I drew this picture at one point in time. I was in the art garage at the transitional housing where I first began learning how to create my boundaries within myself and with others around me. The program itself is not what gave me my tools. For those struggling with life’s issues (and we all do), no one can give you the answers or give you a magic formula to erase your own mess. This does not mean that there is no possibility for resolution. Perhaps rather than form our self-concepts or self value based on others’ desires about us, we could form these based on our own needs and wishes, non-judgmentally, and then say to ourselves, it’s okay. I’m not inherently flawed as a person. I think this can be a great challenge if you are consistently struggling with an issue that weighs heavily upon you, like a disability or a difference that seems to generate a lot of stigma. One thing I’ve learned to overcome my reaction is to say to myself, other people’s reactions are their own reactions. That is their problem. If I have enough problems of my own, why do I need to add to them by taking on another person’s opinion of my situation? Clearly, they do not know me as well as I know myself. I also do not know their life as well as I would hope they do. Maybe the idea of standing next to people, not leading, not following, just accepting as equals … Or at least honoring others’ perspective, acknowledging there is value in what they have to say or deciding your own course based on the information they have shared with you. After all, it’s not their journey. It’s your life. They are not going to have to live with your decisions about what you do; you are.