When we choose to live authentically, we establish good boundaries and healthier interactions. We take responsibility for our roles. We step outside the dysfunctional system we’ve been in.
By no longer colluding in the dysfunction, we up-end the system around us, and the people in it react, often negatively. In the long run though, our actions are the catalyst for positive growth and change. The short-term discomfort is worth the long-term freedom and fulfillment.
When we rescue ourselves by stepping outside the dysfunctional system, others may react negatively because
1) We call attention to their collusion in the unhealthy system,
2) They perceive us as rejecting them (not just the system), and
3) They are forced to take responsibility, or retreat further into denial, for their own ongoing collusion and self-limiting behaviors.
Some people will explode in different ways, at different times. Some will blame or punish. Some will accuse and withdraw. Remember, you’re not rejecting them; you’re rejecting the toxic ways in which you came to relate to them.
You can survive these explosions by preparing for them the same way you prepare for a fireworks show. You know it’s going to be loud, bright and surprising, even scary at times, but it’s very unlikely to physically harm you. You can be prepared to ‘hold tight’ to your new boundaries and at the same time remind yourself the explosion is not any more dangerous than watching fireworks from a healthy distance.
When we create these new boundaries and change our system, we may suffer a loss of external validation and we lose the external containment we had been benefiting from where everyone was helping everyone stay in their ruts, their dissatisfaction, the hyper-busyness, and their boundary-lessness.
Oftentimes this comes with a frenetic energy, positive in the self-congratulatory sense of ‘look at what I’ve done for myself, I’ve started taking care of myself,’ and negative in a ‘now what?’ way. This energy can lead to impulsive behaviors like buying things we don’t actually want, less need, eating too much, not being mindful about interactions (like snippy emails and texts), etc.
When that happens, we can take note of the physical sensations, the buzzing, the whirring, and the swirling in our brains. That’s a sign to find new ways to self-contain, to give ourselves validation, to practice self-care.
Identify the activities that bring you into flow (full engagement, when you lose track of time) and set reminders on your smartphone to do three of them each week. Schedule time. Make it happen. Three each week. This will give you the self-care, validation, sense of worth you need to internalize. Build up the containment and validation only you can truly give yourself in the long run. As much as we deceive ourselves into believing we can get the validation we need from other people or possessions, it never sustains or suffices.
If you want support in making these changes, facing these challenges, call me today and we’ll chat about how I can be helpful: 720-478-0676 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org