I used to think that boundaries were a clever way to control others.
For instance, “You cannot say mean things to me. You must respect my boundary. If you don’t listen, I won’t speak to you.”
This is not a boundary, it’s emotional blackmail. It’s controlling and unrealistic. You can do whatever you want. I don’t have control over you.
I can give you a thousand examples of how I used to do this. (Let’s be honest, I still do it.) I was a boundary machine. Running all over town deciding what everyone else could and couldn’t do. This was all under the guise of healthy boundaries and self care. I couldn’t have been more unhealthy.
Boundaries are not meant to control others. They are not meant to keep people away. Boundaries are for helping ourselves and our relationships. When properly executed, boundaries cultivate honesty, closeness, trust, improved self worth and reduced anxiety.
Well, what the heck are boundaries?!
Perhaps you’ve heard about them, dabbled in them, but don’t think they are working.
Have you tried to set boundaries with your teenager, spouse, boss or family and failed?
It’s time to change all that. Let’s clarify what they are and how to use them!
In her recent video about boundaries http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/boundaries, Brene Brown offer a simple definition: “[being straightforward about] whats OK and whats not OK”.
This is not being bossy towards others.
- It’s having the courage to say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no.
- It is about being honest about your feelings, even when you’re fearful of offending someone.
- It’s about doing all this with love and kindness.
- Practice saying what you mean, meaning what you say and not saying it mean!
Practicing boundaries this way requires a ton of courage.
There is a voice in our minds that says, “You might get rejected. You might get fired. This isn’t fair. You’re a bad mom, daughter, employee, etc.” If you tend towards feeling guilty, angry or resentful, you need boundaries!
Lets revisit my earlier example.
If you don’t like the way someone treats you, a healthy boundary is:
- Expressing how you feel with specificity and kindness. “I feel sad. I’m not comfortable with the way you are speaking to me. I would prefer if our conversations didn’t include name calling or judgement.”
- Adjusting your behavior according to the outcome, without punishing the other person. After speaking your truth, be willing to remove yourself (without drama) if it continues. The motive of a healthy boundary must be self empowerment, not changing someone’s behavior. Remember, you have no control over others (I swear).
Remember, stating whats OK and whats not OK does not guarantee cooperation. Boundaries mean, letting go of the need for approval, control or winning. It means taking responsibility for your own feelings and choices, instead of expecting others to change. Sometimes that means making tough choices. Letting go of toxic relationships, finding a new job or saying ‘no’ more often.
If you need help with boundary setting, I’m your person! I can coach you through the early stages when it feels the most uncomfortable. It’s worth it. Mastering boundaries will provide you with more peace and love. Sign up for your on the house consult. We can schedule your session in Boca Raton, Key Largo or Online!
Or just reach out to me! Give me a call at (561) 221-5575 so I can help you!
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