Setting good boundaries can be simple. But our relationship with boundaries can make the process a bit more complex. After all, we have a history of relationships and interactions and experiences that have shaped our thinking about boundaries, that have shaped how others perceive us, and how we perceive ourselves.
If you don't have much experience with setting good, solid boundaries, it can seem like an overly complicated process. If you'd describe yourself as a people-pleaser, setting good, solid boundaries might feel impossible. It's just so uncomfortable and awkward, and again, you're not exactly sure how it works.
One of the best ways we can care for ourselves is to set boundaries---whether it's with our loved ones; with our colleagues, clients, and supervisors; or even with ourselves. We can think of boundaries as a kind of manual or collection of guidelines we create, which spell out how we'd like others to treat us (and how we'd like to treat ourselves).
Every year, on or around July 4th, I revise and republish a piece about declaring our independence from what doesn’t serve or support us — everything from dieting to damaging beliefs. I hope you find it helpful! And I hope you have a wonderful holiday.
When a child is born, we focus completely on them. It's what moms do. It's what everyone does. All the time, energy, and attention goes to the baby, and then the toddler, and then the preschooler, and then the gradeschooler, and then the teen, and on and on.
Many of us never really learned how to feel our feelings. But we learned other things about emotions instead.
Many of us have a hard time feeling our feelings. Maybe we're used to glossing over our emotions. Maybe we think they're inconvenient or annoying or useless. Maybe we think, Oh, I don't have time for that. I'm too busy to be sad. Maybe we worry we'll sink into a deep hole, opening up the Pandora's box of feelings, and not be able to climb out.
We teach people how to treat us, and we do that with boundaries. When we set boundaries, we communicate what works for us and what doesn’t. We communicate what is OK and what isn’t. We communicate what we want and what we don’t.
Gratitude is everywhere these days. We're told to make gratitude lists. We're told to stop and smell the roses, and notice all the other sweet little (and big) things in our lives. Which means that we can easily dismiss all of it. The more we read about something, the more we're exposed to something, the more likely we are to say "whatever," and assume it doesn't matter.