It’s that time of the year again. People are claiming that 2020 will be their year amidst others making the “I don’t set goals” or “I don’t like intentions” declarations. As one of the few people I know actually liked the idea of resolutions, in the past few years that has shifted to me setting intentions to guide the goals that I want to accomplish in the new year. In addition, every year I create a theme for the upcoming year. This past year it was “booked, busy, and minding my business” (which I liked so much that I created a shirt with it on there). And it did what I wanted it to do in that it kept me focused on what I wanted and what I needed to stop doing – i.e. being nosy or paying attention to business, small and large, that was not mine (which is its own post altogether). But as we approach 2020, the theme I have for it is simple – “Boundaries,” specifically focusing on creating and respecting my own boundaries.
I’ve been thinking about this for weeks as a way to move forward with lessons I’ve learned over the past year as a result of relationships and interactions with others over the past year – new ones, old ones, ones that fell apart, ones that never were, and everything in between. I firmly believe that everything in life happens for a reason and I’m always one trying to find the lesson in life. However, that being said, 2019 truly came with some shit relationship wise for me. But it also taught me some things which led to this theme.
- Not everyone deserves to have access to you.
Not everyone deserves to have a front row seat to the movie that is your life. Yes you should feel free to be as open as you choose when you choose. But you also have to be mindful that not everyone who is liking, commenting, or even viewing what you share actually has your best interest at heart or even really cares about your well-being. Sometimes you realize that not everyone you’re talking to or confiding in, or even helping, has positive intentions towards you or is actually rooting for you. Being cognizant of that is necessary. And while people often talk about having haters, you sometimes may find that that can include people who you may have known a long time, are related to you, or are in some way affiliated with you (i.e. some family members, old friends, sorors and/or frat, etc.) Sometimes when you have these relationships you think that you are obligated to being accessible or open. But you have to be discerning. I’m not saying be closed off to everyone – but just go with your gut and keep your eyes open to how others do things. Intimacy is not something that you owe anyone. It’s earned.
- Protect your energy
It’s only in recent years that I have started to really adopt the advice to stop saying “yes” to things I hate. I’ve been good for going to events or doing things that from the depts of my soul I didn’t want to do and complained and bitched about because I didn’t want to do it or go. And why – because I felt like I had to. I’m so big on being good with my word, that I’d give my word and say “yes” to things I should have said “no” to. But there’s s a difference between stepping outside of your comfort zone to do something that is good for you, and doing something that you just don’t want to do. In particular, I know that if doing something or going somewhere is going to throw off my energy and will likely bring out the worst in me – I have no business doing that or going there. I am aware that some people will say “oh that’s just a part of life” or “that’s immature.” I could care less. Being mature should also include knowing yourself and your limits. And I know that I like peace and I want to maximize the situations I’m in that allow me to stay in peace – i.e. protecting my damn energy. So if that means saying “no” and being “immature” or whatever, then that’s what it means.
This leads me to the third and final thing:
- Stop giving the benefit of the doubt (or at least be VERY stingy with it).
This one is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned this year. I have always been good for doing this – making excuses for people, considering possible reasons why someone said or did something, etc. Basically always trying to see a possible good reason in situations where there wasn’t one. But these are facts – part of being human is communicating. Admittedly I know from my profession that not a lot of people, let alone adults, are neccessarily very good at communicating. However, that is a basic necessity that I need from anyone that I am going to have some kind of relationship with. Grown people do what they want to do and they make time for what they want. Like a lot of these memes say : “no response is a response” and “people make time for what they want to make time for.” Altogether, what that means is – trust a person’s actions and stop giving the damn benefit of the doubt.
I believe that this has been one of the biggest things that has helped me get to a better place in terms of how I deal with men now. When a guy is inconsistent or doesn’t follow through on things, I take it for what it is and keep it moving. Interested people act interested. And if there’s a mistake or mix-up or something, if he’s interested then he’ll reach out with that apology and make amends or whatever. But by trying to chase him, or being ready with forgiveness (that he NEVER asked for or cared about in the first place), all you’re doing is showing what you will put up with. And that’s a no for me. You show people how to treat you by what you allow and put up with. It takes less effort to delete and/or block than it does for those keystrokes to keep in contact with an inconsistent person. Yes adults can be taught how to be better and do better, but you can’t be out here trying to give lessons to people who never signed up for the course.
So here’s to respecting and protecting our own energy and establishing and keeping our boundaries. Happy New Year!