Creating Healthy Boundaries

runnyrem-263287-unsplash.jpg

Creating healthy boundaries has been a struggle of mine for many years.

I have fallen into the rescuer, the people pleaser, the need for approval, seeking belonging, seeking validation roles too often.

As I have become more in touch with these parts of me I am taking time to check in with myself so that I do create a healthy boundary for myself in interpersonal relationships.

I am learning what works and doesn’t work for me in my romantic relationship, friendships and family relationships.

I have a tendency to sound mean when I assert myself so I am learning how to assert myself from a firm and honest place.

I think I have anger over the years of times that I didn’t get to voice my boundaries and they were disrespected such as in the case with the sexual abuse from my father.

Creating healthy boundaries is a process of trusting one’s self. Trusting to say no when something truly doesn’t work for you.

As I continue to grow and heal I am learning who I want in my life, how close and what boundaries I need to put up around those people who are unhealthy, energy suckers and or toxic.

It is so important to take a step back and see what you really need in any situation.

What I have learned about boundaries:

  1. Listen to your body. If you are getting a gut response in your body of resistance or NO, LISTEN. Your mind may trick you for different reasons but the body knows. Go with what your body is telling you.
  2. Give it time. Some boundaries are set up over time. You have a boundary with a family member and then it gets broken the first time. Depending on the nature of the boundary the relationship may be immediately done or you may give it time to see if any healing can take place.
  3. Take space. Some situations require space. You may choose to have certain relationships but put those relationships in a place that doesn’t require your time and effort. You may see these people occasionally on your time in a certain fashion that feels healthy to you.
  4. Write about it. When in doubt about a boundary, write about it. Notice what you feel most drawn to after. What is the boundary and what do you need? Honor where your intuition and body are taking you.

At the end of the day if it isn’t working for you then you know the answer. This goes along with anything. From our diets to our thinking to our relationships.

Getting clear on our boundaries and what kind of lives we want to live with the people will impact our growth ten-fold. Surround yourself with a community and people who value what you value.

From Confused to Clear: Letting Go of the Relationships that Bind You

reza-hasannia-652136-unsplash.jpg

After a week of processing some pretty grey areas of my life with my relationships to my parents and family, I finally feel clear.

I went to therapy and shared how my week went. From the heavy discussion with my mother and intense banter with my father I knew what the path was for me.

To simply not have relationships with these people. Not because I don’t care for them. But because I care more for myself and my own well-being.

I had a discussion with my mother a few days ago about our past. I asked her a question.

“Have you ever thought about why Dad did what he did to me?” or “Why did you team up with him to hurt me? Why did you put a towel in my mouth?”

I paused after I asked her that.

My mind questioned me in the same way.

Why did she put a towel in my mouth? And matter of fact, why am I even talking to her? 

If it weren’t for the label “family” I wouldn’t have a relationship with this woman.

Or anyone who hurt me in such a destructive way.

But because of our biological tie and emotional connection a part of me was confused and hopeful.

That she and I would grow together in a healthy way.

She never gave me any answers which only showed me that she really hasn’t put much thought into her actions as a mother.

In my pregnancy my past has become VERY CLEAR. There is no hiding the truth. No living in the shadows or in false ideas of hope, happiness or healing.

I think there is a sadness to the loss of them. That I really don’t have a close relationship with my parents and I never will in a healthy way.

That they lose the chance to be a part of my life. And of their grandkid’s life.

Pregnancy has shown me how I could never imagine my own child experiencing horrific acts of treatment.

In therapy today I shared all of this.

I realized how much more clear the path with them has become.

And how much more clear I feel about my choices.

Who gets to go in my tribe and who doesn’t.

I am so impressed with how much I have grown as a woman.

From a dark place of once suicide to a thriving woman making healthy choices, creating healthy relationships and most importantly one with myself.

Cheers to resiliency. May it show us the truth.

Embracing Who You Really Are

https://i0.wp.com/goldenwordsofself.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/embrace-yourself.jpg “Embrace who you are and don’t make any apologies for being yourself.”

Have you ever felt ashamed of who you are? Do you shy away from showing your real self? Are you afraid of what others will think of you, flaws and all? The ultimate battle between who we are and who we think we should be can be a loud voice inside our heads, stopping us from “coming out” with our truth.

However, letting outside beliefs, conditions or people dictate how we live isn’t okay. Neither is living in an emotional prison that may have been built by yourself and others. We create the lives we live. There isn’t anyone else who really has control over our personality, lifestyle or beliefs unless we give them that power.

For years, I felt ashamed of the person I am. I felt like I needed to hide my past from people, to hide the dark truths of my life and also just hide myself. I felt the desire to please people first instead of making myself happy because that is what I believed real friendship and love depended on. If I was everything they wanted me to be then I would have a friend, partner or mentor to be there for me like I was for them.

However, I was rudely awakened. Making everyone else happy and putting my needs last was the worst thing I could have done for myself. Not only did I lose those people in the end but I also lost me. I was so afraid to talk, speak up or share what I was thinking and feeling. I didn’t want to be judged or seen as weak or naive.  I always felt the need to apologize for myself.

What I was actually doing was abusing myself and letting others abuse and take advantage of me. This is not love nor friendship.

You are the one who has the keys to your happiness. You can choose to express yourself in whichever way you want. Don’t live your life dependent on anyone’s beliefs, opinions or thoughts of you. I know it is much easier said than done but once you start embracing who you are, you begin to embrace your real happiness.

You are giving yourself the gift of true respect, authenticity and love. People who love you for you will be there and those that don’t, well that relationship wasn’t right for you anyway.

Way to start embracing who you really are right now:

  1. Live from your heart- Begin to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling throughout the day. Live from your heart and make decisions that won’t compromise your happiness later.
  2. Learn to say “no”- It is okay to say no. You can turn down an invite, or not always be the therapist for your friend to talk to. Put your needs first and if you aren’t fully comfortable there is nothing wrong with just plain saying,  “No” or “Not right now”. People are willing to wait and be patient.
  3. Set boundaries- Yes, we must all set boundaries but for us people-pleasers this can be the most difficult. If someone isn’t respecting your boundaries voice it in the most kind yet assertive way possible. You want to make your point and be clear.

Turn a new leaf today and start living, breathing and being

you.

When Your Family Hurts You & It’s Time to Let Go

“At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.”

Blood is thicker than water or so they say.  All my life I’ve been taught that no matter what happens you will always have your family and to never turn your back on your own blood.

However, what if the people we call “family” end up hurting us more than loving us? Do we hold on and forget our feelings? Or do we let go and realize that sometimes we have to love even our family at a distance?

Recently, my brother who I haven’t spoken to in two years (of his own doing) sent me a series of hateful text messages. Mind you, the last memory I have with him is hugging and wishing him a safe deployment.

Upon his arrival home from Iraq, he dropped off the grid with his wife and isolated himself from me and all of our close cousins. We tried numerous times to contact and connect with him but he was adamant on cutting ties with all of us.  We had no idea why and couldn’t understand what could have possibly happened. So you can imagine when I woke up to hateful text messages two days before my birthday, I was in shock, appalled and hurt.

These messages were filled with hate, anger and curse words calling me every name under the sun and disowning me as a sister. I couldn’t believe he was okay with talking not just to his sister but a woman in such an abusive way. It was a wake up call about the relationship I have and tolerate from my parents and brother.

Through some sleepless nights of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I realized I had to let go and really say goodbye. It’s never an easy decision to close the door between you and your own blood. In the end, I realized the only person who I could change is me and that my family had been only bringing me unhappiness and toxicity.

I couldn’t allow them to drag me into their own dysfunction and abuse again. I had to reclaim my power as a person with feelings and boundaries.

Often times in situations with family, we tend to feel guilty or shame if we decide to cut ties or lessen communication. However, if the relationship is becoming extremely unhealthy, abusive or toxic it is necessary to place some space between you and them for your own well-being. Someone once told me that sometimes you have to teach people how you want to be treated.

If you are in a similar predicament with family or close loved one, here are some tips to help you cope with the loss of saying goodbye:

1. Set boundaries- I have always had trouble expressing my boundaries with my family. I always feel like they never understand my perspective. However through the years I have learned boundaries aren’t for them, they are for me. Whether they choose to listen or respect my concerns is on them, I know I have voiced it. I can then decide how to move forward with the relationship and evaluate whether it is healthy to be in communication or not.

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your family and express them many times if need be. If they aren’t listening or understanding your concerns then you may have to reassess what type of family dynamic is healthy for you.

2. The Funeral- This is an intense and powerful exercise if you are faced with the decision of possibly saying goodbye to your family or cutting all ties.

Write down letters to the family members who have hurt you. Make sure you to do this in a quiet and undisturbed space where you are most clear and at ease. Write from the heart and don’t be afraid to share how you feel. These letters won’t actually be read by those family members.

Imagine that they have passed and you are attending their funeral. What would you want to say to them? After you finish writing your letters, burn them and find a place to hold a memorial or ceremony with their “ashes”.

3. Release Guilt & Blame- If you are feeling guilty about putting space between you and your family, don’t. You are a person with feelings and don’t deserve to be treated less than. Don’t blame yourself or start thinking if you were a certain way or behaved differently perhaps they wouldn’t be the way they are. You are not in the wrong. Whenever anyone treats with you disrespect or abuse, you are never in the wrong. Let go of your guilt and don’t blame yourself for their actions or dysfunction.

Lastly, love yourself and start the journey to heal from the wounds of the past. You deserve it. You are stronger and braver than you know and no one can take away your power unless you give it to them. Trust in your decision to take your space and love your family from a distance. You are giving yourself the best gift of all, true self-love.

How to Prepare for the Unexpected

It’s so easy to make plans in life. We live each day with a certain expectation and routine that we sort of already know what is to come. But what happens when our routine is disrupted by an unexpected event or circumstance?

Being a New Yorker, there are constant unexpected detours and changes throughout the day with commuting and subway issues to apartment problems. Just recently I was away and returned to my apartment flooded due to a frozen pipe that burst. Needless to say I was extremely irritated and annoyed that my entire schedule had to be reworked including where I was going to sleep because they were working on fixing the walls.

I asked those questions every person who experiences a tiny or large disaster asks, “Why me? What did I do Universe? What am I supposed to learn from this?”. Granted everything in my apartment was okay and is going to be okay, it’s just one of those things that made me question what was I doing to attract this energy in my life.

Luckily, friends offered their houses to me and I stayed with a friend for the weekend while repairs were done to my apartment. During my staycation away from home I realized a few things unexpected and unforeseen circumstances can teach us or at least taught me.

1. Take everything in stride

We can’t control everything that happens to us be it a breakup or a natural disaster. When it’s happening our worlds may feel turned upside down but just remember everything happens for a reason. Keep calm and take it in stride meaning don’t allow it to have so much emotional influence on you. Relax and try to see some of the positives.

2. Let go and let ‘God’.

I’m not a particularly religious person but I am spiritual and do believe there is a God-like energy in all of us, that we are all one and co-create with the universe. There is magic in letting go of a particular circumstance and surrendering it to God, Universe, source energy, whatever you want to call it.

Do the best you can with what you have and the rest leave it up to the Universe to orchestrate. There is magic behind every perceived negative event that occurs in our lives even if we don’t see it right away.

3. Ride the wave of change.

I’m an extremely disciplined person and it takes a lot for me to just calm down and relax my mind without thinking of the next step. It’s hard for me to accept change as it comes without thinking I’m being punished for something. When change comes embrace the good and bad feelings that may come. Initially it may all feel like a shock to the system but I’m sure there will positives to every change that arrives. Just ride it and see where it takes you.

4. Have fun & do your best.

Lastly, enjoy the journey. Wherever this is taking you, see it for what it is and do your best. Nothing in life is permanent. Allow yourself the opportunity to be open to where it leads and what new experiences will come from it.

“What can we take on trust in this uncertain life? Happiness, greatness, pride — nothing is secure, nothing keeps.”
~Euripides, Hecuba

New Moon, New Chapter?

  Time is literally flying by this year! We are just 5 weeks away from turning a new leaf and starting the new year! Can you believe it? Speaking of turning a new leaf, the New Moon in Sagittarius just passed November 22nd. I’m not an avid astrology follower but I do believe the planets and moon phases can influence certain behaviors, moods and attitudes. There is a known fact that our bodies are made up of 70% something water so it would make sense when these huge supermoons or blood moons occur that perhaps we too feel an energetic shift.

So what is a new moon anyway and how does this relate to us? The moon is barely visible during the New Moon phase versus when it’s full we can spot it right away. New moons represent a time of trust and setting intention, starting anew or working from a blank page and creating a new chapter in your life. It’s also a time of letting go of the old and embracing what is to come.

New moons are about planting seeds of intentions, sending out prayers/thoughts to the Universe of what you’d like to see manifest, develop or cultivate. Its a period of reflection, learning to trust the dark or void energy, sitting in idle and trusting in the magic of the universe. We live in a time where everything is immediate and fast but sometimes there is a law of delay in which timing is everything. We can’t always get what we want right away but if we learn to just wait a little bit perhaps a better opportunity or experience is arriving.

Are you at a crossroads in your life where it’s time to let go of something old and embrace something new? It’s not too late to draw on this energy and creatively visualize your life in the next 3-6 months.

Even in my own personal experience the last few days I’ve been feeling this massive push to donate so many things and sell items I no longer have a use for but had represented something sentimental to me at one point. There is always something bittersweet in letting go of the old but yet so phenomenally exciting to see what else is out there? What does your blank page look like?  Let go and start a new chapter!

Breaking out of our Comfort Zone & Fears

freedom  Regardless of where we are at in life, there is always an aspect that we are extremely comfortable in whether it’s a relationship, career, location, dietary habits, etc. The reasons behind this may be because we are truly happy with being comfortable, safety, stability or whatever else drives us to be there in that place of comfort.

Is comfort necessarily a bad thing? No. However it is when you are no longer growing, when you remain stagnant in this place, your “comfort zone”.  Some of us grow accustomed to the predictable, the known and unwavering energy that this has provided. So then what happens? What if we are miserable yet comfortable in the misery? This can relate to many things, i.e. career choice/fear of relationships/fear of leaving a relationship, location, health habits, exercise, spiritual choices.

Are we really creatures of habit? Perhaps. I’d like to think we are capable of so much more though. All my life I have been trying to break past that mold of comfort. Lately I have hit a wall in some areas and know that in order for me to step into my true power I must let go of some things, including those I surround myself with. It’s hard to leave that place that served to be a source of something stable or comfort for so long.

I recently read somewhere that behind all of our fears is love. Love is limitless. Now this has nothing to do with romantic love, this is just love for life, love for yourself, for what makes you happy and for those you care about. So if we could somehow channel this love into our lives more I think we could break past the molds we create, the prisons we live in and the burdens we carry all out of comfort.

So what’s it going to be? How has this first month of 2014 treated you? Have you shown up for yourself and your success? What steps are you taking to break out of that comfort zone? We truly are capable of so much more than where we are standing. I’ve manage to channel a lifetime of abuse into a successful career and used it as my motivation to help others.

Perhaps you can also channel your experiences, your place of comfort or discomfort and excel beyond your own expectations. I’m not saying we all need to be like me. I’m only encouraging you to consider your options. Looking at your life right now, what are you comfortable yet uncomfortable with in your life? What can you do today, at this very moment to make changes to break out of that mold?

Every tiny step counts. Whatever we can do to start activating the energy to move is when we begin to grow and to move outside of our comfort zone into the new path for our life. Yes, it can be scary but I swear it’s worth it and never  ever once think it’s too late.