I love it when you read exactly what you need to read, exactly when you need to read it.
When life has to be a certain way in order to be good enough for you, you instantly close yourself off from all the real and present opportunities available – you spend all your mental energy resisting life, rather than making the best of it.
And sadly, this is how the vast majority of the human population lives – stuck in a perpetual cycle of resistance.
But you don’t have to continue this cycle. You can change your mind.
When you consciously choose to let go of the way it “should” be, you free your mind to deal with life’s unexpected changes, challenges, and chaos in the most effective way possible…
You create space for acceptance, learning, and growth.
You learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
And gradually, you allow yourself to step forward with a clear and focused mind.
Closing the door, completing the chapter, turning the page, etc. – it doesn’t matter what you title it…what matters is that you find the strength to leave in the past those parts of your life that were not meant to be, so you can better attend to the present.
What has happened is uncontrollable; what you do now changes everything.
Of course, knowing this and actually living a lifestyle that reinforces this truth are two very different things. Letting go is NOT easy; it’s a journey that is traveled one day at a time.
It can be excruciatingly difficult to leave a long-term life situation (or dream) behind, even when your inner-wisdom tells you that things aren’t right and that it’s time to let go. At this point, you can choose to let go and endure the sudden pain of leaving behind the familiar to make way for a new chapter in your life, or you can stay and suffer a constant, aching pain that gradually eats away at your heart and mind like a cancer… until you wake up one day and find yourself buried so deep in the dysfunction of the situation that you barely remember who you are and what you desire.
Things will happen that are unexpected, undesirable, and uncontrollable. But you can always choose to let go and take the next tiniest step forward.
One of the best things we can learn to do is to set appropriate boundaries. You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce. I often say, “I refuse to positively reinforce negative behavior.”
I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries. Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hellbent on being easy, fun, and flexible. Brené Brown, Rising Strong
Brené Brown defines boundaries in Rising Strong (2015) as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.” More of her explanation:
It’s so straightforward and it makes sense for all ages in all situations. When we combine the courage to make clear what works for us and what doesn’t with the compassion to assume people are doing their best, our lives change. Yes, there will be people who violate our boundaries, and this will require that we continue to hold those people accountable. But when we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honoring of our boundaries, rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.
On the other hand, “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice” (The Gifts of Imperfection).
Another pertinent quote from Rising Strong: “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
If you’d like to know more about how to set boundaries, Brown gives three useful tips:
• Make a mantra. I need something to hold on to—literally—during those awkward moments when an ask hangs in the air. So I bought a silver ring that I spin while silently repeating, “Choose discomfort over resentment.” My mantra reminds me that I’m making a choice that’s critical for my well-being—even if it’s not easy.
• Keep a resentment journal. Whenever I’m marching around muttering cuss words under my breath, I grab what I lovingly refer to as my Damn It! Diary and write down what’s going on. I’ve noticed that I’m most resentful when I’m tired and overwhelmed—i.e., not setting boundaries.
• Rehearse. I’ll often say, to no one in particular, “I can’t take that on” or “My plate is full.” Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.
benefits of improving your boundary-setting:
1. You’re more self-aware.
2. You become a better friend and partner.
3. You take better care of yourself.
4. You’re less stressed.
5. You’re a better communicator.
6. You start trusting people more.
7. You’re less angry.
8. You learn how to say “no.”
9. You end up doing things you actually want to do.
10. You become a more understanding person.