Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Respecting Boundaries

Since starting this recovery journey, I have been dealing face to face with lessons in boundaries. So much so that sometimes just hearing the word “boundaries” can trigger an eye roll – real or imagined. “Oh, not again” I would think to myself. But it is “again” and “again” because I had so few boundaries and there has been so much to learn about the lack of setting my own and honoring others’. Gradually I have begun setting them for myself, and respecting those set by others. It is helping immensely with my growth, and I am so thankful to learn the importance of boundaries in self-care.

One of the most significant aspects to the value of having boundaries is for my own protection. I have seen how overextending my energies is a boundary issue, and how much it is at the core of much of the problems within my family. The lack of them has created enmeshment causing a breakdown in trust and communication resulting in anger, pain, and resentment. I am also seeing the need and appropriateness for boundaries in work and all of my relationships.

I was sharing a breakthrough in this area recently (see Free to Be post) with Debra when she asked me how I maintain healthy boundaries when I am dealing with someone who isn't in a healthy state. I admit, I struggled with answering this because I couldn't recall an example where I experienced this. I have plenty of examples of having set no boundaries and my lack of understanding the need for them. It certainly got me thinking!

I've had a couple weeks to contemplate this, and that is a good thing because the application is at hand. I am facing an issue where my boundaries have been ignored. Well, Sara, welcome to life. This is recovery in practice, not "in theory" or merely studying it. I might as well get used to addressing this. Recovery isn't about achieving some level of problem-free living, but rather about how we handle the problems that we encounter. 

I’m not feeling particularly healthy over how I'm handling this; the ordeal has had its emotional and mental drain on me. I'm tired of processing this, actually. My greatest hope is that I will pass this lesson and in so doing, I receive the desired growth and therein gain some insight. In addition, may I have peace from practicing self-care by respecting my own boundaries. 

One beautiful part of recovery is accepting that we are all on our individual journeys, and that we strive for progress not perfection. I may not be where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be! I've got plenty to learn, but for now, I will accept today's lesson. 

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