Boundaries: You Are (Not) Responsible

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that you aren’t responsible for the happiness of your partner, spouse, family or friends. They are responsible for their own happiness. So phew, you can stop juggling that ball!

The bad news is the exact opposite of that; your happiness is your responsibility, no one else’s. In case I walked in on you blaming your parents, friends or the world for your problems. I know I know, life’s tough and so unfair! Tell me about it!

To break that down, you’re the one that has to create the boundaries in your life to not take on other peoples issues and problems. But that also means you also can’t blame anyone else and remember that your happiness falls on your shoulders. It’s one of those damn two way streets…

These two things sound simple in theory, but I’ve been surprised by how hard it is to put it into practise. This year has been a lot of learning how to for me.

You and I are different people and I don’t know your story. Maybe you have healthy relationships with every one in your life and you’re the King or Queen of boundaries. Though with all the angry, broken and selfish hearts roaming the streets, you and I included, I doubt that very much.

My story is that I spent years carrying people because I’m a rescuer. Growing up I wanted to make everyone happy and couldn’t stand to see the ones I love upset or hurt.  I’d run circles mentally and emotionally trying to fix everyone and everything. Angry at myself when I couldn’t, as if somehow I was lacking. The truth is that I was just a kid taking on responsibility that wasn’t mine to bear, and that no one has asked me to.

There’s compassion and empathy which is in our human nature. However, without clear boundaries  it can quickly turn into unhealthy rescuing. Pair that up with being a people pleaser (which is more or less most people, in varying degrees) and you have a very burdened person who is always fretting for someone else. Fretting for someone that has a mind, heart and the free will to make decisions for their lives. It’s interesting how often I forget this.

We all have within us the capacity to choose. Some people make good choices, others not so good. Whether you are making the bad decisions or watching someone else do it, look after you and do your life well. That’s the best thing you can do. You’re a better asset to the world and your future that way, not to mention your present life.

I’ve made some good decisions and some bad ones too, and they bought me here, to this very place in my life where I am totally humbled and deeply happy. I’m looking after me and making decisions that I hope will inspire others, but I can’t make them for anyone else. You are always being watched, remember that. Be an example to those who look up to you even if you never see who those people are.

When I was in a relationship, making my boyfriend happy stressed me out. I saw it as my job, my role to be his constant provider of joy. It was hard work for one reason: I was taking his whole life into my hands and buckling under the pressure, when I didn’t need to. He never asked me to. I just thought that’s how it went; that from day one it was my job to make him happy.

Obviously it came from a place of love and because I wanted to make this person happy, but that’s not what relationships are for! Romantic, friendship or family based; it doesn’t matter. Human relationships are to share, come alongside, support, uplift, love, bounce off and have fun with each other. To enjoy life together! They are a source of happiness, of course, but I believe that’s ones own responsibility. Not the people that they do life with.

I want to fix, please and encourage. I can absolutely encourage, but I will only die trying to do the other two. I will never fix anyone or please everyone.

Do your life well and empower others to do their lives well, but don’t do try to do it for them. Your happiness is on your shoulders and you have everything it takes to tackle the daily curve balls of life.

They are responsible for them and you are responsible for you.

Does any of this strike a chord with you? Have you experienced the burden of making someone else happy, or have you blamed other people? 


My Happiness Remedies

I am pretty good at wallowing in my own pity, WOE IS ME style. It’s in my top 5 list of talents. After doing it consistently for months on end, I can conclude that it isn’t working. I know, what a shock Micaela, you genius! So in the past week I’ve made a little ‘go to’ list of things that distract me and pick-me-up when I’ve got the blues. It’s short but oh-so-sweet, and punches my self-pity in the face!

1. Running. As you may know, I’ve taken up running again in an effort to bring some discipline (and a hot body) into my life. I had a ‘sad day’ last week and after my run, nothing had changed except for the endorphins running through my body. But thankfully, they changed everything. Endorphins are my friend.

2. Skyping home. For you, this may be just calling a friend or meeting up with someone. But sometimes there are those special people who know what to say. They know you and love you. I always feel loved and appreciated (and so thankful) after skyping my friends and family in New Zealand. So if I’m feeling lonely, I’ll text and find someone who’s free and wants to chat. I haven’t been so great with this in the past.

3. Watching Modern Family online. Seriously, instant laughs. May not be your jam, but any light hearted sitcom that has major LOL factor will do. Takes your mind off your life for 30 minutes and who doesn’t love laughing?!

So there’s my little list. For you this could be very different. But I encourage you to also have a couple of things like this in your life, especially if you’re going through a particularly difficult time.

We can’t always change everything we aren’t happy about, but we can change how we deal with it. Say no to moping.

Chin up buttercup, because this too shall pass. One day.

What would be on YOUR list? Do you have any suggestions for mine? Leave a comment.

Image credit

Happiness Is

Happiness is standing on a random island in Scotland, grinning stupidly to yourself.

Happiness is glancing back at your past for perspective, looking down to where you are for orientation, and looking forward to where you’re going for vision. All with hope in your heart.

Happiness happens when you push yourself forward to where you didn’t think you could go.

Happiness is found in friends who are there for you on the bad days when you’re not very fun company.

Happiness is laughing aloud about something funny that happened, even when no one else is around.

Happiness is knowing that you can’t do it all alone, but you can do a lot alone.

Happiness is knowing it isn’t you, it’s Him in you.

Happiness is laughing at your own misfortune, because it’s really not that bad.

Happiness is when you don’t need anyone else to bring you happiness.

Happiness is found in yourself first.

This is what happiness has looked like to me recently. How about you? What does your happiness look like? Are you happy? Leave a comment!

Confession: I can’t fix myself & I don’t know everything

I like to think I’m pretty emotionally stable. I process my emotions, I don’t run away (I try not to anyway) and I cry a lot.  I’ve even been known to call myself a ‘self-analysing pro’ because I can come up with a reason for every single one of my behaviours. I’ve got my sh*t sorted right?

Wrong. Turns out I am somewhat of an ’emotional perfectionist’ (self-diagnosed, of course. See previous paragraph!). No but seriously, I like to be so in control of my feelings and know exactly why I do everything that I don’t let things happen organically.

This is my greatest blessing and my greatest curse, because while I’m very emotionally ‘in-touch’ (are you loving all this psycho-babble?) I also over-think to the point of insanity and exhaustion.

When I talk to my friends I like to sound like I’ve got it all together. Then in the dark of the night I break down, because emotions and grief work on their own schedule that you can’t really control. Turns out being human has some painful disruptions, and I don’t have my sh*t sorted at all. 

So I told my over-active mind to go on holiday and called in a professional.

Yes, I’ve started seeing a counsellor; someone who has qualifications and actually knows what he is talking about; someone who can help me fix me so I don’t have to do it all by myself.

I went to my first session with a heavy heart; I was sad, lonely and running on empty. On the journey there I prayed ‘Please Lord let this be good for me, let me gain something from this because I’m spent and don’t have any strength left’. God heard me. I sat there and released months worth of tear-stained words to someone who is paid to listen to me. I didn’t feel guilty for ‘dumping’ on him, I just went for it (pray for him, poor guy!). He helped me reach some important conclusions in that very first session and I  left feeling so light I thought I might just fly.

The second session was a little harder, grittier and a hell of a lot more painful. That’s when the good stuff happens though and hey, I’m still alive. During these sessions my pain is justified, understood and accepted, but our (my counsellor’s and mine) ambition is my healing and I’m not allowed to sit in my pain and pity for longer than necessary. I must keep moving forward.

I’d rather be dealing with this at 22 than at 42, 52, 62 when I’ve caused other people pain from my own wounded heart. Have you heard? Hurt people hurt people. All of my hurt has come from hurt people, and out of that hurt I’ve hurt more people. It’s a vicious cycle, BUT I have the power to break it and it’s my choice whether I do or not. No I won’t ever be perfect but the goal isn’t perfection, it’s wholeness in Christ so that I’m not operating everyday life out of brokenness.

You might be thinking ‘gosh she is so honest, telling the blogosphere she is screwed up enough to go to counselling’. If it helps you, then heck yes I am honest enough. Frankly we are all screwed up at least a tiny bit, even if we like to act like we’re not. It’s what makes us beautifully human. 

Here’s a tip sponsored by moi: if you have faced trials in the past that you still haven’t overcome, or if you’ve never been to a counsellor, or just think it would be good for you, then go and talk to someone. Who knows, you may only need one session, or you’ll need loads. Whatever the case, deal with your pain so that it doesn’t deal with you. Also I personally think that if you’re in a relationship then it’s even more important; there is a lot of stuff that comes up when we share our lives intimately with someone, and sometimes they can’t carry our baggage. Oh and because I don’t like to leave anyone out: if you really are emotionally stable and this doesn’t apply to you, then that is great and feel free to ignore this paragraph!

All this was to say it’s nice not having to figure everything out by myself. Yes I still have to think, feel, process. However I am externalising it in a healthy environment instead of running circles in my mind. Oh and in case you were wondering, my over-active mind came back from her holiday and then handed in her notice of resignation. Turns out I don’t need her anymore, anyway!

If you can closely relate to the above and need to talk to someone about it, then feel free email me. Sometimes it’s just nice knowing someone understands and is there to listen. 

Thoughts, Life & Contentment

Thoughts have a snowball effect. Think negatively and you will continue to think negatively until you arrive at a pretty depressing conclusion about your situation or life. Think positively and you will be at peace, happier, and a lot more enjoyable to be around. You can’t always change your circumstances, but you can change your perspective; which changes your attitude; which changes your thoughts; which changes your actions; which changes your LIFE! I know right, wowzas.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what I don’t have. I don’t have a flat, I don’t have my own laptop, I don’t have my own iPod (as I write this I am realising how much of my boyfriend’s stuff I have claimed…eek!), I don’t have a good enough phone, I don’t have enough clothes….. blah blah BLAH. It’s all absolute rubbish.

Heck, we all don’t have enough when you think about it. And if I did have all of the above, it would be ‘I don’t earn enough, I don’t have a house, I don’t travel enough,’ etc. If we choose to be, we can be constantly ‘without’. But it’s a simple turn around of thinking that can change everything.

Because what I do have is so much more than what I don’t have. I have so much to be thankful for, but I have been overlooking that because I am too preoccupied with what I don’t have. That is not the way I want to live my life! No way. Plus, I personally believe that all blessing comes from God (though I know that may not the case for all who are reading this). And why would God want to bless you with more if you don’t even appreciate what you do have?

So, which snowball do you want in your mind, and controlling your life… A big ball of frustration and unhappiness because you aren’t getting what you want out of life? Or peace and joy, because you are seeing all the good in your life and enjoying each day? Of course, there are hard times. But you can still be calm amongst a storm. If you start off looking at the half glass full, soon the glass will be overflowing! Your mind is a battlefield. Choose life and hope.

Contentment. Its such a beautiful thing. There are moments when I am completely and utterly content with life, and it is the best feeling on earth. Other times, I have to choose to be content with a situation, because it’s easy to get down when every day feels the same. Sometimes you have to seek contentment out, otherwise you will only feel it at very intermittent times in your life. It can easily be found, but you are at the heart of the search.

Just a thought, take it or leave it.