People can only meet you as deeply as they can meet themselves. If one can’t handle the complexities of your being + experience, they probably can’t handle the complexities of their own.
I’ve learnt to let go of, with love, things and people that no longer serve me.
At first I used to think that my health, apart from taking away things that I loved, took away people I loved. Today, after a decade of dealing with the ups and downs of my health, I’ve realised one important thing: my health is a beautiful filter for all relationships in my life. My relationship with people as well as things. When it takes away, it keeps aside the best of the best.
I’ve lost people I thought I couldn’t live without and also gained people I least expected would show me so much love and understanding. The support and guidance that has shown up in my life in the last four years has been immensely helpful for me to make peace with where I’m at.
I don’t mean to say for a moment that those who are no longer in my life are bad people. But, they were incapable or unwilling to swim in the deep. They preferred the shallow waters. Not everyone’s realities are the same and some of us are more aware of this + willing and capable of accepting it when it comes to people we care about.
My health has also taught me another thing: the importance of healthy boundaries. Drawing boundaries with people is not the same as building walls between you and them. You get to decide who gets to visit the garden you’re growing, how long they stay and what they take with them.
If someone had told me these things years ago, I think I might just have suffered a little less. I would like to think I had to learn these lessons through personal experiences. Looking back, no matter how painful it was to let go of things, people and the idea of a certain kind of life, I would say it has been an eye-opening experience which has now aligned me with a life more supportive of who I am and my reality.
I’ve always believed in quality over quantity in most areas of my life. Today, the people I am surrounded with are those who listen, try to understand and also do their own research when it comes to having a loved one with a life-altering illness. They also trust my experience when I speak about it and we’ve learned to have a more open and honest communication.
Grateful to be back home after spending a day at the hospital. I had a random and severe episode of syncope two afternoon’s back but thankfully nothing life-threatening showed up. The cause remains unclear but from our understanding, it could’ve been anything from dehydration to my gastro symptoms to extreme fatigue.
Thank you to the kind souls who reached out. I feel so loved and care for. A much bigger thank you to those who’ve stood by me through the thick and thin.
I don’t see a reason why we need to entertain toxicity or things/people who trigger us in our space. I do believe in self-reflection, though, so I make sure to sit with my thoughts for a bit. three things I keep in mind are:
1. People are the way they are for their own reasons and their judgement or behaviour has nothing to do with you. More often than not, it’s a reflection of their own insecurities and sometimes they may not even be aware of it
2. It’s your responsibility to maintain your sanity. Do what needs to be done to protect it, whether that’s to say a clear no or a yes. Show up for yourself.
3. Do the self-reflection. Ask yourself what is triggering to you and why because that’ll give you some insight and show you where work needs to be done.
I wonder why things have to be so extreme out here.
Either people help you or they don’t give a shit. Either you’re expected to need help all the time or not need any. If you ask for help too much, you’re considered helpless. If you don’t need help (they want to help) and you say, “No, thank you!”– that’s rude.
If you expect people to look out for you, you get no say as to what’s okay and what’s not. You don’t get to draw a line and drawing that line is so necessary! People hover over you day in day out as if you’re in need supervision when all you need is perhaps for them to check on you once in a while. If you tell them you need space, they take it personally as if it’s all about them when it’s more about your personal space and what helps you heal.
I’ve noticed that out here, you are forever expected to entertain and be entertained when all we need sometimes is some quiet time and letting each other be. I fail to understand how a group of people can start chattering away at the crack of dawn and continue chattering away throughout the day, only taking breaks to use the loo and shower, and perhaps to sleep.
I see how there could be some positives to spending time together and doing things together — I mean, I love it too! Cooking and dining together, sitting around and catching up, playing games as a group… all that is great for bonding! What is beyond my understanding is how people don’t need pockets of their quiet, personal time to tend to themselves.
(I mean, sure, we all function differently and by no means am I saying it has to be just one way or the other, but let’s just say, it’s absolutely hard for me to relate to. Just like my illness and my lifestyle is hard for others to relate to.)
It’s such a misconception that tending to yourself means you’re selfish.
Self-care is neccessary.
When you learn to tend to yourself, you are able to be at your best self for others. When you learn to give to yourself first, you learn to give wholeheartedly to others. It’s through learning to set healthy boundaries for yourself that you learn to respect those of others. It’s through sharing quiet moments with yourself that you can truly share time with others. From my understanding, for us to forge deeper relationships with those around us, we must begin with forging a deep relationship with our ‘self’ first. And maybe this concept is too foreign for some parts of the world but personally, it has made the greatest impact in my life and how I’ve come to terms with my illness. The journey of self acceptance has a lot to do with self-care. And self-care has a lot to do with drawing a line.
If there is anything that I truly wish for, it is for our culture to introduce concepts like self-care and healthy boundaries from a young age. Imagine how far we’d come.
An old post which was left unpublished for a while
This place still reminds me of pain and suffering. A pain that held me back for years and has taken me years to let go.
This place isn’t quite home. It never felt like home and I’m not afraid to say so anymore.
This place was more of a refuge from another place claiming to be home but all it did was caused more suffering.
I searched everywhere for a place I’d want to come back to and only found places I wanted to run away from. Farther and father, every year.
Soon I realised I had to create a home for myself and that this process had to begin from within. That safe space I so terribly craved and needed had to be created with love, first towards myself.
I had to learn to be my own pillar of support and for that I had to unlearn the idea of constantly supporting and accommodating for everyone else.
To create a home for myself, I had to first be willing to accept my story; one that is way more than what I speak about.
Today, I am thankful to have a safe space for myself. A sanctuary of my own where I get to take care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
A space that allows me to hear my own voice and follow my heart. A space where my creativity runs wild. A space where I get to build new relationships and tend to those that matter. A space that protects me because I have learned to protect it with healthy boundaries.
I am thankful to have found silence. That stillness, which some would run away from because it’s just too much to handle. I am so thankful to have realised that once you do truly come home, there is never any need to seek it else where.
And if ever I need to rebuild a home for myself all over again, I know exactly where to start.
-not quite home
I’ve been practicing setting healthy boundaries for over three years now. Initially, it used to feel scary, the thought of setting boundaries even with your loved ones or those you once loved but over time, I realised that it is okay to feel terrible about it and yet want to draw a line between yourself and anyone else.
It is important to protect your space; both internally and externally. That fear, that terrible feeling which sometimes feels like guilt is usually temporary and when you do in fact start seeing some positive shifts and change from learning to set healthy boundaries, that temporary feeling does disappear. Soon, you experience a very light, freeing feeling. I know this for sure.
I found peace in knowing that I’m doing what I’m doing for my the sake of my well-being and it always seemed worth it.
Setting healthy boundaries in your close and distant relationships is an integral part of self-care. It does not mean that you don’t tend to others. It means that you learn to tend to yourself first. Shifting your focus and attention towards what or who really matter frees up space and energy which can definitely be directed towards other greater things. There were many times in my life when events and situations around me made me feel helpless, as if there was no form of separation between me and others. I found that I was running low on energy for myself and that it was affecting my entire being.
It took me years to learn to set healthy boundaries and say ‘no’, firmly and politely where necessary.
Sometimes I catch myself slipping off my practice as well but I’m quicker to find my space and bring myself to stand my ground. You are allowed to go to any extent to ensure that your peace, solitude and sanity are well taken care of.