For years, I lived comfortably behind my carefully constructed wall of stone. Keeping everyone at arm’s length, inviting no one into my inner sanctum. I felt safe and protected. By allowing no one to get close to me, by not opening my heart and soul, I thought I would keep all the hurt and bad at bay.
Bad “things” still happened, people still hurt me, and I was faced with the reality that either I took the good with the bad and found my way through life, or give up. Giving up wasn’t an option and seeing that literally walling myself off from the world wasn’t a viable option either – I changed tactics.
I need the world just as badly as it needs me. I need people; people need me. I wasn’t born to live in the shadows. I wasn’t born to hide away from the world. Neither were you. We’re here to live and love; breathe and dance; touch lives and have our lives touched by others. We’re here to experience, learn and grow. We’re here for the good and the bad.
We need to own our place in this world.
I live life out loud. I talk about things most shy away from. I pull things from the darkness and shed as much light on them as possible. I love people. I don’t care what they do, who they love, what they look like or how much money they have. I will talk to anyone, listen to anyone and I always make time for someone who’s hurting. I compliment strangers, male or female and never take myself too seriously. This is my authentic living. This is me, doing me. Works most of the time.
However, there are times when me being me – backfires.
I know I have a solid handle on life but will always have things to learn. Like while walling myself off from the world didn’t work, setting some VERY clear boundaries is imperative to my sanity, safety, and wellbeing. You should never allow yourself, thoughts or decisions to be disrespected. Allowing people to walk all over you, take advantage of you without speaking up for yourself, or shutting them down is not honoring your soul. You set the rules of your life for what you allow and are comfortable with. No one else.
A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
While I always thought I had common sense boundaries with people, I’ve discovered there are way more than a few people who completely lack common sense. For example; strangers are not welcomed to touch my body nor are they allowed to stand in the square of personal space everyone on this planet is entitled to. Another is assuming that just because I am friendly, I am interested in anything further than a random conversation with a person passing through my field of consciousness. And while I may love meeting new people, I trust my gut instinct implicitly, and when my gut says not to interact with someone – I listen.
Which leads me to my biggest and most important boundary of all; the word ‘no’.
“No.” Is a complete sentence.
Last week, I briefly came into contact with a man I thought, mistakenly as it turns out, was my friend’s new boyfriend. My error quickly became apparent as he started off a conversation with “Hello, we should go out to lunch.” Then, before I could respond, he asked me if I was married because as he continued, “Doesn’t mess around with married women.” The conversation went downhill from there. Even after I clearly stated I am happily married, not interested and moving on – he continued. He was creepy, inappropriate, and not interested in taking a hint. He also, as it turns out, works close to me.
Any woman who has been in this position knows the litany of thoughts that run through your head. Do I need to worry about him? Will he stop? Will he become confrontational? We feel the need to explain ourselves when someone crosses our boundaries and makes us uncomfortable. We apologize. We change our routines in order to avoid them. I’ve done it before. This time, I got angry. Defiant. I owed him nothing. I owe myself everything.
Refuse to change your life when someone won’t respect your boundaries.
Release the need to explain yourself. Stop feeling that anyone who disregards your boundaries deserves anything more than the view of your back as you walk away, head held high. Be firm. Your decisions and life choices are yours and yours alone. The only one who needs to approve or understand – is you. Never feel like you have to be nice or swallow your words when someone disrespects you or disregards your personal boundary lines.
Your world. Your rules.