In yesterday’s blog, I told a story about a time when I set, held and respected the boundary of self-respect. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time. I thought I was mad and not going to take the belittling and insulting behavior of another anymore.
Resentment is the feeling we get when we think life is unfair; shame is the feeling we have when we believe that we are broken, wrong and of no worth. People do not MAKE us feel resentment or shame.
Which means, I believe, that the number of times we wrestle with both might just be related to how we treat ourselves than how others treat us. Feel resentful, envious, jealous and maybe a pinch unworthy?
What better way to take a different path than to behave respectably. Do good. Be kind. Work hard. Learn from mistakes. Live our life not constantly looking around and asking how others are evaluating our life.
This is the best boundary work we can ever do. Boundary work, it turns out, is one of 7 skills Brene’ Brown says we need to strengthen our capacity for courage.
It isn’t about asking others to treat us as we hope to be treated. We decide to live in such a way as to be satisfied and unashamed of the life we are making. How others evaluate that? That’s their problem.
As an adult looking back on that dinner table debacle, my family’s socio-economic status was barely different than the frat boy’s situation. At that point in time I had an intact family and he had a family dealing with grief and loss and a new move to a new city and who knows what else.
His accusations were unfounded, but if I had been insecure, freaked out, emotional and neurotic, I might have believed every stinking word he said. Not because it was true, but because I lacked boundaries.
A strong back is the result of knowing who we are, deciding to live congruently with the values we profess to believe, and sometimes be willing to stand alone when our boundaries are under attack. It took decades before I developed a more consistently practiced strong back, but it is kind of neat to look back and realize that way back then I had one small spark of dignity within me. To that young girl I say, “Way to go!"