Being a strong, ambitious, and independent woman, I have always been able to take care of myself, at the same time never forsaking those around me. Most of all being a giving person, I find myself constantly nurturing everyone else around me. Doing it so much that I started a business to serve others in the hospitality field. Although many people may view me as someone who is bold and fierce, I have a sensitive soul – always taking the words and actions of those who I consider dear to heart. Don’t get me wrong. You won’t find me sitting in my room crying about every little thing that is said to me but I do care. Being an empathetic person drives me personally as well as in my business relationships. It’s not just about being sensitive, it’s PASSION.
Spending my entire life as a giver, giving all of myself to everything and everyone I care about, caused me to neglect my own needs. This includes, but is not limited to, giving myself time to be alone. Providing most of my time to family, friends, and colleagues; I created a world where I had no boundaries. I allowed a lot of toxic people into my life, and I was expending my energy in situations that hindered my own personal growth. Initially, this was very difficult for me to recognize, as I’m sure it is for others. As the saying goes, “the truth hurts!”
In our day-to-day relationships, we tend to overlook a lot of inconsistencies in behavior patterns, both our own and in others. As loving human beings, we normally choose to see only the good in people and rarely acknowledge, let alone accept, the bad. I had to face the realization that I was allowing certain people in my life simply because I wanted to see the good in them, and to be good for them although they weren’t necessarily good for me. The first step to fixing this destructive cycle is acknowledging that change is necessary, followed by the difficult yet absolutely crucial decision to implement new boundaries. Everyone in my life who received my energy would have to respect my boundaries. Not as a request but as a requirement!
Deciding to tell my close friends and family about my newly discovered revelation worried me about how it would be received on their end. I feared that they may not receive it well because everyone had already become familiar with me being so readily available for all of their needs, at the drop of a dime. This was going to be a radical, unexpected change for them. Heck, it was going to be a gigantic change for me too! Letting them know the time I was freely giving to them on a regular basis needed to be taken back for myself and redirected towards my dreams and business was a challenging yet essential start of this transformational process.
Since then, and during this pandemic, I have had more time to hone my craft. In addition, I’ve spent more time evaluating my own toxic behaviors of people pleasing. For me, it started with identifying distractions and relationships (both personal and business) that are not aligned with my goals. Constantly questioning my actions (“If I say yes to you, am I saying no to me?”) is key to maintaining healthy boundaries. My focus of giving away all of my time was rooted in my need to be liked, in an attempt to avoid judgment that I was not equipped to handle. Figuring out that I have been co-dependent because I want to feel needed and valued has been holding me back. Now I am fully aware and acknowledge that I need me first and foremost!
This was hard for some people in my life to understand and accept. There were people who weren’t ready for me to level-up because they knew it may pressure them to elevate, in order to meet me where I am and respect my new set of boundaries. Although there is still a lot love in my heart, some of those relationships have grown distant, as mentioned in my previous blog posts: Seasonal Business Relationships and Take Me as I am.
My current mindset is that I need to be aggressive about my ventures because some of the opportunities might be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I cannot risk absorbing other people’s draining energy and distracting me from my goals.
How do I protect my peace now, you may ask? I decided if anyone is truly meant to be in my life, they would understand that this journey is necessary. No matter how many days, months, or years in between interactions, if they are truly happy for me and what I'm trying to achieve, they will understand. Protecting my peace has immensely helped my individual growth.
Some of the most important things I have learned on this journey of protecting my peace are:
1. It's better to have peace then to try and always be right.
2. Don’t always try to have the last word, especially if you may later deem the argument unworthy of your energy.
3. Sometimes saying nothing says more than words.
4. “NO” is a complete sentence.
What does peace look like for you? Is it having a peaceful home? Peace in certain relationships? If you ask me, the first step towards protecting your peace is acknowledging that you, and only YOU, are in control of your peace. Secondly, you must acknowledge and take personal responsibility for the role you are playing in the disruption of your peace. Once you start there, the rest will fall into place.
May we never forget that WE are responsible for our own happiness.