I’ve been saying “no” a lot recently. “No” out of fear of becoming overwhelmed. “No” out of fear of being taken advantage of. “No,” because I want to set clear boundaries from the start.
Boundaries aren’t a bad thing, but they limit us.
When we’re trying to figure it out, sometimes we set boundaries when we don’t need to.
Fear is a story we tell ourselves about the future. Those stories are rarely correct. They’re fictional inner narratives.
If 2019 was about setting boundaries, 2020 is about releasing them. Sometimes we need to go through extremes to find the balance. I hope to find my Goldilocks spot of boundary-setting.
I’m ready to share more yeses.
Year of Yes
I thought I’d been inspired when I read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes a year and a half ago. Sometimes it takes time for lessons to sink in. Sometimes we write things down and forget about them.
If you’re a writer on Medium who writes about their life, I encourage you to read some of your older stories, even if you read them and think they’re shit.
(Many of mine read like they’re shit, or maybe I’m too hard on myself.)
Even when we know what we need to do, we need to be in the right mind-set.
Even when we know what we need to do, we need to take action
Saying we want it, even if we believe we do, isn’t enough.
— Me, in my post about Year of Yes. Old patterns returned. It takes patience, dedication and consistency to change habits.
I also shared this:
I need to work on having uncomfortable conversations. I need to stop running away from conflict. When I stand up for my beliefs, good things happen. I need to stop assuming I’m wrong. I need to assert myself as I tell others to do.
The first thing that occurred to me when I reread this today: My imposter syndrome is mostly gone. I’ve stopped assuming I’m wrong. I’ve gotten better at asserting myself and communicating disagreement. I’m finding the balance between disagreeing with others and trusting in their ideas.
I still tend to run from conflict and uncomfortable conversations. We’re all a work in progress.
In a recent newsletter, a writer whose work I follow shared some life questions and situations that might have seemed new to him but weren’t. I know they weren’t because they’ve been common themes in his work for years.
We get stuck in our patterns. We forget to change. Maybe we find comfort in what’s “bad” for us. There’s comfort in remaining still.
It takes time to form a habit and time to break one. Lessons can take years, lifetimes even to learn.
Boundary setting, misguided
I realized this week that in my determination to set boundaries, I’ve limited myself. I’m possibly using boundary-setting as an excuse, a way to mask fear.
A few days ago, I was asked, “What are you prepared to do to have the freedom to create your desire — to live it, to be it?”
I thought about it for a moment and tuned into my inner guidance. I answered that I am willing to be open to any and all opportunities instead of judging them. I predicted that by being open, I’ll find myself in the right circumstance and said that “even the ‘wrong’ one will result in the good one.”
Sometimes I overthink. Maybe you do too. Although I can be impulsive in speech, I often think of all the reasons not to do something and talk myself out of it.
I recall negative situations that are imprinted on me and decide that I don’t want anything similar happening again. I know that some good came out of those. I understand that every situation is different. I know that I can’t predict the future. I often use the analogy of touching a hot stove to communicate aversions. A child puts their hand on a hot stove, burns themself, and never does it again. However, we need to allow ourselves to get close to the stove.
This is one of the quirks of human design and one of the ways we’re hypocrites. We don’t want to repeat mistakes, and yet we do it all the time. If we burn our hand, we don’t stop cooking forever. When we burn ourselves again, we’ll put some healing balm on it, slap on a bandage, and heal as we’ve done before. That’s how we’re built. We step up and take control of our lives.
Humans don’t permanently break or melt. We are resilient. And yet, we (or at least, I) remember the bad times with such power that it can be debilitating. I remember the job I had that sent me back into depression, sobbing on my morning dog walks before work. It took a year for me to clear that trauma. It’s quite likely that you’ve had a similar experience.
The adverse situations help us grow and sometimes they’re what we need. We can’t give up. We can’t let those situations lead to more Nos than Yeses.
“No” keeps us from living life to its fullest.
“No” keeps us stuck and small.
Everything is temporary, good or bad.
“What are you prepared to do to have the freedom to create your desire?”
I commit to saying ‘Yes’ more.”, I declared.
Fear won’t hold me back.
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