Boundaries. A contemporary word expressed often in today's world. What is a boundary? Look no further: A boundary is an invisible line you draw around yourself to identify what is acceptable behavior, and what is unacceptable behavior. This can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, moral, sexual, or financial limit a person determines in order to live a more healthy, meaningful life aligned with core beliefs.
I feel like it is concurrently tossed around the mental health and recovery field a lot. I read, "psychological limits define personal dignity." I learned this to be accurate. What I allow in my life is an outward expression of my inner attitude toward myself. If I value and practice self-care, self-awareness, self-love and self-appreciation most likely healthy boundaries are already established.
For me, earlier in recovery, I was learning to love myself again while determining what my own boundaries were. IT WAS HARD. And sometimes remains a challenge. Practicing saying 'No' and maintaining self-care is difficult! I want to do it all until I am burned out, overwhelmed, and over-stimulated. Sound familiar?
Today, that looks like me telling Eric, "I am done. Tapped out. Ya'll can handle it." That was me last night. We came home from football practice. I cooked dinner and removed myself from the kitchen. I needed a moment to myself without kids, cleaning, activities and so on. And guess what? Eric cleaned the kitchen and handled the kids; I had a few minutes to eat my dinner on the couch looking through football videos that I had taken at practice. I share this because I took a moment for myself WITHOUT feeling GUILTY. I usually always clean the kitchen after every meal and honestly, I enjoy taking care of my household besides folding clothes! (I never understood why someone would pay to have their laundry done. Now, with five people in my household...I do!) Whatever works for you and yours. What is important for you and yours is to practice self-care (boundaries) and help out when needed.
How does this all relate to my last post and the reconciliations I made?
(I am back writing my experience while at The Foundry)
I reconciled with an old friend Maverick. The last time I spoke to Maverick I was in jail asking him to bond me out. I knew immediately if Maverick was going to be a part of my life or us remain friends...boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!!! Maverick supported my recovery and encouraged me to keep moving forward in life. He wanted to see me happy and healthy. Maverick, in the past, always tried to over-step my boundaries. Like a little kid, he made many attempts to "get his way" but rarely succeeded. During this time, I needed money and he wanted to see me. I cared for Maverick, but I did take advantage of the fact that I knew he would help me financially when I was in need. Maverick was aware I was not speaking to my daddy and Eric was never of any help while I was away in treatment. So, he always asked me if I needed anything. At first, I always felt guilty, but I soon learned that it was a part of his love language. Obviously, I was aware there was definitely motivation behind the nice gesture. But at the end of the day, with a lot of time passed, the realization that he truly cared about my well-being and loved me for who I was then and the genuine happiness he has for me now is notable.
From August to December, I worked on myself and what I wanted in my life. There were many opinions on what my NEXT "needed" to be after leaving The Foundry. My mama wanted me to stay in Alabama. My daddy advised to stay in Birmingham. I prayed so much about the situation. For the first time in my life, I truly released all my fears and cares to Jesus. I attended a bible study on Sunday evenings where a small group of older ladies came to share God and invest in us ladies. I instantly clicked with an older lady named Betty Claire. She was a sweet, spunky, in her 90s, who did not walk or talk like she was of that age. She was pure. She wrote me letters of encouragement, prayed with me, talked to me about anything, listened to my struggles, and had become my friend. I adored her. She dressed 'to the nines' and had a southern accent. She gave me great advice about boundaries and what a Godly marriage should be like. She prayed for my family, for Eric and me, and for God's will to be done. And she was very clear on boundaries and not staying in an unhealthy relationship/marriage but ALWAYS remained true to scripture. I keep her letters in my bible today.
There was amends, reconciliations, boundaries and counseling. Now what? A Christmas pass home, and unexpectant text message on Eric's phone, navigating through the choppy waters of...are we doing this or not.