On the surface my week looks like I haven’t achieved much. With half the family including myself sick and horrible weather, the house work got out of control, no training for my 5km was completed, I nearly cried in a parking lot with the three kids and my ‘to do’ list remains unticked. But I’m pretty fucking proud of myself this week because I was brave and communicated my boundaries for a particular difficult relationship in my life (no, not the Hubby, he is fab).
I have never found it easy to cut certain people out of my life. I wish I was more of the ruthless sort. The type that can basically say ‘you are dead to me’ better than a Mafia Don and go on with their lives without a second thought. I am just not wired that way. My brain tends to hold on for hope and keep giving chances. Or putting up with poor behaviour and then be the one suffering, whilst the other party just keeps on their merry way.
I rationalise like ‘they don’t mean it, they don’t know any better because of XXXX’.
As I am wired this way I can end up strung out, tossing and turning and overthinking like there was a medal at the end of it or something. It makes me think of something funny I read online to the likes of ‘if overthinking burnt calories I would be a skinny bitch’.
This is why boundaries have seriously been a saving grace in my adulthood life. They have allowed me to give up the false held beliefs that in order to be a ‘good person’ I need to always consider others before me. Plus, they allow tricky relationships to continue in a healthy manner if each party is willing to accept the other’s limits. Boundaries demand respect and creates a safe place for the relationship to continue. And if they are not accepted, you can move on knowing you tried your very best.
So what do I mean when I talk about ‘boundaries’? Basically it boils down to verbalising what you will and will not accept in your life. We do this all the time. For example, I know not to eat tuna at my work desk, unless I want my work Wifey to go cray cray. I respect the boundary she has set for the work bay and all is peachy.
Boundaries can be more serious such as ‘I really want you in my life, but if you continue to XXX, I will have to cease the relationship. XXX puts too much turmoil in my life and in order to be at my best I cannot let XXX occur’. Such communication is super important especially if there has been conflict or trauma in the past.
Quite simply, setting boundaries is the ultimate act of self love and self care.
What your boundaries are is entirely up to you. It is your life and you get to choose what is accepted and what isn’t. Boundaries can be set in stone or adapt as trust is regained. That’s the beauty of them.
Here are some examples of where setting boundaries have a massive impact …
Setting healthy boundaries is critical for a healthy work environment. Unfortunately workforce covert and overt bullying is rife and we all must take responsibility on what we will accept. It is something I have personally experienced and witnessed and you probably have as well. Be respectful yet firm on what you will tolerate. This will provide an opportunity for things to get better, or create the resolve you need for further action and perhaps to find another gig.
A massive part of parenting is setting boundaries especially for behaviour. Having boundaries allows your family to function and helps you raise rad kids who will become rad adults. Recently I have heard a few different parents talk to their kids about ‘making the right choice’ and I dig it so I’m doing it now as well. Instead of saying ‘don’t do that or you will go to time out’, try ‘you have a choice – either stop that behaviour and you can continue playing, or continue with the poor behaviour and go to time out. It is your choice’. I like how just reframing the same message allows kids to realise they are in control and have a sense of self-responsibility. This is reinforced by saying ‘I’m proud of you for making a the right decision’, or ‘you decided to continue that behaviour so time out is the result’.
Of course, I’m just the typical mum trying the best I can, so I often stuff up, but I really feel this approach is the right one for us.
Friendships, partnerships, romance-ships, family-ships all can be improved if boundaries are required. No need to go fully into this as I know that you Lovelies understand that ‘ships’ can be a minefield but are also critical for our wellbeing. What matters the most is that you are willing to stay steadfast in your boundaries and respect other people’s boundaries at the same time. 99% of the time boundaries will seem like common sense and no problem.
Being a boundary maker can be really, really, really hard, especially when it is with a person that has a major impact in your life. Even more devastating is when they choose not to respect them. But I’m getting better at making them, and honestly can say it is always for the better. I truly hope you are using them in your life as well because they are game changers. It is better to face and address things to let them simmer before you explode.
“Be brave, speak your truth even if your voice shakes”.
Do you actively set boundaries in your life?