Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What I think I deserve

Deep in my core I have been battling with the concept of what kind of treatment I should accept and it has been a slow growth process for me that is finally speeding up. In recent months I have felt myself respond to things in very different ways and I can now see that the change is in my own perception of how things should work. I am really seeing the shift in two areas...

First, it does not even occur to me not to stand up for myself when someone comes too close to my own personal boundaries. My body, my spirit, my soul, and my emotions are mine. I choose whom I share myself with, and I decide how am willing to be treated. There have been a couple of situations recently where I was able to communicate on behalf of my personal safety and I did not even have to stutter or rehearse it. It came out of me quickly, gracefully, and as if I really believed I deserve better. That is huge.

Secondly, I am re-evaluating some of the experiences in my past that I just received without question and now I can see that I accepted things I never needed to. Today I was getting ready to drop my kids off at MDO and was thinking about how hot it is going to get and rejoicing that I am not pregnant this summer. I then remembered a situation that happened when I was pregnant with my second child and I just had to say to myself, "Wow I so would have handled that differently now."

I was pregnant during the summer with all of my children, but with my second child I was still working and the committee that dealt with HR issues for church employees approached me and asked me to change offices with someone. (Now, the person that approached me was my aunt,...the chair of that committee, which alone was a huge boundary issue) The concept in and of itself was fine for me, even still today I don't regret being open to the switch. I didn't care what space I had to work in. I was grateful for any office, because at my first church I had a desk in the copy room. Anyway, as it worked itself out in practicality, my husband and I ended up moving the office ourselves (I probably would have done it by myself had I not been several months pregnant) and we even moved much of the other staff members things as well. And at the end of all of the transition, the other member of the staff complained about something, I can''t even remember what now, and I actually felt bad and apologized.

Now that I think about it again, I think...what was I thinking??? I had been on staff for 6 years by then, the other member was brand spankin new and ended up only being on staff for a short time. She never said thank you. I agreed to move during the summer and never asserted myself enough to ensure that the promised air conditioner was installed. So here I was a long time staff member, physically moving offices in the summer, without air conditioning...all while being pregnant and I thought I deserved it, so I said nothing except the occasional questioning on when the air conditioner would be installed. I said NOTHING.

It did not even occur to me that I had the ability to question that, but my emotion knew, because I had a twinge of resentment even then. I thought my resentment meant I was being selfish, so I did not honor that and I just let it go the way it went. If that same sort of thing were to happen now, I think that I would pay attention to my feeling of resentment and identify it as self preservation, not selfishness. I still would have changed offices, though I would have asked to have someone else manage that, and I would not have accepted the circumstances I did. Only I can be my own best advocate. It is my job to inform the world about where my personal boundaries are. I do not have to accept someone invading my space, or as in this case, I don't have to stay silent when someone ventures into my space without conscious awareness.

I am grateful for the ability to participate in retrospection and introspection. I see things in a new light as a result.

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