by | Mar 3, 2023 | Rocio Solaire Roca, Wellness

Every year, the first week of January, I create a vision board. I search Google images
and choose about 2-3 images related to each of the 7 chakra categories. I copy/paste
everything from Couple goals to the home I want to live in, desired travel destinations
and body and health goals. I also come up with 7 affirmations, one that corresponds to
each area I want to manifest and I give my year a name. Giving our year a name, helps
us remain focused on the most important area we want to improve, attract or dissolve.

The name of my 2023 is Boundaries.

My mental awareness journey began 7 years ago after I left my marriage. I can’t express
with words the life changing benefits that therapy has had in my life and how it has
improved my relationships with myself and others. One key player in my changed
behavior and outlook on life was learning to set healthy boundaries with everyone and
demanding my worth.

Mom. I remember The first person I tested my healthy boundary theory with was my
mother. After years of emotional abuse, I finally started to call her out on her actions.
At times it took just holding up a mirror to allow her to see for herself how
inconsiderate she was, and other times I had to nicely say bye bye and hang up the
phone. Of course the end of our conversations would be followed by her texting
rampage (a negative trait I incidentally inherited from her) and I would be forced to
block her for several days after. But then magic happened and little by little she started
to respect my boundaries. And our relationship as well as my emotional health
improved significantly. Yes, it was that easy!

Next, it was my dad’s turn. During a conversation with my dad, I realized that he went
on and on about everything that I was supposed to do for my brother, his wife and his
whole family. After 45 minutes of listening to him giving me particular instructions on
everything I was supposed to do to pick up another adult’s slack, I finally interrupted
him and said one of the most magical words in both the Spanish and English language:
NO! I then proceeded to recite the following- “from now on, I expect everyone in this
family to pick up their own slack and deal with the consequences of their own actions.
The same way I have done my whole life. While I respect everyone’s way of life, none
of us are free of the consequences of our actions. I am here for emotional support and
spiritual guidance. But I am not anyone’s savings account, your cab driver or your bail
bondsmen”. My kids, siblings and others were next on my list.

During these boundary setting “sessions” with my family members, I noticed a specific
feeling arising-GUILT. The process of making my family understand that I was no
longer an ATM. That I was no longer running to the ER in the middle of the night to
convince my brother to go to rehab. That I was not my mother’s emotional punching
bag. This all came with grave consequences. When I started standing up for myself, I
was faced with harsh criticism, insults and tantrums. My mother accused me of being a

selfish monster. And my dad ghosted me. Every one of my NOs came accompanied by
an overwhelming feeling of stress, anxiety and guilt. And all the feelings of
unworthiness associated with years of emotional abuse and bad programming. Those
toxic programmings that teach us to be a people pleaser and be in constant search of
outside validation.

Other times, the guilt felt so strong that I gave in to the selfish demands and requests of
others, only to regret it. Because I ended up either feeling depressed, ashamed of
myself for giving in or in debt. But even worse, I noticed that no matter how much I
gave, it was never appreciated and my mom still thought I was the most selfish person
on the face of the earth.

Boundaries and the guilt associated with setting them, was a topic I worked on with my
therapist for a long time. She was always there to hold my hands and to remind me of
my worth and also to remember to be compassionate with myself. My therapist also
taught me that there were two types of guilt. Justified and unjustified guilt. Justified
guilt is when it makes sense to feel that you have done something wrong. This kind of
guilt, she explained, served a purpose. You feel that you’ve done something that
violates your values or something that hurt someone else. You engage in the emotion
and you sit with the lesson. You can reach out to the person and validate their feelings
and ask for forgiveness. Then it becomes possible to forgive yourself and let it go.
Unjustified guilt is of no benefit to yourself or others. You feel guilty for having done
nothing wrong. There is no lesson. Pertaining to my family, I was quick to identify it
was unjustified guilt I was suffering with.

“The only people who get upset about setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from
you having none”
I love writing quotes and I don’t know who wrote this one but I could not
have said it better. Because the people who love and respect you, would never ask you to
compromise your values to satisfy their needs. Nor should you ever take away another’s
responsibility and throw someone else the burden. I know many parents who pin one sibling’s
responsibility on the other and this is not healthy and it is not okay. We all have our own
responsibility and burdens to carry and when we pick up other people’s slack continuously, it
just becomes a vicious cycle and it does the other person a disservice because they miss the
lesson. And instead of helping them, the pattern repeats. If an individual continues to move
through life with little to no consequences, he/she will continue to repeat the same patterns of
behavior until maybe it’s too late and there’s no point of return. In this case we are not helping,
we are enabling. Which is exactly what ended up happening with my brother.

Even after many years of therapy and countless books, I still struggle with finding a healthy
balance between helping, saying no and enabling. But the year 2022 taught me many hard lessons
and shined a light on the areas of my life where I needed to set healthy boundaries. Last year,
I even read a book titled SetBoundariesFindPeace. This book was life changing and I highly
recommend it. However, from time to time, I still find myself trapped in this “unjustified guilt”
that the narcissists of the world make us feel.

Setting boundaries has been a long road to recovery for me and I know the work is never
finished but I remain hopeful that there is peace to be found on the other side of

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