What if you wore a mood ring every day, but your body heat and the color were not the deciding factors that told you what your ‘mood’ was. What if your color and mood were determined by the moods of others?
I struggle with being colored and letting those around me choose that color. If I am around someone who is happy and uplifting I find it easier to be happy. I enjoy that mood shift! Often times I find myself around unhappy people who can in a moment change my happy playful mood into grumpy. Those people are my kids, my husband, and other times strangers at a grocery store.
Have you noticed when people are unhappy they really enjoy company? Well over and over again for the first 37 years of my life I said, “Me, pick me, I will be your company.” In therapy I discovered that my fear of abandonment kept me from setting boundaries my whole life. It was painful to discover that I didn’t protect myself because I didn’t want my husband to leave. In the end, I learned the hard way that he didn’t protect me either. My therapist said over and over again, “Norma, boundaries teach people how to treat you.”
My journey began slowly, setting boundaries with those in my life was the hardest thing I have ever done, but as I have set boundaries I have noticed that others treat me better. I also noticed that I treat myself better because I now believe I deserve it.
I learned that I actually have the power to control my moods. That this mood coloring was similar to when I let others define me. That I had given someone else my power. It is a daily battle for me when it comes to internal boundaries, but as I practice I am getting better.
The moods of others don’t have the same power as they used to, and I am doing the work for myself and for my kids. I know that if they see me setting and keeping boundaries they will learn that boundaries are needed to keep themselves safe.
So I will continue the mood coloring battle for the rest of my life
So what do we do? I wish the solution was as easy as just never being around grumpy people, but you can’t exactly bail on your little ones when they are moody. I learned that I needed internal boundaries just as badly as I needed external boundaries to kept me safe.
Now is the hard part. I am not good at setting and keeping internal boundaries. I have been working on them for well over three years and I have improved, but I am far from mastering this skill. I hope that you will join me in setting internal boundaries and protecting yourself. You are worth it!
Assignment for Healing:
I believe that the first step in making a change is awareness. This week pay attention to when your mood begins to shift because of people around you. Try to notice both the positive and negative shifts that occur. Make a tally mark on your phone or a piece of paper. I would love to see how you are doing. Please feel free to send me an email telling me about how others color you. If you have mastered this skill I would love to hear of tools that you use. Respond in the comment section below or send me an email at rootstoholdme.com
Sending love your way!
I took a picture of my boundaries book. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with setting limits. It was a life changer for me.
Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. S. (1996). Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life. Sydney: Strand Pub.