This week I had to re-establish some boundaries. I had let something back into my life that doesn't serve me. Sometimes in life lessons need relearning over and over again. And that's OK. Each time I need to relearn a lesson, it takes less time to get back on track. Life is an iterative process. When this hard lesson hit, rather than shutting down completely like I used to, I explored what had happened, and got curious about my reactions. I apologised quickly where I felt I needed to and stood my ground and reinstated boundaries where I needed to as well. The whole thing was over within a few hours. My nervous system regulated back to where it needed to be and I slept well. A very different place from where I was a few years ago.
I got curious about what had changed and I think it is that I trust myself now. I didn't start second-guessing myself and wondering if I am a bad person, even though it shook me. I gave myself grace when I had been triggered and I spoke to myself with kindness afterwards. I checked in and I was back to living my values. I checked with myself that I was being authentic.
I think that trust is central to this. If I trust myself I can anchor myself.
I trust that I have good people around me and I have been reminded of the work of Brene Brown who talks about braving trust. That trust does take an enormous amount of courage. She talked about how trust is built in small moments, 'Sliding door' moments - remember that film? An example of that for me is immediately stopping what I am doing when my teenage daughter wants to engage. I can be really focused and I don't like to be interrupted when I am in flow. But life happens in a series of small moments and if I don't stop and attend to what she needs at that moment, the moment is lost, and she is back up in her room alone or with whoever is on her screen. Trust is built in those micro-moments of noticing what she needs. And seeing and hearing when she needs space. Equally, trust is eroded in micro betrayals. Walking past someone you love who needs you to check in with them, is a micro betrayal. I trust that I am being a good parent to her when I can see her quiet confidence. That she is able to solve her own problems and work through her challenges. I don't always get it right, but as long as I can trust myself that my instincts are correct around her that brings me peace. I try not to second guess myself as a single Mum and trust my instincts around how I parent her. Always, always leading with love.
I have also reflected on where I have eroded my own self-trust. I have let unhealthy choices back into my diet. I trust myself completely around alcohol now. I can be around it with absolutely zero fear about whether I will consume it. I want to be able to have the same trust in myself around sugar-based food choices. I must stop saying that I am now ‘addicted’ to chocolate. That language isn't serving me and it isn't true.
I need to keep checking in with what is true for me.
It is good to check in with the following questions when you're feeling out of balance:
- Is the story I am telling myself true?
- Is this within my control to change?
- Where am I inventing a narrative to support a habit that no longer serves me?
- How can change that narrative?
- If this is not within my control to change, can I accept it or can I move away from it?
- What can I control?
- What is the smallest next right action here?
- When I can do that action?
I hope that helps if you have been temporarily pulled off track or need to bring yourself back into balance after a breach of trust.