Back to boundaries. Every road kind of always leads back to boundaries really. What we are comfortable with, what works for us, what we want and need basically maps out the course of our lives.
Knowing these things also helps us draw the line around what makes us uncomfortable, doesn't work or isn't what we need or want. A type of GPS for ourselves.
With boundaries we indicate limits, edges. Places we're not willing or able to go beyond. Chaos breeds when boundaries are weak. When we push ourselves a little too much for the sake of someone or something else. When we say yes, but really mean no. When we say no but need to say yes.
So having CLEAR and STRONG boundaries is a must. Making sure we're putting ourselves first so that we can show up as our best in all of our relationships is a must. And if you're like most people and need to up your boundary game, here's a good place to start:
1) Learn what is true for you. What feels right. What feels good.
Start by sitting with yourself and going through several statements that you know to be true. Example- My name is Carmen. I am a woman. I live in Vancouver. Etc etc. Take a deep breath after each statement. Notice how you feel, the sensations that you experience when you speak hard facts.
Next, go through several statements that you know to be untrue. Example- My name is Frank. I am a boy. I live in France. Etc, etc. Take a deep breath after each statement. Again notice how you feel, the sensations that you experience when you encounter things that are untrue for you.
This gets you used to learning and understanding your body's cues when something is true (ie, works for you) or untrue (ie, doesn't work for you). The difference between those is where you draw your boundary.
2) Think about times recently that you replayed an interaction or situation in your head after the fact and wished for a different outcome. What were the circumstances? Who was involved? Was it an isolated incident or has this happened many times before, perhaps with the same person?
Take that information and use it as the place to begin. Think about your ideal outcome and you will have learned what you need to start to ask for and with whom.
3) Ask for what you need. Be unapologetic. Others may struggle with your boundaries if they are new. But those who hold your heart will respect them.
Explain that it's also new for you. Not everyone will be able to respect the lines you've drawn and consider that insight into the quality of relationship that you have with that person. It's not personal, and it may just take some time for BOTH of you to shift.
4) Accept. This is a BIG one. A 'take a deep breath and let it all go' kind of big one.
Accept that you can no longer live depleted. That you have to put yourself first. That it is going to feel challenging and uncomfortable sometimes. That some people will not respect your boundaries. Some will want things to stay the same. That some things will be unclear. That it is not personal. And that you alone are responsible to define what works for you and what doesn't.
Over time, all of this becomes easier. Like any new skill, practice makes it stronger. So get curious. Start to ask yourself where in your life you need to be more clear about what fills you and adds to the quality of your life and what drains you.
Where in your life do you currently need stronger boundaries? Let me know by hitting reply. I answer all my emails personally.
This is meant to make your life brighter, lighter and a whole lot more fulfilling. When our boundaries are weak, our light is dimmed. It's time to brighten your light.