One thing I learned in the last decade is the importance of self-care.
I’m still learning about it. Unlearning decades of unhealthy coping skills doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t judge myself, I give myself patience and grace as I stumble.
Healthy boundaries are one aspect of self-care. But what exactly are they?
According to Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, the foremost experts on the subject, boundaries are defined as: “personal property lines that define who we are and who we are not.”
I made a choice related to my boundaries last year and some people thought it was the wrong one. This is what happened and what I learned from it.
I’ve always found it interesting that to “connect” on Facebook, a person must become your “friend”. I have family, as well as people I have never met or spoken with, that I called “friends”. That’s both ends of a spectrum. For a recovering codependent, experiencing and enacting self-care with healthy boundaries is an absolute must. For a survivor of domestic violence and one who used to attract toxic and harmful relationships, this activity was a major step on my road toward recovery and wholeness. I used to accept friend requests all the time. Just because someone sent it, I reacted to it.
“Oh, they sent one, I must oblige.” Friends, regardless of the reason, that isn’t healthy.
[Tweet “If we do things out of Fear, Obligation, or Guilt to earn love, that’s a sign of toxicity.”]
I recognized this behavior needed to stop. I needed to reevaluate how I used social media, based on what was healthy for me.
I have been unfriended in the past, but no one ever explains why. I found that odd. If you don’t like me or the things I post, that is 100% ok with me. Not everyone on earth will like each other. Communication is very important to me, so the times that I noticed I had been unfriended I’ve wondered, “I hope I didn’t say or do anything that hurt them”. Because of my own feelings about “the anonymous unfriend” I decided to send a private message to those people that I had the littlest interaction with and/or hadn’t ever met in person, so that way they would know, it wasn’t because I was mad or offended and I still liked them, I wanted to keep in touch. I was just making a change. I was growing and practicing self-care.
Here is what it said:
“Hey! I hope you are doing well. I wanted to touch base and let you know I am trying to organize my Facebook profile. I am sure you understand that social media is a fabulous tool for staying connected and as it evolves, so can we. I’ll be keeping my profile, but only having people as “friends” if I personally know them. If you would like to continue to get my public posts, please please please…feel free to click the “follow” button. I would love to stay connected over at my page, www.facebook.com/thejenmoff or via twitter at @thejenmoff. I hope you understand. Jen”
I had a few people proofread it prior to sending it out. I got the green light. I was nervous, but it was time to begin. A few people replied almost immediately. Here are some of the responses:
No worries I totally understand 🙂
No problem, Jen this is why I have a business page and a personal page. It is a little weird having a bunch of 2D “friends” I’ve never technically met see all of my private business. I completely get it. No offense taken. Good luck!
Absolutely! Doing the same myself. God bless and best wishes.
Hi Jen, I totally understand. I’ll miss seeing your reg posts. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to a meet up one day and get bumped into that 3-D circle! Have a wonderful day and congrats on all the strides you have made in the past month in moving toward your dreams!!!
Absolutely! Good boundaries!
Thanks for the explanation, Jen! It’s true that life and tools we use to connect with one another evolve as we grow and change! May you continue to bless many through your life – your story! I hope to meet you in “3D” one day!
No worries, trust me, I get it. It’s not a bad thing.
Totally understand! Sounds good. Keep rockin’ Jen!
Hey Jen, No worries at all. I totally understand! Maybe some day we can meet IRL
No problem, Jen. Thank you for the heads-up!
The majority of the people didn’t reply. But I got some other not so accepting responses. I understood that it wasn’t going to be well received by everyone. But I was shocked and hurt by what I observed.
These people were angry and believed that my decision was saying something about them, about their worth and value. I apologized, told them it wasn’t my intent at all. That the choice was just a choice, not one that I saw as GOOD or BAD and it had no bearing on anything they did. I explained my wish to have a private space online and how hard it was for me to make this choice.
People questioned my motives. People wouldn’t accept my choices or my apology. Some thought I was tacky, others thought I did it maliciously, one person tried to shame me and insinuate that my business would suffer. In the end, it showed me something. People showed me who they were.
[Tweet “Those who understand healthy boundaries, respect our choices.”]
As someone who looks for the lesson in every blessing or roadblock, I knew that I had to weather the storm as painful as it was. This is part of the constructive pain of learning new and healthy ways to live. I had to practice it for it to get easier. I had to do things I had never done in order to create new ways of being. Otherwise, I would just stay trapped in my former existence and lifestyle. After tapping into my Hero Spirit and on my own hero’s journey, I knew that wasn’t an option.
It’s been a year. I’m proud to say I stuck with it. It got easier. When I get a friend request now, I see who it is and assess from there. It’s nothing personal done to hurt them, it’s done out of love to respect myself. Healthy people understand that.XO,