Day 51 of 100 Days of Grief and Hope
"Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn't make me mean, selfish, or uncaring because I don't do things your way. I care about me too."
I'm not feeling very well tonight so I'm expecting this blog to be short. It seems the nights of not sleeping have caught up with my immune system.
Tonight's chapter is about setting boundaries. I have always always always struggled with this. I am a people pleaser. I want people to be happy and a lot of times I do that in expense of my own happiness. I feel like if it makes someone else happy I should do it. But going through this has really taught me to set boundaries which is hard to do when you're exhausted.
I can say that at first I didn't set boundaries. I didn't say no. I didn't do what was best for me and my family. I did what I thought was expected of me. I still remember one day going to return a vacuum to a friend and she wanted to take me to lunch. I felt terrible and I really didn't want to leave my house beyond giving her this vacuum but I didn't want to disappoint her. So I went and it was incredibly hard. I made it through the lunch but pretty much the whole time I was uncomfortable and wanted to be in my own home. Not out socializing. I love my friend for trying to cheer me up but at the time it was too soon. It was too hard.
I think not setting my boundaries of what I was okay with really helped kind of push me over the edge into that deep depression. Or that my boundaries weren't being adhered to. But I didn't have it in me to push back and I really was just trying to make everything work. I really felt like I was holding all the porcelain plates and trying to balance it all but when I kept getting pushed I couldn't hold them anymore and everything fell apart.
After digging my way out of that depression though, I found strength. I'm not sure where it came from. I started stating what I needed and I stopped saying yes to everything. I started putting my needs in front of others. I started telling others what I needed. And it was amazing. There wasn't chaos in my life, with my emotions. I wasn't trying to balance the plates anymore. I simply put them down and walked away.
I still remember where it just finally clicked. I was preparing myself to start up piano lessons again and I looked at my list of students and I told Nick, "I can't do this." And Nick said, then don't. It was at that point that I decided to drop some of my students. It was incredibly hard because I loved all of my students and I didn't want to offend their parents. I also didn't want to be the reason they stopped doing piano. But I knew what I needed and it was to stop the craziness of piano with so many students. I needed time with my own family. I needed time to continue healing.
The strange thing is that ever since I did that, it's easier to state what I need. It's easier for me to say no. It's easier for me to know that it's okay to say no. People won't hate you and people understand as long as you are up front with what you need.
I've often felt selfish while doing this, but the tornado of emotions that come with saying yes when I want to say no has shown me that this isn't selfish. This is self preservation at this time of my life. My emotions are chaotic from losing Hope and then adding into it the guilt and pressure I put on myself to be what everyone else needs me to be is crippling. But when I stand up for myself and say "no, I'm sorry, it's not something I can do," That tornado goes away. I'm able to focus on the things that are really important.
I'm still learning how to set my boundaries but I feel like with all the time I'm being introspective it's helped me to realize what I am and am not capable of at this time.