Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #18
EP 18: How to set healthy Boundaries!
Identify if you have healthy boundaries or not.
Do you ever feel taken advantage of or resentful when people ask you to do things?
Do you blow up when things get too stressful?
Do you place blame on others for the unhappiness you are feeling?
Do you feel like ‘saving people’ is almost a full time job?
Do you find yourself ‘falling’ for people much faster than you think you should? Either in romantic relationships or with friendships? Do your relationships move quickly?
Do you feel like you are always compromising with others? Always putting what you want 2nd? Or 3rd? Or 4th?
Do you feel like you are always having to or needing to defend yourself?
We have all probably answered yes to at least one of these questions at some point in our lives. Setting boundaries is HARD!
First I'm going to talk about some more broad ideas about setting boundaries, and then towards the end I'm going give you a few very practical things you can do TODAY to start setting healthier boundaries.
Know that you have a right to your thoughts and feelings. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, "I shouldn’t feel that way or I shouldn't think that way." If you hear yourself saying that to yourself, then pause a moment and ask why. Why are you minimizing your thoughts and feelings?
Your thoughts and feelings are valid. Are we forever on a journey of growth and self awareness? Absolutely! But there is also usually a reason you are thinking and feeling certain ways.
The reality is that you teach people how to treat you.
Email is a BIG example of this in my life. I have my work email on my phone. I'm constantly checking my email, and there are a lot of times I reply to emails during NON work hours or on the weekends. And because I started that it has become almost and expectation. If I don’t respond quick enough, then people will text me. Or email me again.
You teach people how to treat you. If you set good boundaries around answering email, then people will know that you will answer as soon as you can, and it probably won't happen if it is an off day or after hours.
Here’s a little tidbit of information: those with poor personal boundaries often tend to violate the boundaries of others.
Okay, not to piggy back off of that concept: Know that your needs and feelings are just as important as others!
You matter, just as much as the next person. Putting yourself last isn’t good for anyone - you or the people you love and care for.
I learned a quote, I think from Parker Palmer when I was in undergrad and it has forever stayed with me. Self Care is not selfish because you cannot give what you do not have.
If you want to be able to show up for your family and friends, for your job and your church…then you HAVE to show up for yourself.
Know what works for you, and what doesn’t
This is really about self awareness. I've said it before and I'll say it again - self awareness is KEY. Doing the inner work, asking the tough questions, digging deep makes all the difference.
‘Putting up’ with behavior is a waste of time and bad for your happiness and health.
I have someone really close to me who is struggling right now. She has been struggling for a little while, and I've tried to be there for her. I've made myself available. I've called and called and called with no response. I've shown up and not given the time of day. I want so badly for her to be able to be open and honest with me. I want for her to start her own journey toward health.
BUT I can't change her. And there for a while it got really hard on me because I was trying SOO hard with no response. So I had to take a step back.
Taking a step back does NOT mean that I don't care. That I wouldn't be there for her if she needed me. That what she is going through is unimportant. It just acknowledging my limitations, and it means that I had to know myself enough to know that I can't spend my energy trying to do something that is not producing any results.
Be clear with those around you what you’re willing to accept and not accept. Be firm, in a calm and confident way.
Part of this is about identifying what you want. I've seen a quote going around the socials lately: decide who you want to be and show up as her.
But to do that, you have to know who you want to be.
You have to know what you want to know what to set boundaries around
If this seems foreign to you, I have a little mini course to help you get started with this. It's called the mini mindset reset, and you can find all the details at amberleagray.com.
Trust that Inner Voice, Trust Your Gut
If something feels off, it usually is. You know yourself better than anyone else. Trust that.
Trusting your inner voice doesn’t mean that you forever disengage, it just means you pause to figure out what's really going on in a situation. You can always revisit it when you are feeling more clear.
If someone is coming to you with something you have to do RIGHT NOW, where you feel cornered with no choice. Take a moment, trust your gut. Is this really as urgent as they are making it seem?
Sometimes other people put the urgency of their priorities on to you, when it is not your priority. And it can send us in a tail spin trying to solve someone else's problem.
It's okay to say NO!
No matter now much it feels like its not, Saying no is a choice you have. Continuing to do things you don’t want to isn’t self sacrifice, it’s actually damaging. It is unfair to yourself and to those around you!
Hard if you are a people pleaser
Hard if you are in a helping profession.
My joy to say yes.
Hard if you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur
Saying no might mean you lose $$$
Reality is, probably not.
When you free yourself up, you are able to make room for bigger and better things
Saying no is ALWAYS a choice you have.
So what does this look like practically?
I hear you amber lea! But what do I DO?! It's so hard!
Yes, it is hard. And it take time and it takes practice and it takes consistency.
The first thing you should do is plan!
If you know you have something to do 3 nights out of the week, and someone wants to have a meeting with you on the 4th night…and you haven't seen your husband or family or your dog in forever and a day…then it is okay to say no….AND you don't owe anyone an explanation. Mark out "me" time or "family" time on your calendar and literally write SOMETHING. So when someone asks you to meet on that 4th night, you can say, "No, I have something on my calendar."
Once you identify what you want/need, then you need to communicate it! People cant read your mind!
When you are faced with an on the spot decision, tell them you will get back with them after you think about it. Don’t take on the urgency of others.
When you start to shift your expectations of others and set healthy boundaries where there might have been not so healthy boundaries, I want you to be prepared for some push back.
People will want to buck the system.
Unhealthy people don't like to be around healthy people.
Don’t give up. People will eventually adjust OR you will find new people.
My email is another good example of this. If I start NOT answering emails at night and on days off, then people would stop expecting them!
It is like that with everything. It just takes a little time, because you are all learning a new way of doing things.
So that's what I got for you today! A reminder about my course the Mini Mindset Reset! If you want more information, then head over to amberleagray.com. I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend and I'll catch you next week!