In the movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, one of my favorite lines is, “We only accept the love we think we deserve.”
I have seen this, in myself and those around me.
My oldest son is an alcoholic. Through childhood and subsequent trauma, he received the programming that he doesn’t deserve love. He has a hard time spending time with our family because we shower him with love. During one of my big hugs, he told me, “Mom, you love too much.” It made me hold on tighter and pour more love into him.
He lives with his girlfriend who can get really mean. She says horrible things to him, reinforcing his beliefs that he’s a terrible person who doesn’t deserve love. But here’s the thing — she doesn’t say anything to him that he doesn’t already tell himself. She’s merely an external reflection of his internal beliefs.
When we heal, a beautiful thing happens. We begin to love ourselves. That love that we offer ourselves melts away those beliefs, elevating us. We start to recognize that we deserve more love than we could have possibly imagined. That recognition renders a beautiful change in us.
So we’ve changed internally, but that doesn’t mean that our physical relationships automatically catch up with us. There’s this lag time between our acceptance of our worthiness, and others treating us with the love and respect that we now recognize we deserve. We see it, we feel it, but we don’t quite know what to do about it.
Boundaries are the bridge between our new selves and the relationships we are now ready to create. They teach others how to show up in love towards us.
But there’s a catch!
We don’t always know how to create and maintain boundaries!
That requires a certain skill set that perhaps you, like me, weren’t properly taught.
Boundary development is taught during the first three years of life. And if your parents, like mine, were imperfect, then they might have done an imperfect job teaching you the skills necessary for boundaries. Especially if childhood trauma was involved.
You can’t go back in time, wave a magic wand, and make your parents perfect. But you can offer them grace, release them from that role, and choose to parent yourself. You can learn to identify what was missing in your boundary development and GIVE those things to yourself.
When you learn to master the skill set required to create and maintain boundaries, a beautiful thing happens. You bridge the gap between the old and the new. Your relationships deepen and become so much more rich. You abound in love.
And you heal!
You break the cycle of wounding and trauma and replace it with a cycle of healing.
You heal, and then you grow in self-love, and then you set boundaries to teach those around you how to love you better, and then you heal some more.
Isn’t it amazing?
But you don’t have to take my word for it! You can choose to have this experience for yourself. Join me in my
to begin this wonderful transformation.
Photo by Ryan Pernofski on Unsplash