This week I had the fortunate/unfortunate realization that I’m too nice. Not in the classic sense. Most people don’t think of me as “nice” – the kind, friendly, syrupy kind of nice, mostly because I’m sarcastic and mouthy and fun. But in the sense that I let people take too much of me. I give too much. Freely. Mostly because I’ve been afraid to set boundaries in my life.
Well, watch out world, those days are over. Earlier this week I got pissed at the actions of two people in my life, and then made the somewhat painful realization that they were only taking what I was willing to give them. At no point in either situation did I stop and say, “Hold on there, cowboy!” and draw a line in the sand. That’s when I realized that I have been far too nice. And nice isn’t always good. At least not for ourselves. It’s great for those around us who willingly take whatever is on offer.
Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not criticizing people for taking what I’ve readily offered. Nope. Not at all. Why wouldn’t they? It’s been freely given. But at the expense of my psyche and my feelings and my self respect and that needs to stop. Now.
So the moment I realized that I probably haven’t set a decent boundary in the 46 years I’ve been on this earth, I agreed with myself that I am starting to set them. Immediately. Post haste.
And that’s when the little thing called ANXIETY set in. Anxiety in massive proportions.
Now let me just tell you that I am not typically someone who struggles with anxiety. At all. Until the point in my life a few moments ago that I decided to set a boundary or two (or twenty).
Strong anxiety. Debilitating anxiety. Struggling to get through my day anxiety. Trying not to get weepy at my desk or in my car anxiety. Some serious shit.
Because all my life I’ve been making others happy and now I’ve decided to make myself happy. Why the hell should that be causing such angst?
A) Because it’s brand spanking new to me and B) because people might get pissed at me.
In fact, they might get so pissed that they might walk right out of my life. Or at least that’s what the anxiety is saying. In all likelihood, most people probably aren’t going to notice much of a change in me. And if they do, they’ll regroup and adjust.
But the scared little kid in me is afraid of being left alone and is throwing a temper tantrum of massive proportions. Begging and pleading and foot stomping for things to stay as they were.
That, my friends, is not going to happen. I am going to forge ahead and set these goddamn boundaries no matter what. No matter how uncomfortable, no matter who stays and who goes, no matter how much screaming and crying that little child does in the grocery store. Because I need to take care of me.
So I will forge those new ways of doing things, create those new neural connections, and life will continue.
And hopefully the scared kid will get comfortable and will agree to step into adulthood, or at least calm the fuck down.
Either way, watch out world! The new me is on the horizon!