Photos by: Bearded Bousman Photo Co.
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you are having a great week so far. I just got back from Martha's Vineyard and can't wait to share the photos with you all soon. The flowers there were amazing and just like Cape Cod, last year, the houses are so cute! This is the 3rd installment of the "To Live Free" series and I want to talk a little bit about having the best relationships possible.
I think nearly every relationship book on the planet would agree with me on this one. The first step to having the best relationships possible is to communicate clearly. You need recognize your needs and communicate them to yourself and to others. The problem is, it's not always easy to figure out what you're trying to say in the first place. This happens to me all the time! I get a gut feeling that I am uncomfortable or upset, but can’t figure out why or how to verbalize the feeling. It’s super frustrating!
I read once that "Resentment is an ask for a boundary." So, to identify where I have a need, I ask myself: Who or what am I feeling resentful toward in this situation and why?
Exploring my resentment usually highlights a place where I need to establish a boundary. There are two types of boundaries, in my opinion: 1) A boundary for another person and 2) A boundary for yourself
Boundaries that other people need to know about are usually easy to identify. One light-hearted example is in the area of sleep. I am much better at this now, but when I first started dating Jordan, it was hard to end our days together. I'd end up getting home so late, barely getting any sleep, and I was dragging the next day. I love Jordan, yet I started feeling resentful that he would keep me out late.
Then I realized that it wasn't his fault that I wasn't standing up for something obviously very important to me. I had to recognize my need and communicate it to him. I especially have to watch out for this when I’m on my own. I still forget that I need the sleep sometimes. I break my own boundary and am an emotional mess the next day. But, now that I’ve identified that need, it is easier to communicate clearly what’s going on.
Boundaries that I need know about are usually not as easy to identify. For example, I met a girl last summer who was super nice, full of energy, loved Jesus, and was just gorgeous. During our conversation, I found myself really liking her. Then, in the next moment, I felt extremely resentful toward her! I couldn't figure out why I felt resentment, where I had just felt admiration. Then I realized that I incorrectly believed she had what I felt very drained of at the time: energy, an out-going personality, and a “light” from spending time with God. Even though I knew it was not helpful, I let myself walk right into the trap of negative comparison and, even worse, I let myself wallow in it.
One boundary I can set in a moment like this is to take a few minutes to myself to get my mind straight by defining who I am. An even better boundary is to start each day defining who I am - in a positive light and in the light of who God tells me I am – and that’s loved (John 3:16), cherished (Psalm 139), made in His image (Romans 8:29), made with a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11), and taken care of (Mathew 6:25). I’m definitely still working on this one too, but I know life will get so much better each day I more clearly recognize the signs of comparison and insecurity and stop them at the source.
Have you felt resentment toward someone or something recently? I want to challenge you to figure out what boundaries you need to verbalize that are currently being crossed. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below or directly via email. Feel free to email me at any time firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for stopping by!