Being raised by two Polish Immigrants who were devout Catholics and had no concept of “self” or “boundaries” I was hard pressed as a young adult to create either of those for myself. My parents were kind, gentle people whose lives had been ripped apart by loss and struggle, as was the story for so many others in the 40’s. Despite that, they were loving and good people.
That’s what I knew then and what I know now, more than a dozen years after they’ve been gone.
My memories of relationships came mostly from my mother. As a second child, the baby – that came 11 years later , we spent a lot of time alone together. She would have been a Number Two if she ever took the Enneagram. She was a Helper, for sure. She had lived through the horrors of occupied Poland in World War II as a young child. For my Mom, freedom, family, food and a roof over her head was complete satisfaction. I know this is also where I get my sense of low or zero expectations. She was happy to just be anywhere. Gratitude for that gift never leaves me, as I look around at the world. But there is always the duality that comes with a gift and that is the inability to care about what I want. To know what I want. I focus on the treasure of the gift instead and the ancestral power behind it.
Mom was the one everyone came to, she was The Helper. She offered a shoulder mostly, a hug and a kind heart. She made everyone feel safe and heard, with a home baked treat, a cup of tea and her time. I was lucky to grow up with this woman. To watch her and see the impact she had on people. As I began my journey of Self Discovery and I reflected back, I could not ever remember my Mom reaching out to someone else for help in her moments of need. On a day when the memories were too much to bear………she prayed.
This realization was an Aha moment for me for sure. I was taught indirectly, that you give, you don’t ask for help. Being open to accepting was not something she did well or gracefully. She didn’t realize that she was teaching me that boundaries did not exist if you were a “good person.” This was not something she did intentionally, I think this was really what she believed. Granted, most women are givers and most struggle with receiving, but for me, it felt a little more intrinsic to the problems I continually found myself up against in my relationships as an adult. Mine translated into a complete lack of boundaries, like her. Instead , you said you were sorry a lot and you did and became what the people in your life needed you to be. End of story. I felt like a chameleon and I don’t like lizards. Boundaries felt like an electric fence for a dog. They were painful and shocking .
It was regardless of what you got in return or how it felt in your soul. You ignored all those feelings of right and wrong, good and bad. At times, you put aside morals and life long beliefs. I have been in personal and professional relationships that were bad for me and hurtful. I have silenced myself and my needs for the sake of others. I always did so very willingly and with all my heart, but love was not always present in these decisions, so I blame no one here for these experiences, but in doing so I lost a little more of myself each time and it was with the pure intention to make someone else happy so they would accept and/or love me. .
When life circumstances brought me to my knees, I realized I didn’t know how to accept help or how to say no to something that didn’t feel like it served me. Boundaries will never be something that come easy for me, although I never thought a lot of things that now are an integral part of my life, so I suppose one never knows. The electric dog fence has morphed into a field of wildflowers. It feels safe and good. It feels right.
As a spiritual being having a human experience, I know now, that taking care of myself is as important as giving of myself. There is a reason we are taught to put our air mask on first on a plane that is in crisis before we serve others.
It took me 56 years to figure this out and a life altering loss.
I think if my Mom were still here she would be all on board with me, she would learn right along with me.
Creating a boundary in a relationship is the single most powerful tool as you begin your journey.
It is the first step onto the Yellow Brick Road. It can be so hard to do – for me, it was the most difficult thing I have had to learn, so far….
The ego takes over and you feel like you might be disappointing others or that they won’t think of you in the same way. They will tell a different story about you.
What I know now, is that when you close your eyes, and you go into your heart space and see what your true intentions are… if they are pure and filled with love and a boundary is required for the self-preservation of your soul, you are doing the right thing.
We are not here, in this body , with this soul, to have others accept us. What others think of us has no bearing on our souls journey in this human experience.
We are here to love and accept ourselves.
In doing so – those that belong in our life will be drawn to us – not away from us.
Anyone or anything that lowers your vibration, that provides you with a sense of having to protect yourself, requires a boundary.
I have also learned that boundaries change.
People and their souls change and evolve. That’s what we are here for.
Nothing is forever. All we have is this moment.
In this moment, always choose love and if in doing so, you need to grow some wildflowers – then do that – your Higher Self will thank you.