Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boundaries (#31 days to Sanctuary day 29)

Thinking about sanctuary generally puts me in a peaceful state of mind.  Seeking sanctuary is working towards that elusive balance where my thoughts and actions move toward rest and healing.

I'm not there right now.

In fact, I threatened earlier to drop the "nice Jenny" attitude and turn on my inner meanness to get things done.

Yes, that attitude is still hiding within.  This is me at a BIRTHDAY party.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

 I'm frustrated, tired of feeling stepped on and disregarded, taken advantage of because I usually remain pretty even-tempered and demand little (those living within my household may tell a different story, however).  As a nurturer, I focus on encouraging and caring for others.  But the disadvantage is that it is hard for me to keep others accountable, maintain my boundaries, and speak my truth.  In the past couple of months, I have been reprimanded at work for things that were not my fault, yet I was unwilling to confront the guilty party or throw someone else under the bus.  I have cleaned up for others, picked up others' dropped commitments, and reassured those who did not follow through on what they had promised.  When I finally decided to address a reoccurring conflict, I ended up apologizing and taking the blame on myself, and unsurprisingly, nothing has changed except for my growing resentment.

Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees, spoke at Hollins last night about how women have been socialized to express their anger in "appropriate" ways.  We either bottle it up, turn it on ourselves, deny it, explode, or apologize for it.  She encourages us all to "speak truth to power", seeing how these social constructs are harmful for all of us.  We can only experience freedom and change when we are willing to speak our truth and own our feelings.

Brene Brown echoed the same message today in an e-course I'm taking, challenging us to "choose discomfort over resentment."  More often than not, I find it easier (not productive or healthy, mind you) to stew in my own resentment than deal with conflict.  As a result, I usually bottle it up until I explode on some unsuspecting person.  It's not pretty, and it's not who I want to be.

In the coming weeks, I will work on my own boundaries, saying "no" when I need to without guilt.  I challenge myself to set reasonable expectations for those I mentor and keep them accountable for reaching them.  I will own my feelings and speak my truth...in love.  I will seek sanctuary, caring for my physical and spiritual needs, and  find peace in articulating what I need and accepting it from a position of worthiness.  Hopefully I won't have to break out the angry face.

How do you manage your own internal and external conflicts?  How will you challenge yourself this week?

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