I was 36 years old when I realized for the first time that I was allowed to have boundaries with my parents, and that it was okay for me to expect those boundaries to be respected. Today, at 37, I have realized for the first time that I can be in disagreement with my family members and it’s okay. They can be upset that I disagree, and it’s okay.
I am 37 years old. I’ve been married twice. I no longer need their approval for my self-worth. I value my own intelligence enough to be secure in my choices.
I have been reacting to their reaction to my opposition. I’ve not been asking myself questions about the situation.
– is our disagreement causing harm? (Is someone dying while we come to terms?)
– does our coming to an agreement on this matter, in the long term? In the short term? Ever?
– am I trying to gain understanding, wanting to be seen/validated, or do I simply not want to be ‘wrong’?
– is the other person trying to gain understanding, wanting to be seen/validated, or do they simply not want to be ‘wrong’?
– have I made it clear to the other person that I am not attempting to invalidate their experiences, even if I completely disagree with their choice/belief/opinion, or cannot understand their perspective? (Have I acknowledged the Divine within them, or am I focused on their Ego/Humanity?)
– am I feeling fear or anxiety? We tend to freeze, mentally, when experiencing these emotions, and agreement, even if possible, is much less likely. Do I need a break, or should I end the conversation for now (or for good)?
Questions like these will help me keep my perspective on things, especially with my family. Especially now, in the infancy of my individualization. I’m not used to not being afraid of disagreeing, with anyone. Even online, I usually have anxiety attacks if I have to disagree with someone, or if I think I will upset them, or that they will react negatively in any way to me, my words, my opinions, my looks, my education, my… existence. It’s strange to say that it’s okay to disagree with someone and actually mean it.
As I sit here, rolling the idea around in my mind, I can actually feel my body’s habitual responses to even the thought of conflict. The tightening in my chest and stomach, my palms beginning to dampen… but my mind is calm. That’s how automatic my reaction to conflict is. I only have to imagine it, and not even a specific conflict with a specific person… no, just the thought of any conflicts.
I have a feeling that I will be coming back and reading my own words many many times, until they sink in fully, and the knee-jerk anxiety attack symptoms stop, at least! I hope you all found something useful in my words today!
Namaste & Blessed be!