When my VIP’S whirlwind begins, I’ve learned I need to step away. No, I have not always done this because I was raised to be useful. Useful for me, was synonymous with worthy, but useful and worthy are NOT synonyms it turns out.
It’s been no easy feat to step away. Other people’s vortex’s pull at me. When I’m mindful of it happening now, I know to step further away. Getting out of a tornadoes path is just smart survival instinct.
Staying in the ‘away’ spot is equally important. I’ve learned that my unasked for, and that is the key here, unasked for helpfulness can create a complacent dependency in my VIP’s and resentfulness in me. Neither are desirable as behaviors or feelings, in anyone. Stepping away actually creates the ease I want in my life. It’s a step in to how I want to feel.
If you are not yet sure how you want to feel, check out the spirit expanding work of Danielle Laporte.
Example. My husband got a job away from where we live that would bring him home on weekends. My old self would have ‘helpfully’ stepped in and found him accommodation without him asking for help. Now, I choose to see him as capable of finding his own accommodation in his own way and in his own time. He will figure it out. He’s a smart capable man. I don’t need to butt-in and fix everything and create stress for myself and perhaps for him. I used to do that, but now I step away.
Learning to step out of codependency isn’t easy but with clarity regarding boundaries it becomes easier. In this case my boundary is simple and respectful. “I see others as able and responsible. I trust them to look after their own affairs. I will help, within reason, when I am asked or when there is ‘real’ not just sensed emergency.”
When I write and say this boundary I know it is true and accurate for me. It makes me feel both free and at ease. I see this freedom as a deep inhalation for both of us as it allows our relationship to expand.
I remember when I first heard about boundaries, not really all that long ago, I started to look for a book of them. A tangible lot of them that I could/should adopt. It’s not that easy. Boundaries are personal. It wasn’t until I stopped reacting in stressful home and work situations and put my attention on how I was really feeling that I could finally identify where I needed a boundary. Sometimes, feeling nothing was also a symptom of my needing a boundary because I was able to say that I wasn’t feeling the way I wanted to feel.
Step 1. Figure out how you want to feel.
Step 2. Pay attention to how you feel in a stressful situation.
Step three was more complicated and took courage I didn’t know I had. I had to begin speaking my emotional truth succinctly in those situations, to those people. I was worried I’d hurt them. I don’t think I did because my words were about me. “I feel frustrated when I have to work things out twice with you and that’s not how I want to feel. I want to feel the ease of making the decision and I don’t want it taken away.”
And then, sometime after that, after saying the words more than once, the boundary comes somewhat intuitively.
“I will not rehash good decisions when circumstances have not changed. The time, intuition and wisdom that went into making it was all that was required of me.” And with those words, that knowing, I get to sustain the ease that I want to feel. With this one, I’ve found that my certainty becomes a meme that soothes those who find decision making difficult. Again, it’s a win-win.
Once I own my boundary, it’s mine. I don’t have to waffle, or stress or renew it. I find that the security I once craved is inside me rather than outside of myself. So boundaries? They are not tough or mean or irritating. Rather they are the pearl that forms after an irritation. Be patient, collect them, string them together, and wear them proudly.