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Archive for the ‘boundaries’ Category

When it’s Time to Revisit Boundaries

What’s a Few Boundaries Between Friends?

Everyone has a variety of behaviors they learn to accept from others. Some you feel good about, others you tolerate. Then there are the ones that make you grit your teeth, or even start avoiding certain people.

By the time I reach that avoidance stage, I’m learning I’ve allowed myself to ignore my own discomfort for too long, and need to make some changes. That doesn’t mean dumping friends because, despite the cringe worthy stuff, there are a lot of things I love about the ones I have now. Instead, it means I need to look at the places and times I’m interacting with them, and maybe give myself some space in certain cases.

What I mean is, I need to recognize what circumstances cause them to behave in ways that make me uncomfortable. It could be an activity, or certain people who come into the mix, or even a place. Whatever is causing me to feel cranky is my problem and my job to find a solution I can live with.

Changing Myself Has Altered What I Can Accept From Others

Over the years, as I’ve worked on myself and initiated some much-needed changes, there have been times when I had to take a good, hard look at my associations. I’d like to think I’m making better choices these days, and attracting people who are more in alignment with the person I’ve become. The major purges that left me alone and to my own devices for awhile are no longer necessary. I’ve learned nowadays it often comes down to taking control of my own responses, and reminding myself why I connected with the people in my life in the first place.

Many of those associations…no, let’s put the right word on it. Many of those friendships began through a mutual love of dancing. Though finding a place to gather and share our love was challenging for awhile, it forced us to look at other options and lately, I often have to choose between 2 or 3 amazing options knowing I’ll spend time with at least some of the friends I’ve made, whichever one I choose. (of course, choosing to stay home and veg on the sofa with the cats is always an option, but doesn’t offer the community connection I’ve learned I truly need).

Fortunately, the nights I do choose to stay home are never because I feel the need to avoid someone. There was a time, far in the past now, when that wasn’t the case. I guess you could say the people in my life now, though admittedly wild and crazy in their own way, are far more civilized than many I associated with in what I fondly refer to as “my broken years”.

Getting to the Root of My Anger

I spent many years angry all the time; at myself, at other people, at my job, at my https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nchoices—you name it, and I found something about it that pissed me off. I was so mired in my own misery, I couldn’t begin to identify the source. That skill didn’t come until I broke into a million tiny pieces and had to figure out how to put myself back together, but better this time.

It’s a funny thing about shattering; you never find all the pieces, and frankly, some of them aren’t worth finding anyway. You have to learn to sort the useful from the harmful and be willing to toss out pieces which might go either way. Someone once said to me “when in doubt, throw it out”. Of course he was referring to what was, at the time, a mountain of clutter in my home and office, but I’ve learned it applies to pieces of ourselves too. There are so many things we carry around simply because it’s become habit. They serve no purpose, and all too often, hold us back from accomplishing what we’re both capable of and meant to do.

Once again, I’ve meandered quite a ways from the original topic, but as usual, there is a point. Truly.

Shattering is Often the First Step in Recognizing the Need for Boundaries

created with CanvaShattering so I could rebuild was actually the first step I took in learning how much I needed to set boundaries. The first one I had to set was with myself. I had to let go of the anger and misery and actually face all my bottled up feelings. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty sight when I first started unpacking all of those desiccated, moldy old feelings. Some had been there since childhood and would have been pretty rancid had they not at least partially fossilized. In some ways, I’d have been better off if they hadn’t as it’s been much harder to get past the hard outer shell so I could deal with the soft, gooey parts inside.

Learning to feel anything after a lifetime of wrapping it all in a tight, dubiously impervious ball is not for the weak of heart. If I thought I’d been through hard times before, the process of not only shattering the casings on my feelings, but actually revisiting them one by one, and exposing myself to the lessons they carried was one I truly would not have chosen had it not been utterly necessary.

The truth is, I didn’t enjoy being cranky and miserable. It took awhile to realize it, but I didn’t like being all alone either. I had to learn to “people” on my own terms (this is where the boundaries began to come in), and discover I didn’t hate people as much as I wanted to believe. I learned I’d spent decades attracting people who were, in their own way, a lot like me; sad, lonely, angry, and bitter.

Bitterness Wrapped in Anger is an Unpalatable Appetizer

Only when I admitted to myself that the bitterness was encased in those pent-up feelings did I realize I would attract kinder, happier, more compassionate ones when I found those qualities in myself; albeit buried far beneath my crusty surface.

In the process, I learned we all have baggage, and we don’t have to spend our lives hiding it from the world. Granted, we don’t have to run it up a flag pole and wave it in all our naked glory for the entire world. Once again, we establish boundaries. In this case, it’s more about who we attract with what we reveal.

Those who are put off, or made uncomfortable will avert their eyes. That’s as it should be. Those who can relate, or feel compassion will interact insofar as they are willing or able. Some may approach and get angry, not because we’ve said something offensive, but because we’ve nicked a wound they’re not ready to re-open. They’ll shut the door (another form of boundary) and lock it if they want to continue hiding that wound, or leave themselves an option to re-open it when they’re ready and able.

Seeing New Changes Coming From My Discomfort

It’s made me realize that the behaviors which are currently making me feel uncomfortable have to do with wounds I am not yet ready to re-open, clean out, and cauterize. I have to sit on them for awhile, dealing with others that aren’t quite so painful or raw. The time to re-open those which are currently making me pull back and practice a drastically mellowed hermit behavior will come in time.

The truth is, the discomfort right now means I’ll be re-opening them sooner rather than later. Otherwise, like those I make uncomfortable with my forthrightness, I’d have slammed and locked the door instead of looking more deeply into myself to try to understand my reactions.

Can you relate? Are you finding that certain people in your family or community are suddenly doing things that annoy you? Irritate you? Even piss you off? Try taking a step back and looking at what part of you their actions are bothering. You might be surprised by what you find! If you’re like me, you’ll poke at some of those feelings for awhile before allowing yourself to open them up, deal with them, and ultimately, let them go.

Gratitude Makes Revisiting Old Feelings a More Pleasant Trip

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the insight I gain from my friends.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about kindness and compassion.
  3. I’m grateful for the shattering I underwent. It might have been painful, but it was also healing, and uplifting.
  4. I’m grateful for healthy friendships which make me try to be a better person.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, inspiration, love, friendship, supportiveness, compassion, kindness, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Evolution: The Person, The Blog

A Time to Restore Order

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction (or lack thereof) of this blog lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that in some ways, it’s time to return to the original, underlying premise when I began writing publicly and believe that is truly where my heart is.

What this means is in the coming weeks, I’ll return to my focus on personal challenges, growth, positivity and inspiration. The topics may not be Google search-worthy, but the truth is, I love sharing what I’ve learned (even the painful parts) and inspiring others, if only by assuring them they’re not alone.

I’ve also learned that inspiration is a two-way street. The people I inspire invariably inspire me as well. You could say we create a mutual inspiration society, and my most heartfelt desire is that the inspiration and supportiveness continue to spread. We’re all in this together, folks, and not one of us is getting out alive!

Knowing Which Trees to Shake

One of the best ways to get past a traumatic event is to talk about it, but it’s not always that simple. Upbringing, societal standards and embarrassment are exacerbated by our very real fear of being judged. As open as I’ve been here, there are things even I am not ready to discuss openly; things I’ve experienced, choices I’ve made which would rain too much havoc on my head to broach right now. And that’s a choice in and of itself.

We all make choices every day and one we choose most often, I believe, is to hold our tongues. Just as we wouldn’t come out and bluntly tell a friend “You look fat in that dress”, there are many times when things are better left unsaid. It might be to spare someone’s feelings or simply to avoid someone’s hot buttons to prevent unnecessary arguments. Either way, as adults we have learned to be tactful and not just blurt out whatever comes into our heads (there are, of course, exceptions to this and the results of their absence of tact is the basis for some rather interesting drama).

The most obvious topics are religion and politics. I’ve learned through some painful experiences to be extremely cautious about the first. People can be quite dogmatic about their beliefs and contrary to my own viewpoint, think what they believe is the one, true way. Rather than screaming “Bullshit!” in their faces, I’ve learned to bite down very hard on my tongue, smile and walk away. Such people will never, ever admit that we all have a right to our own beliefs and that ours is just as valid and meaningful as theirs. What astonishes me most is that some religious circles still hold fast to, and continue to propagate such an egocentric concept. But it explains a lot about the continued existence of religious persecution.

Politics, on the other hand, is such an unholy conglomeration of social, moral, religious agitation-inducing nonsense fueled by a desire to distract everyone from the real problems…the elephant in the room, if you will that to attempt to debate any of the issues is, to me, about as satisfying as trying to find the end of a tightly wound ball of string without the slightest opportunity for a successful outcome.

Taking the High Road and Keeping the Peace

So for now, I will continue to share the inspirational and the painful, the cheering and the sobering while carefully avoiding anything which would give way to heated, emotion-based discussions where nobody wins.

As always, I’m grateful to those of you who continue to visit and even, on occasion, share your own thoughts and experiences. Without you, I might have stopped writing this blog years ago. But here I am, 7 years later, still writing somewhat regularly, and it’s all because of you.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful to be regaining my focus.
  2. I am grateful for friends, old and new.
  3. I am grateful for lessons I’ve learned, lessons I struggle with and lessons yet to arrive.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities the Universe gives me to help others. They’re beginning to appear in unexpected ways, and make me glad I asked.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, sharing, caring, kindness, compassion, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

September 3, 2014 Time flies when you’re having fun.

Are you kidding me? It’s September already???

As I sit down to write tonight, I am stunned to find that we’re nearly 3/4 of the way through this year! Where did the time go? What do I even have to show for it? Now, I could go on one of those negative rampages and elaborate on what I have NOT done this year, but what good would that do? It might show me how much I have to do to catch up, but other than that, it would only bring me down. Instead, I really have to do what I always do, and focus on what I have accomplished so far this year. (and yes, my friends, it is list time!)

1. I have created, maintained and followed a To Do list all year.
2. I have completed the first draft of my book.
3. I have completed the first edit of my book.
4. I have cleared an amazing amount of clutter, including old records dating back as far as 1992!
5. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone on many occasions.
6. I have started developing a social life which does not involve my daughter.
7. I have succeeded in conquering the bureaucratic nightmare some would pin on the Affordable Care Act, but which is really perpetuated by the insurance companies who don’t want to get on board (in my case, Blue Shield) and have worked with the Department of Health Insurance to help make the system better.
8. I have ensured that my main man, Dylan, will not succumb to hyperthyroidism related maladies by taking him for treatment. As of the three month blood tests, he is completely cured!
9. I continue to build my virtual tool box by learning new lessons and reinforcing old ones.
10. I have moved my blog to WordPress in preparation for launching my website.
11. I have become much more consistent with my blog postings.
12. I have started a copywriting course.
13. I have maintained my accounting business, albeit on a smaller scale than I’d originally planned, though I trust that this has been for a very good reason.
14. I have adopted two new kittens after losing one cat who we knew was very ill, and one who surprised us.
15. I continue to exercise my right to set boundaries and have them respected.

This is hardly a complete list, but for me, it represents a lot of progress in a few, short months. That is not to say that I don’t have periods where I’m a complete hermit, sit around and read all day, and let some of the good habits I’ve formed slide for a bit. But by the time I reach the place where I need to be a hermit, believe me, I’ve earned it!

Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries now and then.

We all get worn down, and if we’re smart, we recognize it and do something about it. It really doesn’t matter what works for you; whether it’s just being alone to read and veg, like me, or it’s working in the garden, or doing volunteer work…it just has to be what recharges you! Too often, we run ourselves into the ground, at which point, it is a much longer way back to our normal, energetic selves. Learning to recognize when we need to check out for a bit of recharging is, I realize, a tough lesson when you’re trying to hold down a job, raise kids, pay the bills and do all of the things these endeavors require. But even taking an evening when you put the kids to bed and settle down for a bubble bath, a read and a glass of wine instead of your usual laundry, dishes and paperwork is enough to give you the recharge you need. Maybe it won’t fill you all the way back up, but it will sure prevent you from draining yourself completely.

When my girls were young, my recharging system was a night of dancing, and I took a lot of doses of that particular tonic until they got to high school. At that point, I had to drive them to practices and meetings and a multitude of other activities, and allowed myself to be shortchanged. What a huge mistake that was, as I got more cranky and more depressed as the days went on! It took long term administration of Vitamin Dance before I started resembling my former self. But in the process, I made some new friends, learned a lot of new dances, went on a couple of cruises, and even started doing things outside of dancing.

These days, my life is a lot simpler, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get overwhelmed and drained. Instead of running kids to activities, I’ve added 2 1/2 hour drives to see my daughter. Of course, I spend three or four days with her when I go, but it’s still shlepping. (and of course, I love our visits and getting to see all of my grand furries!). But in addition to a couple of nights a week of dancing, I get out for afternoons at the beach, concerts and Shakespeare in the park, and am becoming more open to trying new and different things.

The end result is exactly what I’d hoped for, and that is to be energized by all of the new, while making the old seem less old hat and more just a comfortable resting place before dashing off to something new again.

Life is all about balance.

The more balance we achieve in our lives, the easier it is to recover when we get one of the inevitable curve balls; the easier it is to take the lesson and leave the pain behind. But better still, the easier it is to expect good things, and to get them, more and more!

Every day, I get more proof that Joy and Happiness brings Joy and Happiness, while worry, fear, gloom, sadness…bring more of the same. This, in particular, took awhile for me to figure out because, as my kids will tell you, I’m the original Worry Wart. I had to work hard to train myself to believe that everything would work out perfectly…if only I’d get out of the way and let it!

It’s sort of like the nights like tonight when I sit down to write a post, thinking I have nothing in my head to say, and suddenly, I find myself where I am right now, with a post of over 1,000 words, and realize that I need to find an end point, before I put my readers to sleep!

Let me just urge you to allow yourself time to recharge your batteries, and to say to yourself, whenever you feel fear or worry taking over “Everything is going to work out perfectly. I just need to get out of the way and allow the perfect to happen!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for how everything in my life works out perfectly.
2. I am grateful for all I have accomplished this year.
3. I am grateful that my daughter got us tickets for Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy for this weekend!
4. I am grateful for the friendships I have been blessed with this year, and look forward to seeing them grow stronger.
5. I am grateful for the health of my cats, and for learning to recognize things before they become serious issues.
6. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, joy, friendship, success, harmony, peace, kindness, love and prosperity.

Namaste

September 2, 2014 Love those recurring lessons

Face challenge, learn lesson, move on. Repeat as necessary.

From time to time, the Universe “encourages” me to repeat a lesson when I don’t show evidence of having taken that lesson into my soul. Often, the repeated lessons come courtesy of someone else, and frequently, it is by example.

Today, I was presented with three previous lessons in one. The first, trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt, until they give you reason to do otherwise. The second: trust your instincts even when you can’t find concrete proof that you’re right. And the third, and maybe most important as I recently allowed myself to forget it: Don’t get involved in other peoples’ battles, especially if you don’t know both sides of the issue well, and have a right to make a judgement. Even then, Stay the hell out of the middle!

Several months ago, I was forced to set some pretty drastic boundaries for the sake of myself and my immediate family. Thankfully, those boundaries seemed to have done the trick…until today. I received a comment that seemed benign at first, but there was something vaguely familiar and disturbing about the second part…but I gave the poster the benefit of the doubt as I was unable to find evidence of the previous experience.

On the one hand, I feel I did the right thing by giving the benefit of the doubt, but as the dialogue continued, it became clear that my first instinct was not to be ignored. Clearly, some people’s lives are very narrow, and, I don’t know, maybe loneliness causes them to take up the sword for other people, even those they barely know. I am often inspired by people who face challenges in their lives I can’t even imagine, yet are able to rise above them and actually do the world some good. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not able to rise above our own pain and misery (and in all honesty, I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could, if faced with the challenges some of these people face), and seek some kind of outlet.

For some, the outlet is to just crawl into ourselves and close the world off entirely. For others, it might be to act as an advocate for others. But some just use it as an excuse to start fights and breed hate wherever they go. If they can’t find a cause of their own, they’ll adopt someone else’s, in fact, anyone else’s. I could go all goody-goody here and say that I give them tons of compassion and send them love and light, but the fact is, when their target is me or mine, the best I can do is to refuse their invitation.

There comes a time when the best thing to do is build a better boundary.

I may not have learned everything perfectly, and I certainly still let myself get sucked into someone else’s drama on occasion (but I’m working on that!). The one thing I have learned, though, is that when someone finds it necessary to repeatedly attack with no valid reason for doing so, and in spite of previously established boundaries, it is simply an indication that I need to re-establish my boundaries with a bit more strength.

One who engages the irrational is also likely to try to teach a pig to sing…with much the same results.

It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of lessons, but I’ve finally learned that yelling back (literally or figuratively) at someone who isn’t rational never ends well for either side. While I can’t do anything about the choices others make, I can choose not to lower myself to the level of a mindless robot who goes on the offensive just because someone told them to. What I can do is to try to learn from their actions as I’m going on about my business.

I’ve heard it said that if you find someone else’s behavior offensive, it’s because it is a mirror into something you need to work on in yourself. So I am grateful for these reminders, and truly do take them to heart. Every time I have an experience which raises unpleasant feelings within myself, I know it’s time to do some soul searching. Everyone truly is put into our lives for a reason, even if it is only to show us where we need to make improvements in ourselves.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for those people who remind me of flaws I have not finished fixing.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to show that I have actually learned and retained some of my lessons.
3. I am grateful that I feel no need to try to make others miserable when the better choice is to make myself and others happy.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to be a better me.
5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, opportunities, kindness, health, happiness, joy, beauty, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

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