Guest Blogger series: Jennifer Bartlett edition
Guest Blogger series - Jennifer Bartlett Edition
Quick Note: I love community and connecting others. That is why I’m happy to publish these guest blog posts. I hope this series resonates with you and please know that the opinions expressed are those of the writer and not my own.
Self-Respect: Foundation of Honoring Thyself
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”
A key word that continues to pop up in conversations of the women around me. As we continue on the journey of self-care, we’ve become aware that part of making the time to do the things we love means learning how and when to say no. We’ve learned that setting boundaries is not only an important practice but vital to our well-being. When our attention is called in so many directions, it can be difficult to decipher what has truly earned our energy and what of it we actually need to take a second look at.
Within the last few years, I’ve learned a couple teeth-gritting lessons about what generosity, trust and these boundaries need to look like for myself. Whether with personal or professional relationships, I’ve become more comfortable in my abilities and gained a new perspective on all that I was offering. When I started to feel like I was being taken for granted or worse, taken advantage of, I grew resentful. Instead of asking for what I wanted, I put another person’s comfort and convenience in front of my needs. The problem (and my feelings of discontent) only compounded when I failed to correct an issue in a more assertive way. Instead, I internalized my frustrations and in most cases, just walked away. Shut the situation down and shut that person out in an attempt to move forward without causing too much of a disruption...again, putting the other person’s comfort first.
While I will always believe that empathy is the most valuable human trait, there comes a price when you don’t start with yourself. I’m still learning that much of my bitterness can be avoided by just setting boundaries from the start. Brene says it better:
“...when we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honoring of our boundaries, rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.”
As an empath, I’ve had to do a bit of work to separate my emotions from others. Though I know that I have a lot of work to do, I recognize that without these emotional boundaries, I can easily break down or grow heated with rage with each heavy story unraveled and entrusted to me by every single client, friend, family member or acquaintance I interact with daily. There was a time that I believed attaching myself to another person’s tribulations would allow me to be more helpful to someone in need but it wasn’t until I was left as a shell time and time again that I realized that you can simply not be pillar of strength if you’re crumbling at the same time. Thanks to many murky moments of trial and error, I know now that self-preservation is the backbone to my emotional health.
Knowing what your boundaries look like may seem like a difficult feat. Breaking them down between relationships and finding out what you need is the first step. Journaling can be one of the most cathartic ways to do this, as well as keeping this topic of conversation flowing with a couple of trusted people in your life. Drawing these lines will take a lot of practice and even more patience. You’ve got to hold yourself accountable as well as those who are there to push back against these boundaries you are setting. Manipulators will attempt to find ways around these partitions so being prepared for this can only help.
In the grand scheme of things, you’re the one who has to go to bed and wake up to look in the mirror every morning. If you can’t respect and trust yourself, you’re going to have one hell of a time respecting and trusting anyone else.
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My name is Anna VanAgtmael, and I love community and connecting others. That is why I’m happy to publish these guest bloggers. I hope this series resonates with you and please know that the opinions expressed are those of the writer and not my own.
Anna VanAgtmael | Yoga Enthusiast | Travel Designer