How did I build better boundaries?

I wish I had a simple answer. I don’t.

For most of life’s big issues, there are simple answers that provide a glimpse of the truth. And, then, there are long answers that reveal the truth.

I built better boundaries by getting to know myself, figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do. I built better boundaries by growing up. That’s the simple answer.

What’s the long answer? How did I figure out who I was and what I wanted to do? How did I grow up?

A counselor helped me, friends helped me and ultimately I helped myself by asking some difficult questions, by looking at how I had been shaped by my past and thinking about who I was and who I wanted to become. It wasn’t easy, and it took me a long time to build better boundaries.

I remember how, after my divorce, I started back to school. I needed a master’s degree so that I could support my children. It was essential. I also wanted to be a perfect mother who volunteered often at my children’s school. I had to make conscious decisions about how I was going to spend my time. Often I had to say “no,” and it was very difficult for me to say “no.”

These are some of the questions that I had to ask myself.

Who am I? What are my goals? What are my priorities for today—for this month—for this year?

What do I think? What makes me unique? How am I like other people? How am I different?

Am I taking care of myself? It took me a long time to realize that I had to take care of myself so that I could take good care of my children.

Does what I am doing give me a sense of satisfaction? Does it make me happier? Why? Or, why not? Do I need to make a difficult choice even though I know that my decision will not make me happier for the short term?

–Fayteen

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