Toxicity and Boundaries

Today’s sermon at church was a really hard one for me to hear.

For many years, I had no boundaries. I had no morals, scruples, or standards. I was in my twenties, a time when I was meant to be free yet not allowed to make mistakes. I had no idea what life was supposed to be or how to even live it. I had bound myself to the whims of others. I molded myself into what I believed others wanted me to be. I had no clue how to be myself. I hadn’t the slightest as to who I was. Only what others required of me without asking about me.

This is some treacherous territory for me.

It was only a few years ago that I truly realized who I was. I had fought for several years to establish my own identity. I knew exactly who I was and where I was headed. I was strong. I was independent (to a degree). I was fearless.

While I knew I could not conquer the world on my own, I knew I didn’t want to be alone. God didn’t create just Adam; He brought Eve into the world, straight out of the side. I knew I was not meant to be without someone. I went in a few dates, made a very small handful of friends, then set forth on a relationship.

The roses smelled so sweet in the beginning. I had few established boundaries. I knew what I would or wouldn’t do. I had no expectations of someone else. Perhaps I should have though. It may have saved me from a lot of heartache.

Hindsight is 20/20.

Subtlety is a cruel animal. It blinds us to the natural erosion of time. I did not wake up one morning and say, “whoa! When did this happen?” No, it happened over time. Very slowly and gradually.

I allowed myself to become molded into what someone else wanted.

I was the newborn butterfly returned to its cocoon. I was no longer free to fly. No longer allowed to be what had been attracted to in the first place.

Others saw it before I did. Again, hindsight is perfection at its finest. I never saw it until I availed myself the opportunity to step outside of my environment. I, Mia, had slowly eroded my joy of self-establishment. Who was I? What had I allowed to happen that I lost my identity? I did not recognize the person in the mirror staring back at me.

Like the path a flowing river creates, the tides of my personality had ebbed.

What few boundaries I had were gone. My toxicity levels were high. I began to search for the root of my bane existence. Existence. That was it in a nutshell. I existed. I was not living. I was not surviving. I was not thriving. I was simply existing. I was not even present in the moments of time.

My life, in its lackluster essence, was toxic.

Was it me directly? Was it the people around me? Was it my job that I supposedly loved? Was it my day-to-day routine?

What was the base element of the poison that adhered to my disposition, thus creating a deplorable shell of self?

I had allowed poison into my life. A person who was toxic within themselves. My personal boundaries had withered away and were replaced. Granted, the new boundaries were a higher set of moral standards, they should never have been set to replace my personality and who I was. Instead, the new boundaries should have been imposed gradually so as to not destroy the butterfly inside the cocoon!

With the toxicity safely removed, I am emerging once again. I still have no expectations of others, as we are all human and prone to failures of sorts. However, the standards and boundaries I have set for myself have changed. Never again will I allow a poisonous element eradicate or alter who I know I am to be.

I know what I will allow. I know what I will not accept.

Remove the toxic elements and set your boundaries. You are in control of your happiness.