Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Often boundaries are thought of as something abrupt, or something that must be spoken, or that implementing a boundary means that you are saying you don’t like or care about someone. No wonder then that there is some resistance to having good boundaries! I invite you to look at boundaries in a different way today. Here is a quote that sums up the essence of this perfectly.
“Your boundary need not always be an angry electric fence that shocks those who touch it. It can be a consistent light around you that announces I will be treated sacredly.” Jaiya John.
Let’s start with setting intentions. Do you set an intention each day? Or before a meeting? Or before attending a social or family function? Setting an intention for any experience is the first thing that you can do to protect the space around you, and around others. It’s a way of acknowledging to yourself and others, your intention of how you want things to go.
The above is the first way you can create a nice, strong boundary. The second layer is to intentionally create and influence the spaces around you by creating boundaries in the places that
you occupy such as your space at home, your space online, or any space you share with others, like your work. This might look like having certain things in your environment to make you feel calm, it might be unfollowing accounts on social media, only being on platforms that make you feel good, reducing your news consumption, not engaging in gossip, or it might be standing up for others or what you believe in. These create boundaries that remove negative influences from your life and bring in what you want to positively influence you instead.
Where people run into challenges with boundaries is the ‘caring too much’ space. If you communicate or act from the “caring too much” space, you may be stepping into a rescuer zone.
Do you frequently step in to help other people?
What are the consequences of you being a rescuer? For both you & the other person?
How can you manage your urges here?
Putting in firm boundaries with people can demonstrate that you believe they are equipped enough to make & bear the choices in their life. This creates more self-efficacy. If I fell into the trap of being a rescuer in my work as a coach, I would be terrible at my job! The potential of my clients would diminish whilst mine would increase.
This brings me to Roles. Do you ‘change hats’ when you move between your roles? If we were being coaches with our families all the time, we would become exhausted, resentful, and then end up feeling guilty! No thank you! Here are 2 tips for creating a boundary around your roles:
1. Let people know when you are transitioning into a different role.
2. Signal to yourself you are changing roles. You can do this by getting changed out of your work clothes to signal to yourself and others that you are no longer wearing your work hat.
Lastly, are you comfortable with the amount of time you are giving/or receiving to or from others? If you tend to overgive in your roles by a way of receiving self-worth or validation, this is a path to burnout and resentment.
I want you to get into the habit of tuning into yourself, and identify what it is that you WANT to do? What would you not like to do? How can you get into the habit of creating about boundary around over-giving or under-receiving?
Here are some helpful tips for setting boundaries:
Identify your wants. Honor them. Nobody is going to read your mind and do this for you. People always love to be on the receiving end of an over-giver, so it’s certainly not going to be them to enforce you doing less! It has to be a decision that is made within you.
The more you honor your boundaries, (opening to what feels good, turning away from what feels bad) the less resentful you are and the more you have to give.
Express your needs. Let people know your feelings. What is okay and what isn’t. Most people prefer to know where they stand. It is possible to do this in a compassionate way by using “I” language.
Your body is a great indicator to know if something feels good or not. Tune into it before making decisions.
Bree Le Roux, 2021