I struggle so much with the judgments of a few, and I really do hate this about myself. My frustration would be better assigned to the ones who judge, instead of at myself for struggling with it, but I’m still trying to learn my way out of Everything Is Always My Fault and/or Responsibility. It’s an extraordinarily difficult iOS.

This makes setting boundaries very hard for me, always has. I’m learning, but I really struggle with it sometimes. Setting boundaries invariably means holding others responsible for what’s theirs. I still usually believe it’s all my responsibility, whatever “It” is, thus making it that much harder to hold someone else responsible for anything. But no one can keep that up forever. My body has been screaming for a long time that it was/is high time I stop shouldering the responsibility for things other people’s inappropriate expectations, other people’s judgments, other people’s bad behavior……. The body can’t lie, and it will always say (and eventually demand) what the mind refuses to. It’s like the engine light on your dash – ignore it all you want, but the repair bill gets higher the longer you do.

It’s emotionally “safer” for me to just absorb everything, but safer isn’t healthier or better. Actually, a lot of times it’s the opposite. I’m trying to get healthy. I’m trying to have a very firm understanding of where others end and I begin. I’ve let people run all over me my whole life, and I’m just too old and too tired to keep it up. It’s exhausting, and it keeps me from being the best possible version of myself. It demands I please others, and avoid conflict, and not hold people accountable for unacceptable behavior, etc., and then really all I’m doing is running from everything all the time (and dealing with the consequences).

I hold back so much, largely due to the judgments of just a few, and that’s not who I want to be. At my funeral, it won’t matter why I held back, only that I did. The life I want to live and the legacy I want to leave require that I be brave. That I don’t hold back. That I get healthy, and stay healthy, in order to be able to love well. Why do I care about the small thoughts of a few who don’t support those goals (or me, for that matter), when there are so many more who do? How can a couple of voices be louder than a crowd?

It’s frustrating, and discouraging, this dance I do. But I’m learning. Healing and changing is a slowwwwww process. It’s scary, sometimes very lonely, and consistently difficult. But each time I catch myself holding back, even if I go on and follow through with it, the awareness of it is progress. The ache to do better is progress. The grace I can sometimes give myself is progress; I didn’t get this way overnight, and it’s not all going to be undone overnight either. It does really bug me that I care so much about the judgments of people – people who don’t even actually like me (bugs me more that they don’t like me, truth be told), but that’s shame talking. And I am SO. SICK. OF. FEELING. SHAME. Is it possible that someone not choosing me is actually something about them and not me? How can they think ill of me, or not like me, when they don’t actually know me? How did I get all the responsibility here? (See? Progress ….. ) Relationships take two, and if one person is assigned all the work and all the blame, it’s not a relationship. I don’t quite have the hang of this, but I’m inching closer. Really, it’s more like millimetering closer, but no one says that.

Wait, why not?! Why not me? Why hold back?!

I’m making it a thing: I AM MILLIMETERING CLOSER to where I need and want to be. I am millimetering closer to wholeness, and wellness, and healthy relationships/interactions. I am millimetering closer to being at peace with having been dealt an unfortunate hand of cards. I am millimetering closer to figuring out who I actually am, as opposed to who people’ve always told me I am or expected me to be, and I am millimetering closer to being who I was created to be.

I do presently continue to struggle with the painful, alienating, and unfair judgments of some, but I am millimetering closer to letting go of the lies and fear that keep me in bondage to shame, and to actually embracing my life and its possibilities. I can at least now see the strong connection between the judgment-related shame and the way(s) I shrink back in life and relationships as a result. I am powerless to change the behavior of others, but I have the choice to recognize, own and change my own behavior. So, now that I am aware of it – what I do/don’t do and why – I have the power to do differently. I hope to rise to the occasion as consistently and to what degree I have shrunk from it up to this point.

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