James Clear said, “The more control you have over your attention, the more control you have over your future.”
Part of the healing and growth process is keeping an Awareness Journal. Every now and then, I come across a journal entry that encompasses depth in their awareness. Pay attention to the following challenges in the journal entry below.
- Desire to connect with others
- Venting, looping
- False narratives (shadows)
- Cognitive awareness / cognitive distortion
- Rules of Engagement (communication blindspots)
- Being nice (no boundaries) vs. being kind (civility with boundaries)
This entry is reproduced with permission.
Maybe venting isn’t bad as long as it’s minimal. It’s not healthy bottling up emotions (which I do a lot). Though I think boundaries and self-control are important to have.
Personally, if I’m allowed to vent and there isn’t a firm boundary with respectful limitations then I start to do it all the time. Every time I feel bad, stressed, moody or emotionally negative, I run to the people who I believe will listen to me, and I can feel bad quite often. So, then those friends are hearing my negative baggage weekly, if not daily, and when people have their own negative stuff to deal with, after a while someone else dumping it on them constantly will drive them insane.
They don’t want to hurt your feelings, but they need to escape so they run away without so much as a goodbye. They will start actively ignoring me as a way of pushing me away, hoping that I’ll get the message and leave. Eventually I have to, because they won’t talk with me and work it out.
But if I were to hold a level of respect with them and they with me, we could agree ‘here are the boundaries, I’ll gently remind you if you start to cross them.’ Then neither needs to take offense when one of us points out, ‘Hey, you’re getting into a habit of venting. I don’t mind listening, but this thing you’ve been telling me about every week, I know it’s upsetting but either you can solve it or you can’t and if you can’t, you need to let it go. It’s destroying you.’
I think that kind of relationship is respectful and healthy. It allows friends to help one another stay healthy and keep from spiraling into a bad habit that could be very destructive to everyone. My past friends, I realize, never held boundaries with me. They let me go on a lot and I began to expect that from them. So, when things changed, that threw me off and I got angry with them. I believed they were wronging me.
They didn’t know they weren’t helping me out, that they accidentally trained me to be co-dependent on them. And then, when they stopped being there, it messed me up more. They had supplied me with emotional drugs and then took them away, cold turkey. I’d wanted their validation, affection, their praise and respect, and the more they gave me what I wanted without boundaries, the more I grew attached to them and depended on them for my happiness.
It’s taken me a long time to piece everything together. I thought I was a monster, cursed, broken. Then I moved to believing it’s the fault of other people, but it’s really a shared world problem that people aren’t very good communicators.
Self-awareness leads to self-regulation. It’s challenging to change without an awareness of the necessity to change. In this case, what you don’t know will hurt you.