For many reasons the following passage speaks to me. I loved it in the movie and I couldn't wait to find it in the book, so I could read it, chew on it for a bit, and then fully digest it. I know people who always live like this, and I have been guilty of it myself from time to time. It's dangerous, and it doesn't typically work out.
"To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time—everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family….I will give you all of this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else." Page 65, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth GilbertI am sharing this passage because I think it's important, for women especially, to take control of their own happiness. Being in love shouldn't be a chore, and it shouldn't deplete you. It is supposed to lift you up, keep you warm at night, and keep you sane during the tough times. If you lose yourself in that one person, in that love, then what's left to be lifted? If your only way out, is to start all over loving someone new, then what have you gained?
Finding balance is a huge theme in this book, and now in my life. I want to feel whole…content… fulfilled. But I won't rely on someone else to make me feel that way. I am in control of my destiny. I will love with all of my heart, whether it's for my husband, my kids, my extended family, my friends, or my neighbors. There is a joy in loving openly, and I intend to welcome it. And just as fiercely as I feel that love, I will protect it. I have worked for the life that I have and no one will take it from me without a fight.
So I would say that my membrane is selectively-permeable, allowing some things to pass through and keeping others out. It allows me to maintain my boundaries, while being open to new experiences. It's permeable to the love that I have for others, and the love that they share back with me. However, I will retain my shape, and do my best to keep out those who would do me harm, however inadvertently. I will resist the urge to melt into my husband, taking on only his interests and sharing only his views. I will not allow myself to live only for the joy of my children, negating what is fulfilling to me. I can have it all, and I'm on my way to figuring that out…finally!