My Peeps

I have been enjoying reading so many blogs this month and wishing I could put my words to paper as eloquently as those I have been reading.

Mostly I have been inspired by a blog I read by dreamphemera about relationships.  My chin was on the table at how precisely I felt she had put all of my confusion into a deeper, clearer perspective.   I gained the most in recognizing who and what I want from my own friendships and what I do not want to have to agree to anymore.

As a child I was taught to include everyone in my life, my sacred space of me, or God will be disappointed.  This,  I believe was an expanded truth from my mother, sunday school teachers, etc. of the Golden Rule- which I have now revisited.  To treat another as I would chose to be treated is a truth for me that reflects my desire to treat myself the way I want to be treated and to be an example of that for others.  If I am unthoughtful of my time, energy and needs- so too will others be. 

Being a healer, counselor and all around loving person I have forced myself in many moments to feel guilty over NOT wanting to be someone's friend.  I have learned that if I give my time away to everyone who wants it, I do not have time to give to those I want to give it to- including myself.  The greatest challenge in these situations, and they do occur regularly, is that a voice inside of me likes to tell me how "mean it is to tell someone no" when they are asking for my friendship.

I have decided I cannot or will not give out my friendship like bread crumbs to all the hungry birds- for it leaves me starving for myself.  I can however offer kindness, compassion and when appropriate, my time, IF it feels good to me to do so.

I find that I have been lacking in this skill.  Recently a "friend" called me for advice.  This is a friend I have only heard from a few times in the last year and always it was for advice (free counseling) over the phone.  She has been to see me as a client and student but decided it was more to her advantage to be friends with me.  I agree that for her it was a prime choice to make.  But for me, I found myself feeling used and not speaking up about it.  Why?

Why did I not say to her, "sounds like you need to make an apt. with me"?  Me, who preaches this lesson to all of my students, why did I fail myself?

The answer, I discovered, was because I had allowed the lines between us to blur.  I allowed the boundaries of our relationship to become undefined. I had catered to her desire for the friendship while I knew in my heart it was a one way street.  I did this because I felt guilty about not wanting a relationship with her, because I was worried about what she would say to others if I told her how I really felt.  I was afraid of being judged and condemned.  Damn!  and I thought I was beyond that.  Think again...

My intuition had quietly been telling me the truth all along- "She isn't honoring your time because you aren't asking her to. She doesn't really want a friendship, she wants a mother, a caretaker, a giver."

I had to stop, admit the truth and apologize to myself and then be willing to move forward.  I decided to hold a clear boundary in place for a future and current relationships.
Being a teacher, mentor and counselor I offer much love and connection on a daily basis to my students and client's but I am learning this time and love does not have to go beyond our agreed upon relationship. 

In getting clear about what I need, I must now get clear on how I support myself in acting from this place. How I can say "no thank you" to those who want more with kindness and directness?  How can I stand firmly in what I know and feel good about it?  These are the questions I am asking myself now.

My new self care standard requires me to evaluate if the friendship is 1) something I truly desire and 2) will offer me as much as I am offering it.  If I cannot fully say YES to both of these statements I WILL NOT permit myself to agree to the relationship. I will kindly decline the invitation for lunch, or to "get together" outside of work.  I will not explain myself or allow myself to feel guilty about it any longer. 


To remember as dreamphemera put it: "I know that I teach people how to treat me – so, I’ve decided to be a better teacher. And, I’ve come to realize that just because someone wants a relationship with me, it doesn’t mean I am obligated to return the sentiment – I can be compassionate, and be discerning. They are not mutually exclusive."

Comments

  1. Amen!! I second every word you (and dreamphemera) wrote. I have finally allowed myself to ask "what's in it for me?" without feeling guilty or selfish. Looking (realistically) at what is asked of me or offered to me in the "friendship", if it really is friendship.

    It feels really good and empowering and self nurturing, and most importantly it feels like me honoring myself.

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  2. I think that when you are in any kind of a teaching/counseling role for others, it is even more important to recognize this -- those lines get blurred so easily when people are working with you, and getting deep into their own emotional junk (especially for women, who relate to one another through their emotions, anyway).
    Self interest is not selfishness. How can I show others about healthy boundaries if I don't have them myself?
    It felt really good to write that post (and it was a long time coming) -- glad it resonated with you :) (and QnD)

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  3. I'm glad I read this today. I've questioned if I was not letting you into my life in a deeper way because I don't egage with you too much outside of class, and it seemed others did. I've commented to others that I hold you as a teacher/mentor/counselor/healer for me, and that I don't want to intrude on your personal time. I respect your time as a healer and teacher, and I respect your time as a person with a full life outside of her work. So reading this I feel better about how I have interacted with you outside of the classroom. I love you deeply, I believe you know that, and I intuitively knew and wanted to respect a boundary with you.

    The other piece of your posting that resonates with me is choosing who I have in my life as a friend and when to let go of it if it doesn't feel good to me. I recently made a decision to distance myself from someone who I should have done this with long ago. I thought the energy would change over time and tried my best to address it directly on numerous occasions, but I also realize I let so many things slide by over time thinking I was misinterpreting the energy. I didn't trust myself. Then when I made the decision to let this person go, I worried I would be viewed by you and others as unloving and uncaring. But I'm loving myself more than ever, so I need to let those worries go as well.

    Thank you Martina. You are a gift in my life.

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