Have you ever had a friend vent to you about the SAME situation over and over again, until the point you listen without having anything to say. In the back of your mind, you’re screaming “you could do so much better if…”… But, knowing your words are for naught, you listen without hearing a word.
Is that an emotional or logical response?
One could argue either or both ways.
Imagine if you did the same thing to yourself. Chances are: many of us have been there in some way or another.
I can think of tons of examples, honestly. As a people pleaser, I’ve had far beyond my fair share of taking on the weight of the world… or the weight of my acquaintances in the world. The biggest ones for me, perhaps, surface in relationships, both romantic and non. With friends and some family, I have had the tendency to drop everything when someone asks me, never mind what I may be doing. The best part is when I actually had the courage to say no because what I was doing mattered to me, some have had the audacity to question my friendship, which in turn made me feel bad (emotion), drop what I was doing and “help” them. I’ve had coworkers who took advantage of my work ethic; they’d slack because they already knew I’d be ahead and have “free” time to take on their loads. Sometimes they disguised it as a genuine need, but really it was just failed responsibility and a lack of stewardship.
Slightly differently, I’ve found the air literally sucked out of my lungs, I’ve felt the water based liquid that usually prevents dry eyes fail to produce. Emotionally drained, I have told myself that I didn’t want to be in a situation, that it wasn’t good for me, that accepting and enabling this lifestyle for myself was worse than death. And even when I really wanted out, I lacked the capacity to move. One part of me was saying the same thing over and over again, and the other part stopped listening. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had no
boundaries. I couldn’t separate myself from my circumstances because I hadn’t communicated what made us different.
I’ll be the first to say that it is better to be proactive than reactive, but it is never too late to place limits on what you allow in or what you put out.
I’m finally in a space where I don’t much care what people think of me so long as I live for the glory of my Lord and Savior. I no longer feel obligated to give because you have asked. I have the right to say no, just as I have the right to say yes. I cannot claim victim. I have learned that people only take advantage of me when I allow them; no one can invade my space if my walls are solidly placed. I will not give in for the sake of your feelings, or anything else. I am responsible for myself. Whatever I do, I shall do in love, with a pure heart, with regard for others’ feelings, but not in reaction to them.
Only by the floods of tears that drowned my pillows could I come to appreciate the sun that dried them. My tears now are genuine and focused; they come as I bow at the throne of grace. They represent growth and i understand them. I have chosen to define myself, and not be defined by what others think of me.
Boundaries changed my life.
I urge you to read the book (Boundaries) but even if you don’t, self-examine. I can only speak to my experience, but it is better to know than not. Where are you fatigued?.. Do you know why? What contributes? I remind myself, my clients and my students alike: you cannot control anyone but yourself! It would be a much easier pill to swallow if we could change the people around us, but we cannot. We can only control ourselves.
I first saw the boundaries book years ago, before I really had a problem; I had just begun my married and ministry life and was very excited and hopefull about how effortless and joyful the ministry life was going to be. Now, many years later, I have found myself in many of the situations you described–helping under duress, feeling coerced, without any freedom given– not by the Savior, but by the person whom I m trying to either serve or minister alongside, or under. Yes…this is me a lot of the time…however it has done something interesting to me besides what you wrote–I really try not to be that person that pushes, or asks when I really need help! That said, I often create plans a, b, and c, expecting that no one is really gonna want to do whatever I ask– they may be doing it because someone struggles with boundaries as I sometimes do.
That said, you can say no to me, friend. If the answer is yes but only at my house today, or no period, I get that. I love you and respect you!! GodBless!
Woooo…do I know about people draining me of happiness trying to take on their misery. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to have boundaries.
Also, I nominated you for the Liebster Award. Just wanted to let you know and you can find it on my latest blog post 🙂
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It’s truly unbelievable to me how much bkundary awareness is changing my life already! Thank you for reading!! 🙂
Wow! Thank you so much! I read your post. I have to think about some of these answers! Lol. And i dont read a whole lot of blogs, so i’ll be working to get these 11 :).
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I can only imagine! People know they like to drain folks dry.
And no problem at all! I took an entire week to do my post from my nomination so I understand needing time haha.
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