BOUNDARIES AREN’T FOR THEM, THEY’RE FOR YOU!
OOOOHHH Boy. This is a really tough one for we feeler-types and empaths. We probably feel other people’s emotions more than they do, and that can really suck because most of us struggle to keep from drowning in our own emotional baloney let alone anyone else’s. However, constantly feeling like you’re being taken advantage of or walked on by others in order to play nice can cost you dearly. Feelings of not being at ease in one’s own skin, are not so good for maintaining homeostasis, and equilibrium is a state your body greatly prefers.
I’ve made a personal practice of creating good boundaries but I can struggle too from time to time as an empathic type. Since life never settles on one pie to throw in your face so that you can master the swerve, it’s best to start creating your own little private toolbox. I guarantee you…there will always be a “next time” where you’ll need to pull it out.
Let’s get started.
Here is a short list of my go-to’s when I find myself in a pinch with setting a boundary.
This is one of my favorite podcasts to help me get into the “pre-game” headspace of boundary creation. Give it a listen to get you pumped about understanding exactly what boundaries are, and who they are for (*hint, they are not for the other person).
HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE PERSONAL TIPS FOR CREATING BETTER BOUNDARIES AND SAYING NO NICELY:
- Get used to saying things like (#1) “Let me get back to you on whether or not I’d like to go Jello-wrestling this weekend” or (#2) “Let me take some time to consider interpretive dance in the Target Parking Lot during the full moon” or (#3) “That sounds so lovely, and I wish there were two of me, but sadly I’ll have to decline.”
- “No” can also be a complete sentence, but softening it to fit your personality is always a good idea too. Blunt is overrated.
- Practice kindness. As in “That is SO kind of you to offer XYZ, …but (insert #1 or #2 or #3)!”
- It’s completely okay to take time to consider what you’d like to ask for instead. Be completely clear with yourself FIRST, then share that clarity with the other person.
- Practice giving other people’s emotional reaction to your saying no right back to them (you can kindly put a bow on it).
RELATIONSHIPS: “If X, Then Y”
Personal and family relationships can be extra tricky. We can’t just “unfriend” moms and sisters and very close friendships that can have their quirks. However, we can definitely create new and effective ways to train others around what to expect from us when something doesn’t feel right. Again, boundaries are not for them, they are for you. They are merely providing clarity around what someone can expect if they engage in a particular behavior. Boundaries are never for the purpose of being manipulative, or unkind, nor are they centered around changing the other person.
In fact, the purpose of good boundaries is primarily to help keep people together in a healthy way.
Here is yet another helpful link to a lecture on healthy boundary creation. Pull up a chair and take some notes (click on the picture below).
Each kind of relationship can offer different practices and challenges. Family members <INSERT LINK TO CREATING MORE LOVING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS> and romantic partners can require some slightly different strategies, as can limiting relationships <INSERT LINK TO LIMITING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS that are toxic or ending ones altogether <INSERT LINK TO ENDING A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP>. As humans, we are forever stepping all over each other inadvertently or on purpose, and so learning how to set good boundaries, maintain them consistently, feed and water relationships properly, and practice letting go with compassion are critical to maintaining good balance.
Helping you get and stay balanced is what I’m all about at The Inspire Studio, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with maintaining strong and healthy boundaries in your own life. This is so, so important, because every body tells a story. You don’t want your stories to continually present a burden on what should be a joyful existence.
Yours in Good Health,
I am not a medical professional, nor a licensed psychologist, and this is not offering medical advice of any kind. However, as a Bodyworker and Wellness Coach I know that until we get clarity in some areas, we can continue to see physical manifestations of dysfunctional thinking and practices. None of this is intended to replace the expertise of a medical professional or licensed therapist, and rather is merely offered to augment your personal practice towards gaining balance in your mind, body, and spirit. If you feel that there are areas in which you could use serious attention, or if you have experienced serious and debilitating trauma, please do not hesitate to seek help through the appropriate channels. I can often give you options for referral.