Setting boundaries is not like setting a budget, although argumentatively just as important. Expensive handbags and name brand shoes are spectacular and I assure you, they look even better when your attitude matches their value. Setting personal standards and boundaries are necessary elements in life. Your personal boundaries are like a price tag, it shows your worth.
A few weeks ago I decided to set a serious boundary, which could have put my marriage up for sale. Some might have felt like it was a personal attack or even an unsettled mood I caught out of the blue, but the truth is, I let the issue fester internally for way longer than I should have. When setting personal boundaries that affect loved ones around you, one must proceed with caution, but proceed you must!
More often then not, when it comes to setting boundaries with family, we sit on uncomfortable issues in hopes they will resolve on their own. Let me tell you, most of the time they don't.
My boundary was set at a wedding a few weeks ago. Awkward? Yes, but necessary. The ambiance was full of love and the decor matched the vibe. Normally, when I attend weddings, I am in alignment with the harmony of love. Not this day! You see, the weekend before the wedding it happened again! I allowed my personal worth to be undervalued and I let my spirit be placed on the discount rack. Tisk, tisk, tisk right? Sadly, this wasn't the first time! Double shame on me.
I admit, I allowed it to happen. I allowed my self esteem, my zest for capturing the moment and my personal joy for lasting memories to slowly get chipped away. At first, I thought it was a one off so I chose to ignore my inner intuition. We all know we shouldn't ignore that crazy bitch, but I did, and she was mad! I mean, I really should have dealt with it right then and there, but I didn't. My bad, again!
So, I know you are all wondering what happened! Well, let me sum up the backstory. A year and a bit ago (yes I allowed it to continue that long), I noticed some scrambling when it came to taking group pictures with my in-laws. I know some of you can resonate with this, especially when it comes to in-laws. Let me assure you, I love my in-laws. They are truly the best a gal can have. So why was I feeling so uneasy around them come picture time? When I say scrambling, I mean blatantly obvious shuffling to NOT stand beside me in a picture, Clearly, this made me feel quite uncomfortable. I let it slide, I mean really, who does that? I brushed it off, making excuses for their actions. Perhaps they wanted to stand next to their spouse, move for a better body angle (yes, people do that) or even to balance the picture because of differentiating heights. There are thousands of reasons to move around in a picture, and trust, I made a good argument for all of them.
The truth is, it wasn't a one off! For every time a picture was to be taken, the scrambling continued until finally a few under the breath comments where made; comments I'm certain were not meant for my ears but solidified that my intuition was bang on. I froze! I felt sad and slightly shocked that the people who were supposed to love me unconditionally, didn't. This was Christmas time, a Christmas family picture; only I didn't feel like family. For the first time, I felt like an outcast and alone.
I spoke to my husband about it and even still, I tried to brush it off as no big deal. I was reluctant to state my concern, I mean after all, this is his family I'm pointing out to be less than perfect. I didn't want to be THAT GIRL, that started problems with her in-laws. My husband accepted my nonchalant attitude and assured me his family would never do something like that. Stupidly, I accepted his words and buried my emotion deeper.
As the year progressed and parties continued, so did the photo shuffling; each time, tearing a bit more of my spirit away. I started questioning my own intuition, thinking she's got to off base. I remember hosting Thanksgiving at my house. After dinner I did what I always did, and pulled out my camera. Half heartily knowing what to expect, I approached each and every in-law to "selfie" with me. There was no surprise when the ladies refused a selfie. Every single one of them. Everyone had their own personal reason as to why they didn't want their picture taken, and I accepted it. Feeling like a fool hearing every excuse as to why they didn't want their picture taken when in reality, I heard their whispered reasons in the past. What saddened me the most, is looking at the "sibling" selfie picture posted on social media later that evening. Yup! No one wanted a picture taken with me or even posted on social media but I guess the exception was only if you're a blood sibling. It was that moment I understood my place in the family. Whether they meant to make me feel like that or not is moot.
I just couldn't take it anymore so I approached my husband again, this time not so casually; still not wanting to put ripples in the smooth water. He assured me once again, or so he thought he had. He told me he would talk to the girls about it. Although my in-laws admitted to not wanting to stand beside me in pictures, their reasoning for it made it that much more damaging to my already cracked self esteem. They told my husband that they thought I was pretty, very photogenic and that they felt standing beside me in a picture made them look bad. Now what do you say to that? They laughed it off and offered a quick apology, unaware of the damage their actions and words already caused.
Needless to say, when the gang gathers around for a group picture, the uncomfortable feeling sets in instantly. There's always some sort joke made, I'm sure it's to try and lighten the mood. But you know what they say? There's always a little bit of truth to a joke.
Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I feel the uncomfortable vibe gyrating through the room, not only from me, but from everyone. Who's going to stand beside the pretty one? Who's taking one for the team? Who's brave enough, confident enough to stand beside the one who always looks good in pictures? The truth is, it doesn't matter anymore!
That night, at the wedding, I set my boundary. When asked to take a group picture, I blurted out NOPE! The word just came out of my mouth as if my subconscious self set the standard for me. I was no longer going to allow myself to be placed in that uncomfortable situation. I have the power to set my own boundaries; to live my life designed not only with fashion but with full price standards.
A few lessons learned here. One, trust your intuition! That bitch doesn't fool around and secondly, don't EVER put your boundaries on sale. Can I forgive? Yes! Can I forget? Maybe! Will I let it happen again? NOPE!
Thank you for allowing me to share my personal growth with you all. Stay amazing my friends and keep doing great things!
Always with love and gratitude,