I have two small kiddos, and we are pretty aware of growing pains. Those physical aches, often in joints or legs, that seem to indicate growth and parts of the body stretch to accommodate the growth.
I’ve recently begun a deep dive into codependency issues and boundaries. It feels like growth, and sometimes that feels good. Like I’m not alone or like I’m learning about why I feel the things I feel and act the ways I act. And, to change or grow these things can really hurt.
Part of this growth for me is about letting some people in, in a new way. And, taking a step back and having some new boundaries with others. Ugh. Both are super hard. There was a time when the safe answer was to drop the fortress walls, that was safe and appropriate to not get hurt. Now I’m working on staying in the uncomfortable situation, talking things through (albeit imperfectly), and doing the hard work of healing misunderstandings and failings in relationships. Ugh again. Running, or villianizing the other, or taking all the blame and profusely apologizing is so much easier. Keeping people out and in superficial relationships is so much easier. Being a lone wolf….so so much easier.
But I want to be more vulnerable, have more meaningful relationships, learn to be a better version of myself from being in them. Doing some pushing and pulling in gentle and loving ways, and coming out better on the other side.
I’m still learning about the healthy boundaries part. (I’m still learning about all of it!) For me, this historically looked like a list of expectations and a whole bunch of kavetching when they weren’t met. It looked like getting frustrated with others a lot and harboring quiet resentments…especially with those closest to me…building ammunition to make my case of why I was right. It meant accepting half-hearted apologies or compromises for the sake of peace. But I’m working to give more than that, and I want more than that. Real healing, real connection and vulnerability, and deeper relationship on the other side.
But growth is HARD! It hurts to work through challenging misunderstandings and new boundaries with people you care deeply about. It makes me question every part of myself. It makes me cry. A lot. But I don’t want to run. I want to stay, and work, and get better. I want to learn how to work through challenges. I want to learn about healthy boundaries. I want to learn to value myself and be humble…at the same time. I want to articulate with gentleness and kindness what my boundaries are. I want to love myself and others well. God help me…its too much for just me.