I didn’t expect that in testing my own boundaries I would constantly encounter other people trying to test them as well. I would talk to family, tell them my plan, and then immediately feel myself shrinking at the sound of their disappointment. That part of me that was feeling small, hurt and rejected was looking for their approval – I wanted them to tell me that I was doing was okay. Despite how far I had come, I still wasn’t completely convinced that I could trust myself to make decisions about my own life.

Then my mind started to drift to all the other times in my life where I shelved what I thought or felt and instead allowed myself to be directed by someone else. And where had it gotten me? In my late-20’s feeling lost, with no idea of who I was and no idea of what I wanted my life to look like. The shift really started when I left my Master’s program to everyone’s dismay. It was the first time in my life that I let go of something that was making me unhappy and the first time I ignored the advice of other people. And it felt damn good too! Not only because it was draining me of my happiness but because when you make decisions for you, there is nothing more empowering or satisfying. It is addictive and even though learning to trust myself has been a process, like most things, it gets easier with time.

So when I left my job to launch my own business, I once again had to exercise that trust muscle. Putting up those boundaries was one of the ways of exercising that muscle. It meant not allowing people to give me advice I didn’t ask for and it meant defending my position and not backing down! Most of the time it was extremely uncomfortable to do. I didn’t want to make anyone mad or disappoint them. That part of me that wanted their approval also wanted to make sure I was “enough” to be loved by them.

It took me a while to make the connection, the greater lesson in what I was experiencing: if money really is tied to self-worth than I could only manifest abundance in direct proportion to my level of self-worth. And if I still allowed myself to be bullied or pressured, then I was sending a clear signal to the universe that my intuition, my opinion could not be trusted. Essentially, every dismissal of myself was a rejection of myself. Boundaries were crucial and knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no” was also crucial.

It was time for me to strengthen my backbone. It was time for me to stop listening to other people. It was time to honor all my decisions, be them good or bad.

I had a life to lead on no one’s terms but my own.

Julia Piantini