Tips for How to Set Boundaries
To all the "givers" in the world...
Learn to set healthy boundaries, because the "takers" rarely will. Do so for your own well-being and as a model for our children. Not out of fear. And most certainly not out of revenge. Set boundaries with the deepest reverence for the sacredness of your own Spirit. Set boundaries with most heart-felt respect for the precious fragility of your own beingness.
Your value is beyond your imagining! Find the solid roots of your Self and learn to stand your ground and own your true worth! Know you are supported and loved.
Know you are a beautiful creature of Divinity! Place compassion for your Self on the throbbing altar of your very willing heart.
Learning to love yourself is an epic journey unto itself. Learning to hold space for yourself is also, as is being able to stand solid in your conviction of what kind of energy you will allow or invite into your life. Plant those feet firmly on the earth and know what you stand for, what you value and what you believe in!
This is not about building impenetrable walls to keep others out, because then we only box ourselves in and shut ourselves down. It's about embodying the Warrior's heart of full-throttle openness, and at the same time embodying the Warrior's gift of standing up for Self.
Boundaries are not walls or prisons, they are living, breathing, dynamic, energetic lines drawn in the sand of our lives. They create clarity. They provide safe space for us in which to breathe and soften into our most tender expressions of Self. They are where we recognize our own Power, and learn to use that Power with grace and loving kindness for Self and for others.
Here are a few tips for setting boundaries:
1. Pay attention to when you feel “off” during interactions. Do you get gripped in your belly when someone asks you to do things? Do you get emotionally triggered because you feel drained by giving so much? These are indications that you are not being clear in what you will tolerate or accept and that you are potentially giving yourself away when it's not in your best interest.
2. When it's time to set a boundary or draw a line, do your level best to not be in a defensive mode or overly emotional. If you need to take a break to gather yourself, do it!
To state your boundary, use “I” statements. Anytime we make “you” statements it will come across as an accusation.
As an example, “I don't feel like I have the energy to take on this project right now” is very different from “you always expect me to do everything for you!” Other examples of setting boundaries with “I” statements include things like: “I'm already overextended in what I'm putting out. Thank you for thinking of me for this, though. I really appreciate it!” “I'm choosing not to take personal phone calls or texts during the hours of work, as it distracts me from what I'm here for. I will attend to them during lunch or after work.”
If you need, you can practice saying what you need to speak with a friend before you try it out for real. Practice being firm without being defensive. Practice learning to communicate what is true for you, and do it in a compassionate way.
There is absolutely a balance between truth and tact that is available and it's usually about not reacting out of habit, but learning to respond out of mindfulness.
Which leads to the next tip!
3. Another aspect to consider with setting boundaries is that it's super easy to take things that people say very personally. If someone asks something of you or makes a demand, it can be easy to react defensively, or to take it personally, even though it may not be.
Here is where a little inquiry comes in handy!
What do you need to do in order to stay grounded and calm in your personal power?
What do YOU value and stand for?
What are you mad at someone else for not doing for you that you could be doing for yourself?
Go ahead and read that last one a couple more times! Sometimes, we are more upset with ourselves for not having set boundaries than we are at the person who is asking for something we don't want to do! I believe that the events of life are an opportunity for us to see where we're at.
What's before us is for us! We may not like it, but if we don't have something to learn from it, then why is it presenting? Knowing yourself and what you value is a huge step in being able to set boundaries, both for other people as well as for your own internal experience of Self.
I champion us all as we walk this delicate balance between giving graciously from a centered heart and giving too much because we need the approval of others. Please be patient with your sweet Self as you navigate this labyrinth and know that it is a process of unfolding into true empowerment!
All my love and deepest respect on your journey!