Monday, May 13, 2013

A-Ha Moment

I've been thinking more about the heart vs. head decisions. Is it better to choose from the heart, abandoning the head completely? Or is it better to choose from the head, abandoning the heart? I'm sure ideally the best decisions will be made with a mixture of both.

I had a significant light bulb moment today. As I was pondering my recent decision, that I forced more of my head to make because I was scared that my heart would get carried away, I realized that my "head" decisions are made up of boundaries. Imagine that.

I have struggled my entire life to set boundaries and stick to them. I've always allowed anything and everything to happen in my relationships, not believing I deserved to take care of myself. I didn't believe that asking for what I needed was acceptable. Therapists have encouraged me to use boundaries, but I've fought against it tooth and nail. Not because I wanted to, but because it's so foreign to me and change is difficult.

So today I realized that not only did I recognize what I need in a relationship, what I can and can't accept, things that are vital and things I can look past, but I voiced it. Not only did I voice it, I stood firm. The entire time, my heart was pulling me back, telling me that I love, I long, I miss, I wish, etc. These matters of the heart/mind are rarely simple. I was faced with the choice of abandoning what is vital to me in a relationship, or choosing a better way. Yes, my heart is still wrapped up in my previous relationship, but knowing that I looked past my fear for once and set boundaries to take care of myself, well, I feel entirely empowered.

I didn't even realize what I was doing at the time. All I knew is that living with those specific needs not being met didn't bring peace. Once I recognized what I can/can't live with, I verbalized it. Once I verbalized it, I felt strong. Once I felt strong, I started wondering what the hell?!? because I generally don't feel strong. That's when I realized that I had set a boundary and stuck to it, which equals taking care of myself.

Even though I forced the head to win out, that absolutely does NOT mean that my heart wasn't involved. My heart is continually in this and will be for a long time to come. I don't love lightly; I love deeply and passionately, and with purpose. I can't ignore that part of me, although at times it would be much easier if I could. I also don't take lightly the hurt I've caused having to make these decisions. My heart isn't the only one involved and I am daily reminded that I wasn't able to take care of another's heart the proper way. I pray for healing, peace and comfort for both of us, because we both deserve it.

Today I am proud of myself for taking care of me. I'm guessing it's because I finally recognized that I'm worth it. I'm struggling against feeling selfish, but taking care of myself is not selfish. This is a lesson that I never believed I would learn. This is something to be grateful for, and I am.


yeti said...

I'm not very good at boundaries. I can understand that feeling. I read a book. I like these quotes:
"The real meaning of boundaries is the insistence that I will not be violated by your selfishness."
"Being a person with strong and wise boundaries does not make you selfish. It is refusing to let others have boundaries that makes you selfish."

still, I am not very good at boundaries.

all the best,

Juniper said...

Yay! Congratulations, Kelly, on your a-ha moment! Very important moment for many of us. I rather distinctly remember a similar one of mine as well. It is a genuinely life-changing moment to truly get that you matter too, and that you are your first and foremost primary caretaker. That caring for yourself too is love, not selfishness or self-absorption.

I love Yeti’s quotes. So true they are.

I have another quote along similar lines from a very cool lesbian minister who had her own arduous journey with learning to establish boundaries and care for herself. (She has a blog at livingwellministries. It’s at dot net rather than dot com.)

“Far from being selfish or counter-productive, a lifestyle of ‘self’ care can cultivate capacity for right relations, humility and excellence. [It can help us live] sustained lives of generosity, transformation and discernment. Time management becomes an expression of peace, wisdom and trust when we dare to place our schedules in service to our discerned and blessed values.” -- Rev. Jacki Belile

Kudos to you on your new-found wisdom!