Walk the Line
The year was 1932 in the state was Arkansas when a family of sharecroppers welcomed their son, John R. Cash into their family. This was in the middle of the Great Depression, but Johnny Cash’s hard-scrapple life taught him compassion and healing and he believed that healing was integral to humanity and being human. He wore “black” to honor the poor and hungry and those whose lives were challenged by drug use. Johnny Cash died in 2003 when he was seventy-three years old. Between his birth and death, he walked the line and left a wealth of music, mostly associated with country music.
This reminds me of the song made famous by Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line.” It’s the chorus that tugs at my heart: “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time, I keep the ends out for the tie that binds, because you’re mine, I walk the line
Sometime, during the role as a care partner, you may find yourself feeling conflicted with others, walking the line – it’s me against them but is it really? The lesson here is you must balance yourself and find your spot in the middle with one foot on each side of the line, setting important boundaries. In sum, I will be here for you, but I must set healthy boundaries for myself.
We don’t have to wear black but as care partners we walk the line, the fragile balance between one extreme and another, to feel compelled to do what we think is best rather than what might be right, to maintain standards while others exert their perceived standards upon us, trying to please everyone while in the melee, losing sight of ourselves because we feel responsible for another person’s happiness placing theirs above our own.
Self-care Ritual: Healthy boundaries can serve to establish limits while poor boundaries lead to resentment, anger, and burnout, and your autonomy, your self-sufficiency is an important part of self-care.
- You have permission (from yourself) to say ‘no’ when asked to do something you don’t want to do and there is no need for further explanation; in fact, overexplaining opens the door to more problems. This is not a time for debate; this is a time for setting clear boundaries and expectations.
- When setting boundaries, be clear: “I need some time for myself to tend to my concerns, my hobbies, my passions, or my interests.” If misunderstandings arise, is important to have honest conversations that we may want to avoid due to embarrassment, fear of rejection or, worse, fear of abandonment. We may feel guilty dismissing the overtures of someone we care about, but respect is a two-way street and appreciating the boundaries others have set for themselves is as important as setting boundaries for oneself.
- Believe in yourself. If a boundary is to work, develop a true commitment to uphold it, and be consistent. “The shortest route to better boundaries is to really like yourself. Better yet, really love yourself.” – Unknown