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Mental Health Check-In: Boundaries & Growth

A girl on a tennis court where a colored jacket and white shoes

For the past two years, I have been going to my therapy sessions on a weekly basis. I made the decision to go to therapy to be a better version of myself. The destruction of my relationships with family and friends because of my detachment from my emotions. I wanted to get to the root of my emotional detachment so that it would not affect my future. It has been the best decision that I’ve made.

Currently, I have really opened wounds and doors that I buried deep in my subconscious. I did not want to feel those emotions of sadness, anger, frustration, and more. Opening those old wounds has helped me see growth within myself. It has led me to place boundaries between myself and others. Inner childhood trauma, generational curses, racial imposter syndrome, and more have been a wild ride for me. These experiences have been an emotional, mental, and physical roller coaster. I realized that these experiences have helped me grow into the woman, I am becoming today.

a girl taking a picture in front of a mirror with an all black sweatpants suit and white fanny pack.
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Growth

I am keeping it 100 with you that I have definitely grown from where I was at the beginning of my 20s but I am still a work in progress. Let’s be real, I will always be a work in progress. Every day, I learn something new about myself especially as I get older. I am continuously growing and evolving as I get older, my environments and the people around me change as well.

Racial Imposter syndrome

In my younger years, I went through racial imposter syndrome. A lot of it had to do with the environment that I was placed from a young age. I am a mixed-race woman with African-American, Hispanic, & Caucasian. I went to a white private school from the age of 5 till about 10/11 years old. The school probably had less than 5% African American students. So, I felt the need to tap into that side of my culture because 95% of the student population was white. I didn’t really ask much about my Black side because it was presented to me daily.

Then I got a culture shock for middle school when I went to a Catholic school that was predominantly black students. It was hard for me to adjust in the beginning and I gravitated toward the white students because that’s what I knew and saw. I felt the stares and even was asked by the Black student’s why I didn’t sit with them at lunch. It really wasn’t until about 18 years later that I have the answer. I was comfortable with my white classmates because of my previous environment and I didn’t know how to position myself with the Black students.

As I got older, I started to be more curious about Black culture and positioned myself to learn more about my culture. I believe that I have more of a handle on the situation and able to position myself where I don’t feel that I’m in the middle of two worlds. I had to grow from different racial experiences especially in the workplace that people see me as Black first before any other race. As I’ve grown from those experiences, it has helped me place boundaries to protect myself and others.

Boundaries

This past year, I started to learn that I was a “yes” person. I was scared to lose people if I said no to their request or didn’t drop what I was doing to help them. I am always the friend who makes sure your good before I make sure that I am good. It wasn’t healthy to think that I would put friends and family in front of my future marriage and kids.

So, I started to create boundaries that were respectful to myself and to the people in my life. I had to say no or put my friends request on hold because I need to put me first. It’s wild that when you start creating boundaries and having more self-love that people start to show their true colors and disappear. I had to put my mental health first because I would get overwhelmed in multiple aspects of my life. I would be stretched thin across putting my job first, being their for friends, and trying to date someone. Where was the time for myself to decompress?

Once I slowly started placing boundaries and learning that they are not to hurt the people in my life. They are to protect my well-being and to show this is what I’m willing to tolerate in these relationships. You can read more about my mental health journey, here.

“…External boundaries are guidelines that determine how you allow others to behave towards you. Internal boundaries maintain balance, exhibit self-discipline, and allow you to manage your time, thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Both types are meant for your protection and well-being and should be based on your values.”

(Gilley, 2020)
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