Like most everyone I have ever met, I always strive to do the best I can given any situation. Some days my best is downright impressive and other days… well… not so much. When faced with confrontation it can be tough to stand your ground and draw a line in the sand where you need your boundaries to be. It takes a lot years of life to learn where the line needs to be drawn. It takes a lot of courage to hold steady when faced with someone who refuses to see or respect that line in the sand.
All of us at one time or another have to defend our personal boundaries.
And in my experience, most people only need to be told once, kindly and they are happy to respect the boundary you have set. Then you get the occasional person who has no regard for you; the sort that isn’t likely to respect a boundary no matter how kindly and firmly you set it.
I dislike confrontation. (Well, who doesn’t?) I always try my best to be fair with people. I do my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. After all, we all have bad days when our best is not so shiny. And then there’s that one person who consistently shows absolutely no courtesy or respect no matter what I do. (I’m sure you’ve met a person like that.) After several attempts at firm and kind boundary setting, nothing gets through to them. And the brick wall comes out. It has to. And no matter how much part of you might be shaking inside, you hold that brick wall firm and strong. And a person like that doesn’t like it. Nope, they don’t like it at all. So you hold that wall steady while they tell you all about how much they don’t like it. And finally, they leave.
And after they leave, the inner critic starts up. It needles you to doubt yourself. And you relive every encounter that led up to when you put your foot down. And you still come up with the same conclusion. “I was right to stand up for myself.” In spite of that, at 3:00am it needles you some more…
There will always be people that behave badly.
They drain the life out of the people around them. And you know, at 3:00am when I’m over thinking it all, I have to remember that I’m letting my energy continue to drain out to them. It’s important to have healthy boundaries. And it’s important that we each look after ourselves. So at 3:00 am today I made a choice that I wasn’t going to give any more of myself away to the person who was so disrespectful to me. I looked at my husband, sleeping soundly next to me and I let my mind travel through all the many beautiful moments when he has shown me through his actions how much he loves and appreciates me. I found myself filling up with so much love that there simply wasn’t room for any of the negativity that had been there. And then I thought about my many regular customers who come into my store and share great conversations with me; they make me smile, and laugh. I thought about the customers who show up with a cup of Chai for me, out of the blue; just because they wanted to do something nice for me. They appreciate the service I provide. I found myself feeling deeply grateful. I breathed a long heartfelt sigh and sleep pulled me into a lovely dream.
There are very few people who are ever horrible to me. When someone is, it’s alarming how disruptive it is. But I am determined to really pay attention to the things and the circumstances when people’s actions bring me down. I figure if I can be really aware of those moments when something or someone has brought up disturbing feelings, then in that moment of awareness I can make a choice. I can deal with whatever the situation is and then I can choose to focus on thoughts that fill me with good feelings;
I can choose to fill myself up with love, joy and gratitude.
Because nothing silences the inner critic like love joy and gratitude!
And speaking of gratitude, this weekend is Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to being surrounded by family and taking the time to savour the love we share for each other… and while I’m at it I’ll savour some great food too!