“ When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice. ” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
I never really understood the saying, “you can not love someone until you love yourself”.
I thought it was bullshit.
Despite my lack of self-love, I had fallen in love more than once. Or so I thought.
I “LOVED” my partners so much that I would put their needs before my own, without an ounce of hesitation. I allowed myself to accept undesirable circumstances and put up with behavior that deeply hurt me, because I “LOVED” them. And since I “LOVED” them, I felt it was a necessity to “prove my love” by sacrificing my well-being to appease their wants/needs.
I eventually began resenting my partners, because in my mind it “just wasn’t fair“!
“How could he use & mistreat me when I am so good to him?“
“There must be something wrong with HIM, because he shows me such disrespect“
“I always love them more than they love me“
Relationships are mirrors, they reflect back to us the things we are often unable to see within ourselves.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see, because the reflection may be covered by a cloudy haze of judgment and blame. Sometimes denial, other times fear.
The haze may have been passed over from our own caregivers, or even self-induced to (unconsciously) avoid having to stare at a reflection we do not want to see.
In my case, the reflection wasn’t very pretty…
Yes, I felt love for my partners, but since I lacked those feelings for myself I was unable to set clear and loving boundaries.
They were not disrespecting me, I lacked respect for myself.
They did not disregard my wants/needs, I was neglecting my own.
Looking back now, I learned one of the most valuable lessons to date: In order to have a loving, reciprocal relationship, we must set boundaries. When we love and respect ourselves we will not accept any less. That is where boundaries come into play, they’re the ground level of self-empowerment, self-love.
When you begin to set boundaries, some people may not make the cut, which is fine. Because the way you feel about yourself can never be dependent on another persons feelings toward you. YOU choose what you allow and accept in your life.
I blamed my partners for having boundaries, instead of blaming myself for having none.