Two nights ago, I was lying in bed using my phone for a flashlight when I read a passage in a book that sucker-punched me. It was close to the end—in the last couple of chapters I think (the book was really good, by the way). But before I let myself finish the book, I read the passage over and over and then set the book aside for a second. It was one of the best passages I’ve ever read in a novel before—maybe because it was timely for me, or maybe because it was appropriate for most of us in general. This was it:
“Don’t lose sight of your limit. We all have one…what we’re willing to put up with before we break. When I was younger, I knew exactly what my limit was. But slowly…my limit was pushed a little more. And a little more. I put up with things…thought “at least it wasn’t as bad this time.” But everything you put up with chips away at your limit. Eventually you lose sight of it altogether, because you start to think, “I’ve put up with it this long. Why shouldn’t I put up with it even longer?” (from “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover)
Now we all put up with things, and we should. I’m a very big believer in brushing aside flaws in people. In extending grace and welcoming others exactly as they are. The way I see it, I am severely flawed and would rather not be judged harshly on anything, so it is never my place to judge another person. There is no love in judgment after all; only in mercy and forgiveness. And I’m a big believer in love most of all.
That said, we all deserve to be treated right. And with that in mind, we all have a right to our limits. I’m not talking about the limit we reach just before our temper snaps or the limit we reach just before we feel a need to retaliate or the limit we reach just before we decide to rage against another human or the limit we reach just before we decide to believe the worst in someone. Those things are anger issues, not limit issues.
I’m talking about the limit of how we allow someone else to treat us. More specifically, the limit of what beliefs we allow others to instill in us about ourselves.
That we’re not worth it.
That we’re not good enough.
That we’re somehow second-rate.
Whether it be a friend or a spouse or a brother or a houseguest, we need to have limits. And we need to guard them. And we need to cling to them. And we need to fight for them.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I had a very rough 2014 (and a big part of 2015). I’ve talked about it a bit on here—albeit in vague detail—and honestly it wasn’t something I ever intended to talk about again. But it didn’t hit me until I read that passage two nights ago that a large part of the issue was—and still is—me.
I lost sight of my limit. I allowed myself to be walked on. I allowed myself to believe lies. I allowed myself to be taken for granted. I allowed myself to be manipulated. I allowed myself to be worn down. And worst of all, I allowed myself to believe I deserved it.
Because I lost sight of my limit. More specifically, I lost sight of my value.
We’re all valuable, every single one of us. So why is it so easy to believe it when someone says we aren’t? Why is it so easy to accept it when someone treats us badly? Why is it so easy to hear harsh criticism of ourselves and shrug it off for “just the way things are”?
Because we lose sight of our limit.
When I was younger, I had very clear ones—I knew what I wanted and what I would and wouldn’t do to get it. When I had my first child, my limits became even stronger. I was going to protect my child, raise him right, and be fearless in the process.
But slowly…slowly…slowly…because of the passage of time and the burdens of responsibility and the stress of keeping everything together….my limit weakened and thinned and stretched further and further and further away from me. Until finally, I didn’t have much of a limit at all.
The other night, thanks to a novel that I honestly almost quit reading a few chapters in, I remembered my limit.
I’m not saying I’ll always be that great at sticking to it.
But I’m sure as heck going to try.
I’m not saying I’ll ever be vocal about it.
But I’ll definitely remember it in silence.
Because I’m worth it. More importantly, and honestly the entire point of this post—YOU’RE worth it.
So remember your limit. If it’s still fairly close to you, then reach out and pull it back to your side. If it’s far away, chase it down—even if you have to run miles and miles to catch up—and force it back into place.
You’re worth it. You’re always worth it.