…boundaries and saying yes to my whole self.
One evening several weeks ago an iron fell off a shelf in my closet and clocked me pretty smartly on the head.
It fell because I had reached up to move clothes hangers to one side and the cord from the iron got caught in the hangers.
I was moving the hangers aside because I thought the wall behind the clothes would make a great place to hide a vision board I’d created.
You see, earlier that evening my mother called to ask if she could come for a visit…the next day. She said she was fed up and needed to get away from her life/husband/small town.
After a moment of shock, I said, “Sure, come on down!”
Once it sunk in, I realized that so much of my life now (and the ideas I have embraced and the things I have in my home) are…different…since she was last in my home (more than 10 years ago).
The defensive, fearful part of me was asking, “How much do I let her see? Do I hide certain things, like, say, the book I wrote about difficult mothers, even though I know she knows about it? Or the vision board which has a copy of the cover of the book on it and is prominently displayed in my office?”
After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided the only thing I would hide is the vision board.
Thus I was moving the clothes aside in my closet to make room for it.
She called the next morning to say she wasn’t coming (which I suspected might happen). My guess is that after a few drinks she was feeling feisty and wanted to “run away from home” (her words), but the next morning the prospect of driving six hours in thunderstorms dissuaded her.
It wasn’t until I told a friend this story that I got the message (with thanks to the iron that bonked me on the head as I was figuring out a way to hide a part of who I am):
I must not hide who I am.
I cannot hide who I am!
I WILL NOT HIDE WHO I AM!
Not even from the woman who seems to question every aspect of who I am in what I perceive to be a critical, judgmental tone and who, to this day, uses this tone to tell me about people she doesn’t like (and in many cases those people and I have similar values and personalities).
This includes my work. It includes things in my home that she might think are silly/stupid/pathetic…things that she has criticized in the past and things that I have felt the need to protect, hide, and defend.
I realized that I can’t be truly honest, or live with true integrity if I am hiding any aspect of myself with the belief that doing so somehow protects me…or her.
And this is where truly healthy boundaries come in: If/when she comes for a visit, and if/when she behaves the way I expect she might, I can respond from a place of respect and kindness, for both of us: “If you’re truly curious about ____, I’ll be happy to share more about it with you. If you think it’s silly/stupid/pathetic, it’s not something I want to talk about.”
Simple. Not always easy. But totally worth it.
I have nothing to protect. I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to defend. I have nothing to prove. I am free. ~ Lisa Nichols
Much, much love,
P.S. My head was fine, other than a bit of a bruise and a small lump.