I frequently feel so emotionally exhausted from the ways in which people expect me to extend myself for them. I have struggled with establishing boundaries my entire life, and this results in me compromising my own happiness for the sake of others without any reciprocation. In previous posts, I have mentioned that I often feel like a doormat, and while I do think that I am better able to advocate for myself now, the weight of everyone else’s experiences, issues, and emotions has consumed me recently.
I visited Minnesota for about a week in July, and I was able to stay with Neeraj, whom I had not seen in two months, attend a best friend’s wedding, and see my family. Going into the trip, I felt a lot of pressure because I knew that I would not be able to see all of my friends despite their expectations. I value and care about my Minnesota friends deeply. They are some of the best people whom I have ever met, but I also do not live in the Twin Cities anymore. I cannot alter my schedule as easily to accommodate everyone, especially in the timespan of a week, when I want to spend quality time with my family and my boyfriend as well.
I have a fear of losing loved ones or being excluded, so I feel as though I always need to say yes to plans, help my friends when I am low on time and need to take care of myself, and be a shoulder for others. I love making people smile. I just do not know how meaningful this is if I, myself, do not feel valued by these people. I have discovered that people love to guilt me into things because I am nice and they always expect me to say yes. I need to avoid placing my worth in others’ hands. If people do not respect me enough to understand my time and experiences, I should not want them in my life anyway.
Overextending myself is one aspect, but what upsets me the most is that I know that some of my friends would probably not do the same for me. I should not feel such a strong sense of responsibility when these individuals will not even meet me halfway when I need them. I invest so much, physically and emotionally, into everyone and I really do not think that I could depend on a lot of people to be there for me if I asked for similar favors. This realization has pushed me to create more boundaries, which is what most folks need to do as they grow older, regardless.
Boundaries can be tough because those around you may not receive yours well. Humans become butt hurt over these pillars of interpersonal relationships, and in doing so, they vilify the establishment of boundaries and true self care. I think that we have all been guilty of this at some points, but I try to be more cognizant of how I react to boundaries since I am now working on my own.
I should not have to be less of myself, or avoid leaning into my heart, to protect myself from being hurt. My heart is an act of protest in a world that values individualism. I know that the amount of love and effort that I give is a choice, but I have so much trouble giving less than 100%+ to everything. In an ideal world, this would be okay. In an ideal world, we would all receive what we exude. We do not live in (at least, my version of) an ideal world, and boundaries are necessary to adjust to its conditions.
no tea, no shade, just growth xo