“I am woman, hear me roar.” –Helen Reddy

Sometimes when I look back at some crucial moments in my life, I don’t know where my boldness–or in some cases, reckless bravery–comes from.

Case in point, at a neighbor’s birthday party, I once hit a boy hard on the head with my abaniko for teasing me. I was 9. I remember he was making fun of me and I wanted to teach him a lesson: you NEVER mess with Lea. I think it must’ve hurt because he cried. And all the other kids looked at me like I suddenly grew another head. They all scrambled to get away from me.

Now, from a more detached adult’s POV, I know I never should’ve reacted in the heat of the moment. Part of it was my fiery temper that pushed me to do what I did. But at that time, I didn’t care. I believed it was courage and standing up for myself. I knew early on that if I didn’t stand up for myself, nobody will. So I believed I didn’t do anything wrong.

The way I choose to see it now, it was a crucial moment because it was an early manifestation of me taking no BS from anyone, especially boys. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ And that this set the tone for how I would eventually learn to set healthy boundaries with others. The only difference now is I don’t need an abaniko to hit someone on the head (heaven forbid!) and get my point across. Sometimes I try to do it with words after the smoke disperses and I can see clearly again.

Setting boundaries is not being selfish or rude. Setting boundaries with others is necessary for your own health, growth, and peace of mind. Setting boundaries means you love and respect yourself enough to let someone know when they’re not treating you right and that you will not tolerate it. It takes extraordinary bravery to walk away from people and situations that only hurt and take from you. It takes extraordinary courage to walk away from co-dependent relationships to reclaim your own identity and freedom. It takes extraordinary honesty to tell someone you love that you know what’s true but will not put up with their lies and deception.

It takes a brave heart to know who you are and what you want, and to let this be your guiding light. 🌟

“Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

–Sara Bareilles

Image credit: Fuu J @ Unsplash

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