Yes, the fireworks are over (unless you’re in my family — we love a little bottle rocket spree just about any time of the year). Here in Louisville, we had a soggy 4th of July, but celebrated our country and our independence by gathering with family, eating, and blowing some stuff up.
Something that has come up in my work recently (personally and professionally) is the concept of boundaries. What are they? How does you establish them? How does you know if they’re being violated? What if you feel like you set boundaries, but they’re continually violated in some way?
All very good questions — there is great freedom in creating boundaries in different areas of your life. Here are some patterns I’ve seen in myself and my clients that are indicative of no boundaries or what I call “rubber boundaries” (we stretch and stretch those boundaries until we snap — and that’s not a good thing).
- Letting others behave like a bull in an emotional china shop and sacrificing your own sense of well-being as a result.
- You’re pissed off a lot and feel resentful of others. You tell yourself that other people or situations have created this feeling inside of you…and this leads to:
- You let other people be responsible for how you feel. That doesn’t feel like freedom — that’s a form of enslavement, and you can unshackle yourself.
Setting boundaries means two things: 1) It’s a request for something to happen or not happen. 1) If the request isn’t honored, you will act in some fashion.
For example, I have boundaries with clients where we work within certain parameters of time (a 50 minute session). If I’m coaching someone and they are sending me food journals for feedback, I know I need to establish boundaries around the frequency of our communication. If a client begins emailing or texting beyond the bounds of that agreement, we need to talk — that’s acting on it. And further, if they start showing up at my house for a chat and want to have a drink with me (this has never happened — because I have good boundaries, see), then I need to terminate the relationship.
It’s very freeing. There’s clarity. You claim your responsibility for your well-being as opposed to letting circumstances or the actions of other people do it for you. That kind of freedom can create a great sense of peace, resilience and contentment in your mind and body. That’s true independence.
Want to work through a process of setting your own boundaries with a certain person or situation? I’ve created something that might help you do this. Feel free to print and use as much you need: Boundaries = Freedom.
Have a great weekend!