I’m fascinated by boundaries and the way we set and guard them – or don’t. It seems that quite often we’re pretty wishy-washy about what is okay and what is not okay. Why is that?
When we listen to others, we’re usually pretty darned clear about what is and is not an acceptable way for others to treat them. However, when it comes to ourselves many of need a gentle reminder that it’s perfectly acceptable to expect others to respect our privacy and treat us with consideration and respect.
Have you ever had anyone ask you to do something and even when you say ‘no’ they push for reasons why? Or completely disregarding your response, keep pushing for a ‘yes’? That’s because your boundary is not clear to you. If it’s not clear to you and if you are not willing to protect that boundary, how in the world can you expect someone else to be observant and respectful of that boundary?
Yes, I’ve had to learn a few lessons about boundaries myself and it’s an ongoing project. I’ve found that it’s not only okay to set and protect my boundaries, but it’s essential if I want to keep my sanity. This benefits others as well because if I am able to acknowledge and respect my personal boundaries, I’m much more likely to acknowledge and respect theirs as well. This pretty much keeps me out of trouble.
It’s perfectly okay with me if someone asks me personal questions. I answer the questions that I want to answer, but if someone asks something that I do not want to answer I simply tell them that I prefer not to discuss. If they push, I ask why they want to push regarding something that I’ve already made it clear is not open to discussion. I ask this sincerely and then I shut my mouth. The conversation never fails to change directions. I’m protecting myself. Picking and choosing what I will and will not discuss. Trust me it gets easier each time.
The same thing works very easily when someone asks me to do them a favor or invites me somewhere. I’m usually very happy to accept, but if I decline with a simple, ‘no thank you’, I feel like that should be enough. If pushed, I once again ask why they want to push. Hmmmm…the results can be very interesting. Usually, the subject drops or changes.
One of my favorite people on the planet made a very wise observation recently. I’ve got to paraphrase because I didn’t write down her precise words. But this is the gist of her wisdom. If we believe that our souls are eternal (I do!) then our bodies are simply playing host to our souls. Why in the world would we treat this beloved guest with any less consideration, love, and respect than we offer to others? Wow! That was very profound and I’m grateful to her for sharing.
This makes it even easier for me to protect my boundaries with love, kindness but absolute clarity. After all, my soul is my constant guest and deserves kindness and the most excellent treatment and this guest is absolutely going to receive that sort of kindness.
This does not mean that I don’t reach out to others to ask questions or engage in other ways. I absolutely do! However, I try to be aware of the signals that they send out to me and respect those signals. I simply ask them to do the same. It feels very good. This is self-care.
The truth is that if you are a family member, friend, or even a client who comes to me for life coaching, Reiki or hypnosis you have heard my views about self-care again and again. I think it’s vital that we take good care of ourselves. When we do so, we are much more able to treat others well.
How about it? Are you ready to recognize your own boundaries? Are you able to see and acknowledge the boundaries established by others? I encourage you to really listen to yourself and others. What feels okay? Find that place of comfort and good feelings and simply, lovingly but firmly protect your boundaries. Practicing that self-care gets easier and easier and others will learn from you. This is good for you and good for them as well.