Something you may not know about me: I can be a bit of a doormat. One downside to being able to put myself in other people’s shoes is, if I can understand where they are coming from, I wind up forgiving all sorts of things. No respect for what’s important me, or what my boundaries are? That’s okay! Refuse to acknowledge that our relationship is one where I give and give and give, and you can’t even bother to ask after something important going on in my life? No big deal! Have a habit of only contacting me or showing interest in me when you need something? You can’t help it. Only interested a friendship as you define it, and have no problem giving me the silent treatment as it suits you? Awesome!
Except, you know, not. But I still have a hard time drawing those boundaries. I have a hard time sticking up for myself when it is something that only effects me — and people walking all over me only effects me, and since I can understand it, it’s no big deal, right?
Odin says, wrong. A number of months ago my lack of boundaries reached a critical stage, where I ended up completely stressed out and unable to cope with said stress. Poseidon placed a strong emphasis on self-compassion. Pops? Pops put His foot down.
There are people in our lives who we owe our time, energy, and attention. Who that is for each of us will vary for all of us. For myself? I’m a home-body. I’m focused on family. I like a number of my coworkers, but I don’t actually want to go and hang out with any of them. We are friendly, a bump up from acquaintances. It doesn’t mean our interactions are fake . . . but they are superficial to a degree, and that’s normal.
I have a limited amount of “can deal with people” energy, and if those closest to me get shorted because I can’t maintain enough distance with acquaintances, that’s something I need to deal with. And Odin helped.
My litany of obligation (which yes, He makes me chant it when I need to remember) looks something like:
Poseidon–> Odin–> Beth–> Corbie–> Zerk–> Luna–> Neech–> our various spirits –> K –> R –> M –> S –> assorted other incarnate family members –> friends –> acquaintances and strangers.
To explain that a bit:
Poseidon–> Odin–> Beth–> Corbie–> Zerk–> Luna–> Neech
This is my immediate family. These are those p/People who are the center of my day and my immediate attention. Poseidon is my hearth, Odin follows closely behind. Neither of Them *need* me in the way that Beth may need me in order to get through the day, so it’s not all about those who are dependent upon you. It is about those who get the bulk of your time, attention, and energy. The order isn’t fixed. As it’s presented, I have the chronically ill listed before those in decent health, but it can be re-arranged as things crop up. During Corbie’s illness, for example, the entire list disappeared and it was all him. (It ought not have: Zerk and Lu both have chronic issues, just not ‘on death’s door’ chronic issues).
our various spirits –>
Top of the list here is Grim, who straddles the space between this list and the former list. Also here is Angel, Sassy, and Orion. Some who peek in from time to time, some who are here more frequently. Sometimes my father; more often grandparents, especially Beth’s grandmother. What amount of energy they get from me depends on how those in the first grouping are doing, and what the spirits are actually requesting. My father often presses for me to be involved with the sibling I’m not interested in being in contact with, and that’s strained our relationship a tad. Beth’s grandmother often presses for involvement on Beth’s part with her ancestral Powers, and Beth’s not interested in much of that, and that stresses things a tad, too.
K –> R –> M –> S –> assorted other incarnate family members –>
My brother, Beth’s daughter, me mum, and then other living family (whereby I mean people who I count as family, regardless of actual blood relationship).
This is where the “I will sacrifice any of my wants, needs, or time to help you even if it’s something I really don’t want to do, because I love you, and because you’re well-being or happiness matters more to me than my own.” ends.
friends –> acquaintances and strangers.
‘friends’ is a weird category for me. I suspect that what I think of as friends most would think of as acquaintances. If I was the type to want to hang out, maybe it would be easier to know the one from the other. In any event, this is the group of people where, if it’s not something I want to do, or if it’s something that is going to cost too much for me to give, or if it’s something that may make it harder for me to be there for my inner circle, it’s not something I’m going to do or give.
This is the category that I struggle with. This is the one where Odin asks, “What do you owe those people?” and the answer is, I don’t owe them anything beyond compassion and general kindness. Everything else is extra, and is to be given only if I have it to give, and only if it does not take away from what I might need to give to Corbie or Beth or Luna, should something with them come up.
It reads a bit calculating, and maybe a bit cold, maybe a bit sociopathic. But it’s part of my self-care. And, you know, maybe something like this might be useful to others, and so, I’ve written about it.