90-Day A Better Me Series
Part III: Living the Journey
Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives
Day 82: Implementing Healthy Boundaries in Dark Situations
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.”
In Part II, I introduced the topic of “Healthy Boundaries” on Day 53. If you have gone through all 81 days of this series, and done the work, implementing healthy boundaries will feel natural. If you think that there won’t be lessons that come from skipping steps—You’re wrong. We have to start with establishing healthy boundaries in our loving relationships to build our muscle to be able to handle implementing healthy boundaries with people who are stuck in their darkness. We will get lessons in seeing how far we have come with our boundaries. With time, healthy boundaries stick no matter who we are dealing with. I’ve watched time and time again people trying to skip steps and expect the results from someone who did the daily work it takes to emanate self-love into healthy boundaries—I’ve been there and done that. It’s the long road. It doesn’t work, because no matter how healthy the source you are following (psychologist, author, church, guru, life coach, school, etc.) or be mentored by, YOU CAN’T SKIP THE WORK! The work is what makes healthy boundaries possible. Otherwise we come off angry and defensive in our boundaries because they are coming from a place of fear. Healthy boundaries come from love.
Healthy boundaries only can be implemented when we are healthy. We have to be maintaining healthy internal homes. That begins with a healthy relationship with ourselves. Once we have healthy relationships with ourselves, our relationships with our spirituality flourish. Once that happens we begin projecting our purest and strongest light out into the world. Once we do that, we begin learning, growing, and expanding with the people we invite into our lives. Our inner light is what creates our natural healthy boundaries.
Our boundaries are healthy and solid if we are doing the work to maintain our homes. If we don’t keep up with the work, our homes will turn into dilapidated shacks. If we don’t feed and nourish our gardens while pulling out the weeds that threaten our plants, flowers, and trees we won’t have healthy gardens. It’s that simple but as humans we have ways of making it very complicated.
Anytime we try to find the answer in someone else having to change his or her behavior, we are literally watching a weed take over our garden. We can’t MAKE anyone feel or do anything. Each of us has the free will to do what we choose. The power is not in someone else’s hands to make us happy or bring us peace. We have to make that choice for ourselves by maintaining our internal homes and keeping our lights on.
If you are looking for a narcissist, alcoholic, drug addict, sex addict, abuser, sociopath, schizophrenic, etc. to change, STOP HOLDING YOUR BREATH! People will only change if they want to change more than they want to be in their darkness. The same goes for us. The only person you can change and are responsible to change is you. Here’s the blessing of doing this work, you stop handing your mental well-being over to unhealthy people. If a person who is trapped in their own darkness has shown up in your life, they are there for a reason.
The healthier we are the faster we will learn the lesson. One of mine took ten years for me to become aware of, accept, change my perspectives of truth, and then take action. That was my journey. It was in the learning of this lesson that my healthy boundaries started to take hold, but it was still a couple of years before I learned to stop inviting this person into my internal home. He was gone from my life, but I still let him wreak havoc in my internal home every once and while. The time periods would just become shorter and shorter until the point where I can now look back and talk about the whole decade as an AMAZING learning experience that I’m completely grateful for. For me it had to get extremely bad for me to finally see my part in the toxic relationship. Once I saw that, I began to heal. It stop mattering what he did to me, my focus turned to what I did and could do for me in order not to repeat unhealthy patterns of my past or create new ones.
You are building your healthy boundary muscles. You need to trust that if you let a person who is trapped in their darkness into your internal world, you have the opportunity to learn. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip, give in, and let your thoughts about them stir and wreak havoc in your inner world. Trust the process. What can you learn about the obsessive thoughts that are going through your mind? They are your thoughts, so you can change them, but only if you want to. Remember, it’s not about what someone did to you; it’s about what you can do for yourself to make your life better for having learned something from the darkness. The following steps are in no particular order. The more we practice using these tools, the stronger our healthy boundaries become.
10 Essentials to Implementing Healthy Boundaries in Dark Situations
- STAY PRESENT! Someone who is caught in their darkness will be focusing on the past and the future because that is where the stories are. Stay here and now. Only right now matters. You can only make healthy choices when you are in the healthiest of spaces and that is in the present moment. Once your head gets you lost in a story, bring yourself back to now. Take a second feel the life running through your hands. Feel your breath. Look at a focal point. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself back in the present. Otherwise slipping into the darkness becomes much easier.
- THEIR DARKNESS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE YOURS. You don’t have to take on anyone else’s darkness (fear, hate, rage, shame, guilt, vengefulness, etc.). Keep at the front of your mind their darkness is theirs.
- YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF. Nobody can make you feel, think, say, or do anything. You make the choice whether to engage or not to engage, to invite them in or not invite them in, support and encourage their darkness or not encourage their darkness. You can show love and compassion or meet them in their fear—You are responsible for your choice.
- STAY IN YOUR LIGHT! If you support blaming, shaming, and judging you’ve chosen to be apart of their darkness and you don’t have access to healthy boundaries when you are in that space. If you stay in your light, you have a full set of healthy tools. Imagine a light-filled force field surrounding and protecting you. When dark thoughts move through you pray for more loving, compassionate, empathetic, solution-minded thoughts to come to you.
- STAY CALM! A person stuck in their darkness may tempt to engage you in a battle. Imagine them saying those words to themselves in the mirror. This can help calm you into not reacting to their darkness with darkness. Your rage feeds their darkness.
- THIS IS NOT PERSONAL. People acting from a healthy place don’t attack others. If we are being attacked it’s because someone is stuck in a story in his or her head. They may have made us the vandals and/or villains in their story, but whatever the case, if they aren’t communicating in a calm and collected way, they are stuck in a dark story that they have written. You don’t have to take it personally. People are never seeing you through your eyes. They can only look through their eyes. If they are looking through lens darkened by fear. They don’t have the ability to see your light at the moment and for some they may never see your light. You have to have light inside to see light. Like the saying goes—If you spot it, you got it.
- PRAY FOR HELP. If you are struggling to stay in your light when faced with someone else’s darkness—PRAY for the feelings, thoughts, words, and actions to help you stay in your light.
- KEEP FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU STAND FOR! Make sure your energy is focused what you stand for (light/love) not what you are against (darkness/fear). If you stand for love, compassion, joy, and peace then make sure your feelings, thoughts, perspectives of truth, words, and actions are aligned with what you stand for.
- BE TRUE TO YOU. If you need to remove yourself, DO IT! Go take some deep breaths, go pump yourself up with some positive self-talk, come back centered, and/or walk away if you are in your light, trust that you are making the best choices for you in the moment.
- TRUST WHERE YOU ARE IN THIS MOMENT. If you tell yourself you shouldn’t be here, you aren’t going to learn the lesson from the experience. It may be a absolutely brutal experience, but it is meant to be a part of your journey because you are in it here and now. Be open to learn from the moment you are having by facing someone else’s darkness. If you fight the reality of what is happening, you are succumbing to your own darkness. You are stuck in fear. If you enter into your darkness while someone is stuck in his or hers, you are feeding the darkness and giving it strength and power to spread. If you can trust the purpose of this moment, you are feeding your light. Your force field becomes stronger.
The side effect of using these tools is the miracles that come with them. The energy we project and attract makes space for AMAZING things when our energy stays focused on the light within us. Our connections and intuition strengthen and we see the world and the people in it through a completely different lens. If you are connecting to this material, you are on an light-filled path. Trust the journey.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2019
Today’s Letter from A Better Me: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 82 – Implementing My Healthy Boundaries in Dark Situations