I was going through cheques that had been written to me and I had very different feelings about each one.
The first was from a woman who was paying me to be sort of like a personal assistant. The cheque (sorry for the spelling.. that’s how we do it in Canada) was for $15,000 for one week of work. I remember thinking this is too much for a person to get paid and that she must have made a mistake so I started going over the schedule looking for the error. Everything on paper somehow pointed to this fifteen grand as having been totally worth the value of the work I did but I could not accept it.
That was when I realized that I was in a dream. I had this weird moment in the dream where I realized that the reality was that I was worth this much but it was not computing because
it didn’t match up with my beliefs about myself, value, money and time.
The second interesting part was that there were cheques there written to me by people I consider friends or relatives and looking at them made me feel VERY uncomfortable. I felt as though I didn’t deserve them, despite the fact that I acknowledged that I had earned them.
This dream makes all of the sense in the world as I have been working through a lot of these types of issues over the past little while.
I do not believe in the paradigm of “earning” or “deserving” things. I personally know people who have exponentially more than other people I have known who have worked tirelessly for eternity. I can not say that they ‘earned’ what they have. I do not find that unfair.
I try not to think about ‘time for money’ anymore so much as
‘value for energy’
My current financial goal for the short term is $10,000 per month and I am pretty close to achieving that despite the fact that I sleep in everyday until whenever I want, go wherever I want (which isn’t far in truth, I prefer the comforts of home until my health is better) and “work” less than 4 hours a day and not even every day. My bigger goal is $20k a month and honestly I don’t even see that as being so far off.
I’ve been going back and forth on the issue though. I recently had to double my consulting prices because what I am working on for myself is of more value. It remains to be seen whether the first client I’ve informed of this change will still want to go ahead with the work at the new price but there it is again, time for money. It’s really losing it’s appeal, but it’s still there.
I’ve really been running into this issue in my personal life as well, which is why that came up in the dream. I just recently decided that it is definitely time to stop offering coaching, consulting or work that I usually charge for to friends for free. This has consistently bit me in the ass.
People end up not valuing my time or what I have to offer. I recently accepted a request from a friend, offering a free consult that I have been charging $125 a hour for (people have been paying me this gladly) only to have them cancel half an hour before and suggest that we reschedule…. their free service that usually costs money… on my dime.
I’ve had friends ask to pay me for my time only to then act shocked at the price.
I’ve gone out of my way to provide free coaching for people who really don’t want to change.
I’ve shown up to help people with their social media strategies for free only to have them turn around and diss me on twitter (OH the irony!)
While I completely and totally understand why this behavior occurs and where these issues are coming from, I can’t keep exposing myself to it. Of course, in my way though, I am really really grateful for it. It has drawn my attention to a serious blind spot that has been affecting my health and my entire life.
I’ve just recently recognized that I have had a MAJOR boundary issue my entire life.
It’s really funny too because I thought I’d be the last person on the planet who you’d think would have a boundary issue! Here’s the thing: one’s sense of personal boundary is formed before age six. What this usually means is that
the child will take on the personal boundary of their primary caregiver
Growing up, I watched my mother consistently let losers into her life. Now, I understand that alcoholics and other addicts are people who are dealing with a lot of pain and disconnection based on their lack of support since birth. Back then, I just saw them as losers who would gladly prey on a desperate single mother and (sometimes, literally) take whatever resources they could right out of her fatherless children’s hands. Because she would let them.
One of them stole an opal ring I had been given as a birthday present right off my finger as I slept. One of them gladly took one of the few things I treasured when my mother cajoled and shamed me into giving it to him, a beautiful statue I had won and picked out in an arts store. It was a woman with long hair washed up on a rock by a roiling sea, listening to a sea shell.
I would later realize that I had become that woman, but that is another story ;)
Sometimes, it was our school lunches that had been meant for the next day, straight out of the fridge.
They came into our lives (not just hers, because that’s what happens when you have kids, what you allow into your life, you allow into theirs) they came and took whatever they wanted and more and she would gladly give and give and give and give to them.
Unfortunately, her benevolence never touched the part of their hearts that was frozen by the lack of support in their childhoods. Not a one of them took her help and used it to clean up their act, get off alcohol or seek professional help (which is the only form of “help” that can work for people at this point).
I’m pretty sure the upstanding gentleman who stole the ring off a poverty stricken, fatherless child’s finger didn’t use the pawn store money for psychotherapy sessions.
When you give to people who are coming at you from this angle, it’s like throwing what you are offering into a black hole. But it’s also not good for you to be giving to anyone from that state either.
What is happening here is that both people are desperately begging each other for love. Neither is really getting it.
There is no victim. There is no ‘giver’ and ‘taker’. Both are equally trying to get something from the other.
It has taken me a while to understand this.
Anyway, watching that as a child, I vowed that it would never happen to me. And it didn’t! I was on the lookout for hurt men looking to get something from me for a very long time and thought that I had successfully avoided the pitfalls that my mother never managed to escape.
But here’s the thing,
The problem is not always where you are looking for it.
My entire life, I have been involved with hurt women who saw me as some type of salvation. This has happened to me since elementary school. And since I was only looking for alcoholic men, I never saw it coming.
I let them into my lives and tried to save them. I let their problems become my own. And I never really “helped” any of them.
When you are trying to help someone from a space of not having any resources to help yourself, it’s like trying to fill someone else’s cup while yours is empty, hoping doing so will make your cup full.
As you can imagine, this would be time consuming, frustrating and in the end, nothing has changed.
This boundary issue has manifested into what is the biggest physical boundary that we have in this life. My skin. It is my weakest genetic link (the part of your body that will start to show systemic dysfunction before all others) and of course matches up with this completely.
I’m excited to take on this new challenge in my life.