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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Feelings.  Boundaries.  Walls.

During a messy period in my 20s, I lost my way. I had no boundaries which meant I was a doormat at both work and home. During the lost years, I floundered about and drank (a lot) because it was better than feeling (more on that later). I got tired of the floundering and in desperation, I went to therapy. Personally, I feel everyone should go to therapy. Instead of mandatory military service, therapy would be good. You’d work on finding & using your voice, not being a doormat, owning your truth, shit like that. And we’d all be better for it. So I went to therapy and worked on boundaries (among other things). When I make up my mind to do something, I’m going to master it. Which means I recently realized I may have gone a little overboard and, instead of boundaries I build a wall. You notice how Trump bellows on about building a wall in Mexico? He doesn’t say, “We need to set boundaries with Mexico. So I’m going to work on this and partner with their leaders.” Nope. He says he’s gonna build a wall. Keep them out. No conversation. Done. Anyway, my wife recently helped me realize that sometimes I build a wall instead of hold a boundary. She’s right. Do you realize what this means? It means I just compared myself to Trump. Christ. Ok. The good news is that I am self aware and can change. I think this relates to how I had to go to remedial hug training last year. I think this relates to feelings. You know - those pesky little bastards whom I’d attempted to drown in alcohol (spoiler alert: it didn’t work). Frankly, feelings and I have never been besties. My own feelings. Other people’s feelings. After I enlisted in the Army, I would return home on leave to visit my family and would the visit would end and we were exchanging goodbyes, I would sternly admonish my family, “No tears! No emotion!” At the slightest quiver of a lip or watery eyes. (Right now, everyone’s wondering how it’s possible I work in HR. Me too.). I was a tiny Trump because I could keep my emotions in check but that facade would no doubt crumble if my parents emotions entered the picture. On Monday night, I arrived at a hotel in Columbus late, having slogged through their shoddily plowed streets and I was feeling feelings. So I messaged someone who’s been mediating more that my recent sporadic attempts. And, I basically asked him about mediation and what we do with feelings, which is as crazy as it sounds but he didn’t miss a beat and had this to say about meditation and emotions... “’s really all about creating distance between you and the particular emotion. Then recognizing the emotion, determining it’s purpose, and then coming to respect the emotion for what it is. The meditation piece is more about creating an environment to become aware of the emotion. The interesting thing is, the anger, hate, sadness, and/or etc is neither good nor bad... It just is and it is there to help you in someway. In essence, to protect you.” Oh. Right. I often think to myself, “Meditation. I don’t have time for meditation!” And immediately hear Gabrielle Bernstein’s voice in reply, “Well, do you have time to feel like shit?” Well, OBVIOUSLY I do!!! My best meditations are when I can picture someone I am really struggling with, like say Trump, and picture them as a tiny tot. It’s hard to send anything but good, compassionate thoughts to an infant or small child. And when I give myself some compassion as well, things improve. My mood. I stop being a dictator and halt construction on my walls. I examine my feelings & am often like, “Oh right! You asshats aren’t fact!!!” Stuff like that. So go picture yourself, or that person who wronged you, or even Trump as a tiny kiddo if it helps you feel those neither good nor bad feelings. I’m going to give it a shot.

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