It was a good day. Except for one tiny, giant wrinkle. You know those days.
The good was so good. Somewhere in there was a great idea and a flurry of text messages from one of my favorite creative friends, leading up to something exciting, something beautiful maybe.
There was a relatively productive meeting with genuine collaboration, then talks with the bosses where I got a “Yes”. There were honest moments with clients where the truth unfolded, and the atmosphere shifted. Rewarding.
And a good day ended with a full night, overflowing with friends and conversation shared over tea and warm bread. Good friends in the kitchen, on the couch, new friends, sure, but good ones. They’re good because you can just tell when people show up in your life, and it feels like you’ve known each other far more than mere weeks, or months.
The kids shuffled, ran or shouted through the house. It was happy noise. A joyful mess.
I was fine with all of it. Great, in fact.
Except for that one person. One person swooped in at the end of the day and stole the joy right out from under me. This person who disrespects my boundaries and cares nothing for my personal privacy. This person who has been asked again and again to maintain distance, but bulldozes my requests and even my bold, frank commands, further displaying their inability to be in relationship with me.
Tonight this person painted me in an impossible corner where there was no way for me to tell them “No” without making them look bad.
I felt like I had to choose to honor them while they dishonored me. Am I doing this boundary thing right? I have no idea. I still feel angry.
So I spent the last half an hour fuming, trying to figure out how to scoop up the remains of the day. To move past the overwhelming feeling of violation.
I wanted to get my peace back, to match my husband’s good spirits. “Wasn’t that a great night, Babe?” he cheered down the hallway. My arms crossed, I snarled a bit. It was a good day and a great night. Except it could’ve been much better. If not for that one person.
Then I wondered if I was doing something wrong. Maybe I’m not communicating clearly enough. Something must be wrong with me, I mused to myself, or else this person would understand they simply cannot treat me this way. How do they not understand such flagrantly inappropriate behavior?
And my perhaps misplaced self-blame is why the boundary violation is so much more toxic. This person does not really care about me. Simply wants a need met. And now I’m here questioning myself and my ability to communicate because one person refuses to hear me. But is that my fault?
See. I’m all messed up over this. It’s not fair to me. To my tired soul. No one should have that kind of power over me, right?
I’m flipping through my Boundaries book, trying to use it as a reference tool to learn what to do when someone so blatantly disregards the lines I drew. I can’t find anything. Yet.
I tried to quiet myself down and think what my life-mentors (from a distance) would do or say. How would they respond? I realized Bill Johnson and Anne Lamott would shake their heads quietly. “This too shall pass.”
They always say that. In my head, anyway. Because these sage folks refuse to get all bent out of shape for a disrespectful person. It doesn’t mess with Bill and Anne. Well, not the Bill and Anne I consult with in my head. They are basically me in 20 years. Or what I hope to be.
They are the older, wiser souls who slowed way down so they can first accept themselves. And then they can invite others into the acceptance. They don’t need everyone to respect them perfectly. They trust and respect themselves, and that’s enough.
Oh my, that’s where I want to be. That’s why I can’t wait til I’m 50. Til I’m older with more slow grey and calm, gentle ways. Then I will know these meanies won’t be in my life for long.
And I’ll know no one is ever so powerful they can take away good from my spirit. No one can take it unless…I give it up.
So today the 30-something version of me gave up my good mojo to this inconsiderate, selfish person. This person with the audacity to disregard my wishes and opinions. Who does not value or respect me a bit. Yes, I gave that person my happiness. What a waste.
It’s sad, isn’t it? So please, learn from me. I am learning from me. Moral: Don’t let selfish people take away what you have that is good. It’s not worth it to lose something so precious to someone who does not value you.
So I’m going to practice being 50 today, practice being Bill and Anne. Just gently, slowly shaking my head, I’m going to say, “This too shall pass”.
Then I’m going to tell God to love and rescue that person from the choices that are stomping on all their potential relationships. And I’ll say like a little Southern church lady, “Lord, get ’em and bless ’em. You know this problem ain’t mine; it’s all yours. Amen.”