Around two years ago, I had hit a wall. I knew I needed to address the issues, but I didn’t have a good idea of how. I had never dealt with something like this and when conflict would come – I just froze. So, crunch had come. By crunch time, I mean that my middle was crunched with stress. It hurt running into that metaphorical brick wall, and I went to a class which was a light bulb turning on moment for me. I finally put the pieces into place of how to be assertive, set good boundaries, and yet also wanting to care for someone else.
The thing about any kind of new habit or new skill is that it takes time to learn. So, I very consciously went about trying to do this. Reading a boundaries book, I took great comfort in knowing that when first learning to set boundaries you often would go overboard and draw them too tightly. I set out to put my new skills to work, and they did work. Every success made me a little more confident. With the failures, I would remember that this was a skill and it took time to develop.
It’s been somewhere around two years since that awful day of running into brick walls (over and over and over), and then going to that class. It’s been somewhere around two years and I just realized last week that I can do these things. I can be assertive. I can be caring and compassionate and assertive, while being gracious. It’s not a perfect mix and I am still learning. But, I didn’t even realize how much it had become ingrained in me.
A friend on face book posted, asking if there was something we could change about ourselves, what would it be? The answers were all good. People want patience and caring, forgiveness, kindness, persistence, family, and listening; they are all good answers. Realizing that this skill which seemed beyond my ability when I was learning it has now really started taking hold in me, it made me start thinking about what I want to focus on next.
Confidence in self, based on my values and not on others? Gracious hospitality that is more of an effortless art and less of an enjoyable effort? Believing in my intelligence capability when it comes to topics which are very difficult for me to grasp, and finding ways to really understand them? A better understanding of God and His perspective? Wisdom to know the difference between someone’s opinion and someone’s good opinion and to be able to let one go and hold the other close. Perhaps it’s just learning how to write a doable to do list! Practice of trust in God, even when I don’t understand and to step out in faith, even when I can’t see the path. I’m not sure – there is so much I want to grow into! All I know is that in a few more years, I want to be able to look back and think, wow – this new character trait has become part of who I am.