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How to Establish New Patterns When Loving Others Has Left you Hurting
Boundaries are the invisible lines that define our emotional and physical limits, shaping the way we interact with the world. When we begin to assert our boundaries, it can lead to shifts in some of our relationships. Sometimes, setting boundaries means letting go of people who no longer align with our values or respect our limits. This process can be incredibly painful, and the thought of it alone can prevent many from deciding to begin this process altogether. I encourage you, especially during the upcoming holiday season, to hold tight to the boundaries you are creating. I know firsthand what it’s like when your heart aches for those who didn’t choose to come alongside you. I understand the pain of losing someone you never thought you could live without. However, I also know the unrelenting peace and joy that comes from finding yourself and your people along the way. Friends that now feel more like family, healthy relationships around me where we push each other to be better and respect each other’s limits. THAT is what you want, even if the road to get there looks like shaky ground. Remember, you are allowed to feel both grief and gratitude along the way!
Navigating the Grief:
Grief isn’t just about the physical loss of someone but also the emotional process of letting go. It’s natural to mourn the connections that no longer serve us, the friendships that have withered, and the bonds that have faded with change. It’s okay to grieve the familiar, even if it was unhealthy, as it represented a known space in our lives. There is something EXTRA hard about grieving the loss of someone who is still very much alive. You can say no, you can create limits in your life, you can choose healthiness and you can pursue your peace even if they choose not to follow – even though I know how badly you wish they did. You didn’t choose this to hurt them; you chose this because you wanted the relationship to thrive. You can either manage how they react to the boundary or manage your boundary, but you cannot manage both. The goal was and is togetherness, but when goal isn’t met, allow yourself to grieve without shame or guilt!
Embrace the Joy:
Simultaneously, as we mourn what’s gone, you can find yourself in a position of gratitude for the change that has happened along the way! We can be thankful for the lessons learned, the strength gained, and the space created for new, healthier connections. Joy can be found in the newfound freedom to be wholly authentic to yourself, in the lessons that come from difficult goodbyes, and in the potential for growth that lies ahead. Sometimes, I talk to women who have lost relationships in their life that almost feel bad for the feelings of relief that also come alongside the loss of an unhealthy pattern. It is okay to feel freedom too! If there is joy in your new season, live within that, even if others choose not to join you along the way. Don’t prevent the good things that are now happening in your life once you start to take hold of it again, because that negates the very reason you set out on this journey in the first place. And remember that you don’t need to hold onto any guilt for feeling the joy that is long overdue in your life.
Finding the Balance:
Navigating the delicate balance between grief and joy, loss and gain, can be challenging. It requires patience, self-compassion, and an understanding that healing takes time. I am still healing. In fact, I say it often, but I want to always be a healing person! I am far from perfect; I have a lot of life lessons left to learn, and being a healing person allows me to continue to take hold of the things that I learned along the way and apply them to my future. It’s all about honoring the past while embracing the future, acknowledging the pain while being open to the joy that new relationships can bring.
With boundaries, we create space not just for ourselves but also for the right people to enter our lives! We learn that loss is not always a void but also sometimes a transformation. Through this often bittersweet dance, find peace in the knowledge that boundaries truly do pave the way for authentic connections and a richer, more fulfilling life for yourself and those you love most.
Courses on Boundaries, Heal from Codependency, Stewardship, and Rising Daughters are all available immediately for access to every active DYW member. Not only do you receive the self-paced video courses, but you get access to a monthly masterclass (including all the previous ones), bonus content, and email support with me.
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