Healthy Boundaries With Yourself, the title wrote itself before I even had a chance to process my subconscious call to change. “Saddle up,” I told myself. “This one might hurt a little.”
I think we can all agree that we are at once very lenient and very hard on our own self. We know our tendencies and hate the negative ones, but we do not change them. When we do decide that we should at least try to change, we cannot hold ourselves accountable for very long.
When we fail, we don’t get “in trouble.” I always think of this when I knowingly behave in a way that is counterproductive, but do it anyway. Had I been a child, I would have been punished externally somehow. Such punishment would shed a tangible light on an intangible thought process. When I do this, this happens. So, how do we navigate those secret behaviors that live in the shadows of ourselves?
In my own personal self-help journey, my goal is to make tomorrow better than today. But there are those pesky tendencies that give way to self-destruction. I let myself stress eat; I let myself get angry at traffic; I let myself get too involved in other people; I let myself expect that all things will be easy when they are not. And the most counterproductive behavior of them all is when I believe that avoidance will resolve my issue. If I can avoid my stressors, then I won’t need to worry about self-regulation!
To be sure, I actively pursue avoidance whenever possible. And yet, here I am, acknowledging that I still feel stressed, annoyed, and that something is not working correctly. Because my attempt to avoid all things annoying and hard is futile, I therefore must actively work toward a resolution. Sometimes that means speaking up and confronting the situation. Other times it means changing internally, agreeing to not abandon my sense of self, even in trying times.
An internal shift looks like viewing the morning traffic not as a personal offense, but as a community of people going to work. People who are taking their kids to school and going to a job that supports their community’s and family’s wellbeing; people like me. Though I just wrote that and want to believe it wholeheartedly, there’s still a strong aversion to morning traffic within me and I have to establish the boundary that this is not personal.
When we avoid establishing healthy boundaries with ourselves, we set ourselves up for unnecessary frustration. Essentially, we open the door to negativity and let it flood our lives. I want to be better than that, happier than that, stronger than that. So, let’s be our own self-regulators, calling ourselves to work on what we know needs completing.