit!” and “Leave me alone!” But then someone saw me. They said, “I can see and hear the fear and judgement when you say those things and it’s like your empathy and compassion switch just gets turned off. Do you feel that?” (Gasp! I was gagged by my own truth. It was like somebody tying a balloon knot in my stomach. He was right.)
So I re-committed, not just to setting boundaries, but to setting healthy boundaries in a compassion way. I want to take the bark and the bite out of “I don’t deserve this!” and “Leave me alone!” and replace them with “I need a new source of income” and “I need to take some space” or just cut right to the chase and say, “I’m feeling scared and I need to be calm right now.”
That’s what boundaries are. It’s not just these meme-worthy demands to “Speak your truth,” “Cut that bitch out” and “Let it go”. Nah dude. This is real. And it doesn’t fit into a social media character limit. The truth isn’t in the words. It’s what’s behind them. And trust me, it takes work. But now that I know what healthy boundaries aren’t, I know better what healthy boundaries are. And they are not putting up walls around your heart, cutting everyone out, or speaking your truth to anyone with working eyes and ears. So think about it.
- What does the “truth” mean to you?
- What forms of communication work best for you to speak it?
- That “bitch” you’re being told to “cut out”? What would that even look like?
- How would you protect your own karma from being adversely effected?
- And if you need to “let it go”, what walks behind “it” that keeps following you around in the first place?
These are boundaries. They are in your control. And they protect your identity. And if you want the world to believe you matter, protect your identity, nurture it, and watch it grow. And the next time someone tries to hurt you, you can kiss resentment’s ass goodbye. There will always be people that try to test your boundaries, but they can never set them. That’s on you now.
As always, we’re in this together. Add your voice in the comments or share this post with your community (links below.)