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I spent a lot of time trying to find happiness through love. In the process, I forgot myself. That’s when I realised I needed boundaries.
However, in the process, I forgot myself. That was when I decided to create boundaries.
People who mistreat you, devalue you, do not do it in a moment of fury. They do it intentionally and with full consciousness. The question is why and how long will you take it?
I have an acquaintance who lives by herself in a beautiful cottage community. Before the pandemic, I used to frequent her place. She is a breath of fresh air. Conversations with her just make things feel so simple.
Recently, I was upset about a few things when I remembered a conversation I had with her.
I call her an acquaintance because while we know each other through a common friend we never crossed that boundary of being friends. She is very firm about keeping boundaries in her relationship and it started after she had a full-throttle experience of relationships.
As a girl, she told me that she was very naïve, trusting and would take every person at face value. Relationships mattered the most to her. When she loved, she loved with a fierceness that consumed her own self.
She thought this was the only way to be until she saw that all her relationships including that with her children showed signs of ungratefulness. In all her relationships, she was always the only one who understood, the one who forgave first and the one who was always there.
She did everything for love. But what she did not realise is that even the closest relationships need to have a set of defined boundaries.
However, it hit her the hardest when her teenage children started taking her for granted. ‘That’s what moms are for,’ her son told her one day while passing a stack of dirty plates to her after a friend had visited him.
While he said it playfully, it triggered something inside her. Mothers are creatures who are often naturally tuned to love selflessly. Once you have created a human and pushed it out of your body, you cannot just stop feeling the tenderest emotions for it.
Still, she realised that even this relationship, if not guarded can potentially turn toxic. There had been relationships in her life, especially the close ones where she was always taken for granted for being her genuine self.
She told me, ‘There is so much to life than trying to make our relationships work. Honestly, there is so much to do rather than being upset about what people said or how they behaved. I have spent almost a decade trying to find happiness through love while loving other people. However, in the process, I forgot myself. That was when I decided to create boundaries. Boundaries that not even the closest ones can cross.
‘I had wasted a lot of time investing in and fixing relationships. And I spent my teenage years and most of my adulthood, either just feeling happy based on a relationship or feeling sad based on a tiff, which, well, happened regularly. One fine day, I realised I could’ve just flown to Japan to watch the cherry blossoms, rather than sitting and living my life around relationships,’ she continued.
She further said, ‘After this realisation, I started to build on myself. I started doing things that made me happy and feel fulfilled rather than waiting for relationships to work my way. Since I can remember, I have always had a passion for baking. So I left the corporate world to start my career as a full-time baker. The success of my bakery shop is something my husband and children cannot stop gushing about. Very recently, I took my whole family for a week-long trip to Japan. It has always been a place I was enchanted by from afar.’
Then she told me about a conversation she had with her son. One day, as he sat on the sofa, biting into a succulent piece of chicken puff and preparing for movie night, he said, ‘Wow Ma! This puff is a literal piece of edible art!’
‘Thank you,’ she replied while continuing to do the accounts for her shop.
‘Also, the Japan trip was such a good idea! I am so glad you made it possible. Takes the financial stress off dad too!’ he added
‘That’s what moms are for,’ she told him with a wink and giving him a practical demonstration of what women are really capable of.
Picture credits: Still from a Mother’s Day ad campaign on YouTube
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A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
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