During #reverb15, I talked about a concept that was one of my "ah ha" moments from last year during a post about one of my favorite books from last year. Still highly recommending the book, if you're interested. The big takeaway for me was from the chapter entitled How Your Need For Certainty Disrupts Your Desire For Freedom.
It boils down to a simple truth. The more definitions we place on ourselves - I call these the 'I Am' boundaries - the more we limit ourselves inside four walls of certainty from the potential to become who we are meant to be. You are setting up an 'I Am' boundary when you feel grounded in a classification of your personality and your potential.
I am not classifying these boundaries a bad thing. Knowing ourselves inherently allows us to operate in the real world. It helps us in our interactions with others and allows us to maximize our own coping mechanisms in times of crisis. This is something we definitely shouldn't take for granted.
Here is an example. As recently as 2011, I had said "I am afraid of dogs. I am not a dog person." If any of you have known me since then, you know this to be a fact. I allowed my fear of dogs, born from a traumatizing experience in my youth, to perpetuate long into my adulthood. I used my boundary statements to justify my irrational behavior around other people's pets. Is this wrong? Absolutely not. It gave me a lot of inner peace and comfort to just stay away, and for pet owners to know that they should maintain control of their dogs around me so that I wouldn't panic.
Enter: Levi. G has had him since a puppy, and when we moved in together, I needed to get my shit together. I was timid around him for a while- as he was of me! And we slowly figured out how to be OK with the basics- putting the harness on, feeding, and the ultimate horrible awful thing: the hairbrush. I went from being an "I am afraid of dogs" person to "I am a Levi person" and Levi taught me the temperament of dogs, their inherent kindness and playfulness, and their primal desire to just be loved. And now, I have found joy in dogs of many sizes and shapes and even temperaments. I admit though... I am still a bit terrified of the unpredictability of cats. LOL- it's always something.
Looking back, it makes me feel very sad that I could have gone my whole life not ever experiencing the unconditional love and undying loyalty of a dog. Or, any pet, I imagine. I don't know how I could have put down my 'I Am' boundaries before I did, but being aware that defining myself a certain way allowed me to perpetuate a behavior that ceased to serve me is something that I want to take with me. It's definitely OK to not be a dog person. But, could I have been more open to becoming one by dropping the definition and excuses?
In our quest to feel secure in our certainties of ourselves, are we limiting the person we ultimately could become? What are you becoming?
Leave me a message or comment on the Facebook or Instagram feed on what boundary you've put up that you are willing to try to take down to allow something great to happen. #iambecoming