The way things unfold and are presented as lessons fascinates me – it’s magical. You never know when lessons are coming, who or what they’re coming through, or what they will look like. As long as we’re present and open to guidance, lessons appear in the most unexpected places. I had an experience last week that I will share more about later. For now, I’ll just say that a horse named Dreamer taught me more about myself and my boundaries, or lack of boundaries, in fifteen minutes than I had realized my whole life.
A boundary is something that indicates bounds or limits; a limiting or bounding line. So, I looked at boundaries as being about the other person not crossing that line instead of me being responsible for holding it. Don’t tell me I’m the only one, please.
Sure, I knew that having boundaries would serve me, but I always thought the other person was responsible for changing their behavior so my boundary would work. Seriously? This was not a conscious belief. It came from years of being a people pleaser and running from conflict. I do not like confrontation. I am much better at addressing what I need to, but I still don’t like it.
Realizing that I had expectations of others changing because I set a boundary was profound for me. Memory after memory of me waiting for others to change came flooding in. I could see so many times that when I did set a boundary and it wasn’t respected that I would back off the boundary or drop it all together. This led to much frustration and anger.
We teach people how to treat us.
Yep, let me say that again, we teach people how to treat us. In my case, I did that and then blamed them for treating me badly. By not having strong boundaries I did not value myself. I was telling others that I would adapt to whatever was best for them. That left little energy for me to cultivate the life I dreamed of.
I have a new understanding about boundaries thanks to Dreamer; another layer of knowing. There is a part of me that can’t believe I didn’t realize that boundaries are for me and not about others. There are many layers of understanding and when we are ready, another layer is peeled back so we can experience a deeper knowing.
Growing and expanding means being open to peeling back the layers that keep us from the best version of ourselves. Knowing that version changes as we expand can keep us from getting stuck in what we think we should have known. Be gentle with yourself. Know that you didn’t know what you didn’t know. Now that you do know, practice!
When we change the world changes.
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