A few years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to get into the habit of asking myself the question: “How can I make this easier on myself?” It helped me see when I was piling on too much or making things overly complicated. It helped me pause and think about what I was doing and get myself on a gentler path. My life did, actually, get easier.
As I’m reflecting on the end of 2019, though, I’m thinking back on this resolution and finding a deeper layer in it. I’m learning that when I make things overly complicated for myself, it’s often about saying yes to more things than I have space for. Or about doing things the way someone else wants without asking myself how I feel or what I want or need. It’s about people-pleasing. Sometimes it’s about chasing something—the feeling that I need to add some vague and nebulous more to my life. The question is actually about boundaries.
I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries, lately, too— it’s something that sounds really simple, like, yes, we should all have good boundaries and stand up for them! Duh. But how do we know when we have a boundary? How do we feel it when we bump up against those edges? How do we really know, deep in our bones, that it’s okay for us to have those limits and—god forbid—communicate about them?
Anger is a part of the answer to that question. The function of anger is to let us know when someone is poking at our edges or that we need something from them that we are not getting. But so many of us swallow our anger and walk around with our needs not getting met and our boundaries crashing down all the time. We do this because, on some deep subconscious level, we believe it is safer for us to hold our anger in our throats or our stomachs or that one tweaky shoulder all the time than it is to speak up and say No! or Help! or Get away from me! or Come closer to me! We fear if we let those voices speak, we might lose our people.
So when I ask myself “how I can make this easier?” I’m actually asking where my boundaries are, what my needs are, and how to express them in a way that actually works for me. It stops me before I try to shape myself around whatever I think everyone else wants from me.
So there is a deeper question I’m resolving to ask myself this year: “What if this were enough?” If I really believed that what I have and who I am is okay, that my limitations are okay, and that it’s okay to need whatever it is I need, what would I do? Would I still be saying yes? Maybe I would take on less and cheerfully say no when I really don’t have it to give. Maybe I would be okay with letting people go if they don’t like it when I stand up for myself. Maybe I would stop chasing that nebulous more and start enjoying my life for what it is. I might start to feel like I actually might maybe possibly just maybe be enough. That’s the theory, anyway!
What are you resolving to ask yourself this year?
Original post found here.