Setting boundaries

I received some interesting advice recently. Now, as someone who has a very loving, caring, endearing, but sometimes invasive collection of people surrounding her, advice comes frequent and often uninvited. However, this piece of advice was somewhat sought.

A friend invited me to join her at a church fundraiser where a group of individuals offered their services in different spiritualist practices. Though I have often questioned religious practices and struggled with my own faith, I rarely turn down an invitation to church. I love the idea of community and regardless of beliefs, I think it is an intimate and heartfelt gesture to extend an invitation to one’s place of worship.

I began accepting these invitations when I was in college and my first experience was a tiny Baptist church in the middle of nowhere farmtown where the preacher was almost 100, clinging to life, the choir consisted of three teenaged girls with the voices of angels and the parish was a group of the most kindhearted individuals that existed on planet Earth. I will never forget it, and since then I’ve come to understand the purpose is not necessarily about faith, or prayer, or worship…it’s about kindness, gratitude and relationships.

So, I accepted a recent invitation and accompanied this friend to her community of worship. I participated in conversations and opened my mind to spiritual practitioners who read energies, follow intuitions and call on spirit guides to advise and counsel.

What I took away, and what I truly learned and have tried to commit to memory and practice, is that, as a professional, a mother grieving the loss of her son, a wife, a friend, and as a woman, it is important to set boundaries.

I was once asked in a job interview years ago to name one of my weaknesses. Trying not to give a generic answer, and being honest, as I try to always be, I said that I am too often unable to say ‘no.’

I think I failed the interview, and I’m sure I wasn’t offered the position, but at the time, and up until very recently, it was true. I do not like to disappoint. And I always want to help.

But in this life, we all have limits. Right now, in this moment, I am limited by my need to heal. I need to grieve the loss of my baby. Though I am taking huge steps every day to begin being a productive member of society and not a shriveling mess, I still have limits. And no one but me can dictate those limits.

I have to define those limits and understand when I am too close to reaching them. I am too fragile to get that close to the edge.

I can only do the best with what I have. And sometimes ‘no’ is the only answer.

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