Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't let the past keep you from the present

FORT WORTH, TX, April 18, 2010—What is holding you back from reaching for your dreams? Or even from taking that necessary first step towards a new path and hopefully a new life?
Is it procrastination? If so, why? What holds a person back from starting an exciting journey to a better life? Life is loaded with responsibilities, but once they are cared for, what else?
Let's say, fear of the unknown. That's a common one. Sometimes it's hard to see past the fear even if it's only fear itself.
What's the worst that can happen? Lots of things come to mind, and most of the time none of them come to fruition. Yet fear can actually paralyze people physically as well put a halt to their lives.
Fear can keep people from taking chances. They never see their hopes and dreams come true. How sad.
Life isn't a place, it's an ongoing event. Like a train you have to hop aboard. Yet fear is packed with power and can bring life to a screeching halt.
Boundary violation is one of the biggest reasons for this behavior.
We all have boundaries. Even if one is abused, the barriers are still there - just not where they are supposed to be. Or enforced like they should be.
I looked for a definition of psychological boundaries and found several paragraphs explaining the concept. What I gleaned from my research is this: boundaries are a protective yet imaginary barrier possessed by people, like invisible armor.
Boundaries let others know where and what your comfort levels are. They let others know when they've gone too far. They illuminate those little red flags that rise up in your mind when something's not quite right.
When the barriers are breached against one's will it is considered abuse. Abuse can run the gamut from severe sexual and physical abuse all the way to subtle emotional manipulation.
Adults who were abused as children often never learn to set proper boundaries. Children aren't likely to learn about self-protection when violation is a big part of their lives.
Also, their personal integrity was so debased that boundaries can actually make the hurt worse. The less resistance, the faster it's over. Curl up in a ball and take it, the less it will hurt.
It's a paradox really. The defenses that help to protect an abused child can actually cripple them as adults.
The good news is that once this psychological defense is realized, it can be conquered.
The right and reasonable defenses can be learned.
People who've sustained violated boundaries are often ridiculed and shamed because of their reluctance to action or change. There's that fear again. They often hear, "Quit being a big baby and grow up!"
It's not that easy, and downright frightening for some. Sometimes fear so overwhelming that it can keep a person from life. Dreams and passions become unreachable.
It's also why some people keep choosing partners who hurt them. Or their love-lives are hit or miss at best. Their friends aren't much different.
What motivates these souls to keep choosing partners of one kind or another? Why do they keep coming back for more? I'm no expert but I believe it is love.
The desire to be loved is so strong that many souls cling to their imitation version of it. Even if they know it's not good for them. Some couldn't let go if they tried.
Why? The need for love is just as strong as the need for food, water, and shelter. So these folks keep trying, hoping each time to get it right. Sometimes they do, most often though, not.
Not until they get rid of old defenses and value themselves enough to learn new ones.
Hey, there's a new path right there: the path to self-respect and love.
It's exciting to say the least. Not always "good" exciting, but the rewards are immeasurable. We are all worth it too.
Are you having a hard time reaching out, or taking a step forward? Can you see past the fear? Maybe it's time you checked your psychological armor.
You'll be glad you did.

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Welcome! Here is the first column I sent to my editor this morning. It should be posted today or tomorrow.
I want to state for the record that unless a comment is really ugly and uncalled for I will post them. I don't care if the opinion of someone else differs from my own. I am a firm believer in Freedom of Speech and that everyone has a right to their opinions and to express them.
I also believe we can learn from others no matter how different their life experience is from our own.