My feelings and needs are more important to me than your feelings and needs. Does that sound radical? If so, then we need to talk about boundaries. How can we be strong if we do not honor our own feelings and needs? There is no strength in stepping over ourselves to please others. Strength is saying I love myself enough to put myself first. Above everyone, even (gasp!) my children.
In my weakness, I have sourced my value outside of myself. I have looked to my partner, my children, my (false!) identity in the world and any other reflection or projection I could create to tell me who I am. In that process, I was available to all the reactions of everyone around me – approving or disapproving, and I rode the roller coaster of worthy/unworthy until it appeared that no matter how hard I tried, I would never be good enough.
I still struggle, I still get sucked in by narcissists and I still sometimes doubt my truth, but I am starting to understand what strength is. I notice when I do something in order to please someone, or get their approval or try to make them think well of me, that it leaves me feeling yucky.
When we think about boundaries, it instantly refers to boundaries concerning our relationship with others. but we can also exercise boundaries in relationship to our inner selves. When the inner bully starts beating on the inner child, we can say “Leave her alone!” When our inner saboteur continues to question our inspirations, we can shine the light on that and put the saboteur in her place. Treating ourselves with respect and kindness is the first law of boundaries. Once we know how to treat ourselves well, we will be much more aware when we are getting worked over in our other relationships.
In Kundalini Yoga, there is a very simple breathing mantra that goes “sat” on the in breath, “nam” on the out breath. There are many translations for these 2 simple words, but the one I like says “Truth is who I am, Truth is my identity”. When the mind starts ping-ponging around with insecurities and worries and stories that cause anxiety, I love to bring down the gates of the 9 of wands and stop everything. Inhale “Sat”, Exhale “Nam”. That’s all there is. I’ve created boundaries within myself.
My feelings are more important to me than your feelings. Sorry. Go ahead and cry about it. Cry all you want. Throw things, break things, call me names and blame me for your unhappiness. My feelings are still more important than your feelings.