The world is full of people who allow others to take advantage of them…to treat them poorly…to beat them down. Some go through their entire lives never finding the space to create a different way of experiencing the world. Others find the strength to step out of that space and create an entirely different reality for themselves.
The challenge is…how do you go from being beat down to becoming a strong, vibrant, confident individual? It’s not easy. What usually happens is we get really angry and we find ourselves completely fed up. We swear no one will ever treat us that way again and we set out to prove it.
People claim this new space as their own…they let everyone know they are not taking crap from anyone ever again. They define what they do as setting healthy boundaries but healthy boundaries do not come from a space of anger or being tired of being taken advantage of. This is something entirely different.
A few years ago, I went to lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. She was really special to me. She’d been through a lot and had a history of others not treating her well. She had developed a chronic illness in the process and was now working to deal with that and find a balance in her life. She had made the way-too-common declaration that she now had healthy boundaries and was on a journey to prove it.
Our conversation felt awkward and forced. I asked a question on a topic I knew she was quite familiar with in hopes of gaining some new knowledge but it was as if she had lumped me in with all those others who had called her ideals crazy in the past. She was defensive and never did share her knowledge. I was hurt and disappointed because I really wanted her insight.
We also chatted briefly about something we had in common but had slightly different views around. Her responses were confusing and overwhelming. It was like she thought I was attacking her and her beliefs. I didn’t understand because I wasn’t and we’d never had that kind of relationship before so why now? I wasn’t judging her in any way, just as I’d never judged her before…but she couldn’t see that.
And then it hit me. She was asserting herself but her signals were crossed. She wasn’t going to risk any space being unsafe and she was going to make sure her points were heard and that nobody questioned where she was coming from – no matter who was sitting in front of her. It was all coming from a lifetime of hurt….of anger….of fear…and ego.
I loved her and was not there to do anything but love her and she couldn’t see that.
You see, it all becomes shadowed when we come from hurt or anger. We can’t see the light in our lives and doubt everyone who crosses our path and might feel differently than we do. In this situation, our relationship never fully recovered and that saddens me greatly.
In Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks moves into someone’s house and begins to try out all their stuff. Things are too small and then too big and then just right. Things are too cold and then too hot and then just right. You get the picture. Personal growth is kind of like that. We start in a space of pain and, over time, tire of that pain and want something different. We dive in and try different techniques…different ways of being – some healthy and some not so healthy. Ideally, we find the sweet spot. That space between being hurt and being angry. That space where we find inner peace within out heart to go forth and enjoy life and own our right to take up space on this earth. We approach life with grace and ease and attract others who see this side of us and treat us with respect and kindness.
This is the space true healing occurs. It’s simply a process of finding our way here. Like a pendulum swinging, we go through extremes and eventually settle into truly being a strong, confident, vibrant individual.
This is the sweet spot. Have you found yours?