“No, Sandra, what I used to be was a pushover with crappy boundaries, and I let you walk all over me, and you loved that about me.”
About six years ago, I taught a class in Greensboro, NC. I think it was a communication class.
At that class, unbeknownst to me, was a woman who had decided that she was going to learn to be like me.
And so, she made herself a part of my life.
And eventually, explained what she wanted to learn.
And I warned her that what she wanted would be hard, and it would suck, and she would change so much that the people she loved most then she may not even like once she’d done what she was aiming towards.
And she believed me, but she didn’t understand.
And six years later, she still has people in her life who want the old her back. The one who would do anything for them, even at terrible cost to herself. And it still hurts to know that that’s what they really loved about her, not who she is as a person.
That they are sad and disappointed that she has learned to stand up for herself and what she wants and needs, instead of tripping over herself trying to make others happy.
Some of the people she was closest to, she learned she didn’t like at all once she realized they were simply leeching off what she had to give, and she had to make a break with them.
And her kids also suffered.
Because some of those people were part of their lives, not just hers.
And yet, she kept working to become the person she wanted to be.
And walked through the pain.
And smiled through the tears.
And met new people who only knew her as her growing vision of herself. With boundaries. And a newfound strength and determination to live the life she felt like she earned—not the one that people told her she deserved.
And still, an old friend will ask her for something, or try to treat her in habitual ways from years past, and she’ll stop them, and they’ll get flustered or confused, because they keep wanting and needing the old her.
And that person doesn’t exist anymore.
I’m quite proud of her.