SO WHAT IS THE WORK?
For me, this work has always been about finding (and keeping) your joy, finding your peace, and feeling comfortable + confident accessing it by figuring out what keeps you from having it in the first place. You have to give yourself permission to outgrow toxic environments, people who don’t support you, unhealthy relationships, fear-based thinking, perfectionism, scarcity – all of the things that keep us small. All of the the things that we’ve learned + experienced while growing up, the microaggressions or passive aggressive relationships we’ve encountered that indirectly told us we weren’t worthy. We have to make a choice to outgrow + grieve those experiences so we can have room for the joy.
THIS WORK REQUIRES YOU TO...
Be willing to show up for yourself. I believe that we all have what we need within us, but overtime we’ve forgotten – via manipulation, fear, disappointment, trauma, and all of the negative + tough stuff life throws at us. Even though it’s not easy to look at the hard parts, it’s important to understand that even when we’re not looking, they’re still with us. And when we’re not working to make peace with them, grieve them, or whatever we feel is necessary to move forward – it becomes a hindrance.
I don’t believe life is about digging up every single experience + working through them all day everyday. But, intentionally making space for our healing gives us the space + the tools to come up and out of the tough stuff….and back to our joy.
One day, I was recording a voice note to myself, which I often do as a form of self-care, and I started thinking about how it felt to have people not respect my boundaries.
I talked about feeling like I was a sugar jar in a kitchen, and the people in my life would come in and take cup fulls of sugar from my jar, leaving me feeling tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, used, unseen, not heard, and alone. Sometimes, my sugar would spill all over the counters or the floors – and it felt impossible to keep up with. As you know, when sugar spills, it goes everywhere.
I didn’t know what they were doing with my sugar, all I knew was that my jar was never full and that it was hard work to keep it full with all of the people that were in and out of my kitchen.
I knew that I was just as responsible for allowing my sugar to be taken. And I also knew that the things I was doing to fill my jar weren’t enough to keep up with the demand. The walks were worth a cup of sugar, therapy was two cups of sugar, a day of rest a half a cup of sugar. But to keep my sugar jar replenished, I have to maintain changes that I put in place to keep myself grounded, joyful, and at peace.
I imagined the kitchen was my space, the jar was boundaries, and the sugar – the sweet stuff – was me. We all have our own kitchens, jars, and sugar. Sometimes, we believe we have to give all of our sugar away to be loved, or seen, or understood. And other times, we don’t feel comfortable with the sugar we have and so we take sugar from others in the hopes we’ll feel better.
What I teach, is the importance of putting lids on our jars and requiring others to ask permission before they come into our kitchens and definitely before they take any sugar. I also teach the importance of checking in with yourself about whether you feel you have any sugar to give. When we work really hard to fill our jars, and we’re not used to having full jars, we sometimes believe we have to give our sugar away – that it’s the right thing to do. And the goal is to learn how to give when you want to, because that is how we give from love not from obligation, fear, or scarcity.
Teaching people to respect our boundaries around our sugar or energy, is how we learn to return the favor and how we learn to have the time and space to give to ourselves, those we love, and the dreams we have. It’s where we find the time to write the book we’ve been wanting to start. It’s where we find the time to go back to school – or whatever your dream is.
I first shared this reference publicly with my friend Alex Elle, who asked me to talk about it with her on the hey, girl. podcast. I hope it helps you gain clarity around the ways we over give, over extend, and how the lack of boundaries in our relationships, jobs, and even with ourselves depletes us. And ultimately, I hope it gives you courage in knowing you’re not alone and that you have the power to fill your jar, put the lid on – and only open it when you’re ready and willing.