“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, [i]clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
- Ephesians 4 : 31-32 (NKJV)
I recently signed up for a bible plan relating to speech and when to speak up and when to be silent, yet this is something I often struggle with within relationships. I often step my big foot into things and my words come out sharper then I intended and cause hurt. As I am normally a caring and very giving person, my actions and their consequences have made me question why it is that I can sometimes behave in this way.
We are physical beings with a physical body but we have a spiritual body too, made of breath and energy. Women are givers, natural nurturers and I have seen so often how the energy of their heart is too open and can become depleted, leading to lack of boundaries, exhaustion and often illness and even breast cancer. It is something women need to be aware of. I have also noted the relationship endless giving has on the power energy centre of our solar plexus, once we realise we are being taken for granted or abused in some way. For example when you walk into your house and see a load of household tasks all needing doing that have your name on it, while children and spouses lie around watching TV and relaxing and you begin to feel used and like a servant to them. Or the moment you realise a family member or friend only calls you when they need something from you or to offload all their troubles yet never bothers to ask how you are. As wives and mothers you may have put your own needs at the bottom of the list, especially if finances are tight or available time is limited. That much needed haircut or new item of clothing gets placed far below the children’s new wardrobe or extra-mural activity. But when you are walking around months later with massive regrow and tatty clothes, while everyone else has gotten what they needed, you will feel the resentment build up.
The awareness of wrongdoing and an unfair playing field creates within us a feeling of resentment that often leads to bitterness and even anger. This is normal and should be where we stop for a moment and realise the boundaries that we need to put in place; the priorities we need to re-evaluate in our lives and the self-respect and love we need to nurture in ourselves, in order to deal with the unfair situation in a healthy way. But instead, we often tend to react by blocking our heart completely, by withdrawing our love, and instead focusing on our own needs with a determination not to loose out or be treated badly again. This is the moment when we are at our weakest and more inclined to make unkind, passive-aggressive jabs at others. This is the ego talking. This is selfishness gaining power in our lives and it is the way of the enemy, not of Jesus. One thing Jesus is not, is selfish. His life on earth was testimony to that and the only way through these selfish inclinations, is by means of compassion - for ourselves, others and the situation.
We need to look at the whole situation through compassionate eyes, but also mature, responsible ones. Something I learnt the hard way in my life is that playing the victim will get you nowhere and as an adult we need to stand up, put those big girl panties on and be accountable. We don’t have the right to play the martyr and then blame others. Most often the situations we find ourselves in, are of our own creation and as such we are the only ones that can build a different path out of it. But first we need to acknowledge that fact and take responsibility for ourselves and our behaviour.
I always say that as an adult you teach people how to treat you, and this is very true but often a hard pill to swallow as it is easier to blame others then look at ourselves. If you have been taken advantage of, reflect on what you have allowed to happen by having a lack of boundaries or self-respect. Often there are deeper reasons as to why we allow this sort of behaviour from others in the first place or why we play this meek, subservient role. To give is good, but to give excessively out of a need for acknowledgement or love, is empty. To give so that you feel needed or worthy, indicates low self-esteem and that is what you must focus on healing first. Be gentle with yourself as you peel aware the layers that have led to this situation. Draw on Christ’s love to heal you and make you stronger.
- Reflect on the boundaries or lack of boundaries that you have in your relationships and life.
- Think about giving. Why do you give? What is the payback you are getting from it?
- Where are your needs in your list of priorities?
- What needs to change?
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NKJV)