One of the most important aspects of my spiritual journey is the other people in my life. They are the family and friends I surround myself with on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, those are the dear ones which enrich my life tremendously, and together we enhance the journey for one another. I cherish the times I get to spend with these special people. Equally important are the ones that I have difficulty with. Those friends and family which remind me of the areas I am still working on, the friends and family I find myself challenged by interacting with. I have found for myself, many of those relationships in the past were unbalanced, and my lack of personal boundaries allowed for people in my life who were not for my highest and best, and when I began to set clear, healthy boundaries, many relationships began to shift. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong for so many years with many of my friendships falling apart, and ending in disaster. I felt responsible and it hurt, badly. I couldn't see what I was doing wrong. I began to ask about it in prayer, and in person with others. It took some time, and a number of helpful assistants, seen and unseen to reveal that the problem was all about me, but not in the way I was thinking. Instead of being nicer, I needed to have stronger boundaries. Instead of doing more for others, I needed to be sure my friendships were in balance, and that we were both getting needs met by the time we spend together, not just one of us. In short, I knew I could do better at the friendship thing, I just didn't know how, and defining my boundaries has allowed me to do just that. For me this is friendship 101, love yourself, set healthy boundaries, to take care of yourself, thereby loving one another. Don't expect yourself to do more for someone else than you would ask for in return. If someone needs you, and the relationship is in balance, of course you are of assistance. Of course you help a friend or family member out. If someone is in need all the time, that is a different story, they may have strong needs, but it is not something our friendship can meet the needs for. In order to love them, I have to release them to their own evolution. To assist them may just be propping them up, and prolonging the agony and the inevitable journey they are due to go on for their own personal growth. We can actually hurt others, when we are "helping others"... can you say co-dependence anyone? So, defining my own boundaries has allowed me to be a more balanced person, a better partner to my husband, a better mother to my grown kids, a better daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, facilitator, whatever. All my roles and relationships were affected by the lack of boundaries on my part. Now I am able to enjoy a richness of relationship which is unparalleled in my life previously. Each relationship gets richer and deeper as time goes on. I have freed myself of time wasting relationships with people and groups, no matter how well meaning I was or they were, if they are out of balance, they are out of my immediate sphere. Oddly, they are not missed, and the rewards are great. We all have difficulities in our lives. We are here to learn and grow. I have found the more work I do, the bigger the rewards. So, love yourself, love one another, love freely and love often.
What have been your biggest lessons in relationships? Who are you currently trying to work on a relationship with, and coming up empty? I would love to hear what you have to say about this or any other topic of interest in your life, or on your path. This is how "we" do this, together. Right now, I feel like a voice in the void. Bouncing around out there. I know some of you will find me, and together we will all be better for the insights and growth we share!