Draw a circle and stand in the center. Step outside of it and your foot will burn. Stay present in this moment. That is your task.
It’s a difficult task, especially with demands pulling me in every which way – as a caregiver, a CEO running my own business, a partner planning a wedding, and a soon-to-be-published writer with another book in the works.
Setting boundaries and staying firm to them is a difficult, daunting, draining task. As much as I pushed back these last two weeks, I found myself on a downward spiral, one that left me feeling broken, a melted pile that didn’t want to get out of bed for more than a full day.
This place, though, is one I’ve faced before. It’s one I have conquered many times, and I know I’ll get through it again. But in times of change, in times of transition, in times of lots-on-my-plate, it’s a difficult place to be.
I’ve pushed back these last two weeks in business relationships, in family relationships, in friendships, decisively putting a stake in the ground, stating that what may have worked before no longer works, and what I may have said was OK really isn’t OK – take it or leave it. I’m in a place of defining my own boundaries, and it’s scary because I always want people to like me, and liking me has always meant accepting me. But in reality, it really meant me bending to the will of others.
But that repeated giving in only leaves me feeling hollow, empty, burnt. Saying no means I have more say in my own life, that I’m standing by values – wonder, integrity, playfulness – and what is integrity if we don’t ask to be treated as we truly want to be treated. Relationships are not one-sided, and in allowing them to be, in not speaking up, we always do ourselves a disservice.
So what if the other person has to be left uncomfortable for some time. So what if it’s taken as a slight? It’s a bigger slight if I step outside of the circle because I’m the one who will have to live with the burn.