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Healthy Boundaries

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In the last few months, I’ve attended two very different interviews for two very different reasons, but my God, it has been truly insane seeing the differences in my own self. Not between these two, obviously, but more a comparison of what I used to be like when I did my first ever interview to now. I can put my hands up, without a shadow of a doubt, and say that the differences between these are beyond description and truly a testament to my growth as a person. Now, I know I use this phrase a lot, especially in recent days, but you get to a point in life where things are suddenly clearer than they ever have been before. You realise that you are exactly where you were always supposed to be, and the things that were destined for you have made their way back to yourself in their given time. That in no way means I have my life together, by the way. It just means that I am more conscious of who I am, where I am, and where I want to be. It means that because I am allowing myself to handle life exactly as is, I am no longer letting people or situations into my life that are insincere or steer me off the path. 

I no longer exert energy into situations or pour into people who take away from me – no, I’m not talking about cancelling culture here, we need to take a chill pill with this because I’m seeing people out here cancelling others left, right, and centre, but forgetting to hold themselves responsible. What I am talking about though, is creating healthy boundaries. Boundaries for yourself, and for others. It’s not a one way street. You can’t place boundaries with others without putting in the work in your own self. It just doesn’t work like that. So, here are some ways I’ve been working on creating healthy boundaries for myself, and in turn, my relationship with others:

  • I’m getting better at saying no when I don’t want to do something/go somewhere without needing to justify myself – previously, I would have forced myself to stick to something I’d committed myself to because I didn’t want others to feel bad but now I ask myself, what about me?
  • I know what my social limit is and act on it accordingly – I’m no longer overbooking myself which means I’m much more relaxed and not angsty about timings with others because I can give them my full attention without the overwhelming need to get to the next thing
  • I remind myself that I am not responsible for every aspect of the lives of the people I love – often, I fell into the trap of feeling everything for everyone all at once, but I am learning that I do not need to hold myself personally responsible for the actions of others 
  • But the biggest one has been, pursuing the things I love because I love them despite other people’s reservations of my success rate – I have always said this to others and yet, never once to myself, but life is different now, and I truly do believe that not one of us is the reflection of other people’s failures

A lot of these things are very small, but they’ve made massive changes in my life. Being true to myself means that I feel a lot more confident in owning who I am and existing as myself, in place of a version of me who ‘fits the box’ or plays the inevitable role of ‘the cool girl’ – I know you know exactly what I’m talking about here. And so I guess being in this position has made my self-esteem come leaps and bounds – instead of fitting into a role, I’m making the roles fit me. The things I’ve been interviewed for in the last few months have been dreams that have been in the pipeline for a very long time, but the truth is, I’ve never felt confident enough in my own abilities to go ahead and reach them. 

But, here we are today. Striving to be my truest self, whilst also loving the people who bring light into my life, has been a magical experience. I don’t necessarily aim high and hope for the best in everything I do, but I give it my all and appreciate what comes out of it, be it good or bad. I am grateful enough to be able to look back at my old self and know what has worked for me and what hasn’t, but for those of you who still feel like you’re not quite at that point yet, know this today:

It’s okay. You don’t have to have your life together. You don’t have to know what you’re doing next week, let alone in the next 5 years. It’s okay to take all the wrong turns because it’s not a mistake. Nothing is a mistake. We’re just taking a different route to the same destination. But, you do have to keep giving it your all. Don’t you dare give up. You are alive, and that in itself is the opportunity to start again.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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