Has someone been pushing your buttons lately?
I ask, because we all have a tipping point. Even those of us who like to think of ourselves as generally calm and centred, can be pushed too far when tensions are frayed. Lockdown isn’t easy; daily doom cycles mean we’re feeling the overwhelm. So if someone poked you a bit too hard last week, something might have just snapped.
If you’ve ever come on one of my courses, you’ll know I do a whole session on boundaries. Everyone knows we need them, but it’s not easy drawing the line with those we love. We want to show people we care, but without feeling frazzled through trying.
There are different types of boundaries, like physical, emotional and spiritual. Your physical boundary isn’t just about your personal space, but who you let into your circle. Your emotional boundaries recognise that you have the right to say how you feel and be treated well, whilst spiritual boundaries reflect what matters to us (ie it’s not just religion). A spiritual boundary is feeling like you belong somewhere with people who ‘get’ you. It’s not the labels we may wear (like mother, friend, wife) but holding true to our values and beliefs, and other people respecting them.
When people know what the rules are, they’re more likely to follow them. Telling friends and family what’s acceptable to you – and what you can’t tolerate – sets a framework that can help you move forward together.
Here’s something that might help:
This week, maybe set the intention to Draw the Line. Take some time to think about which of your boundaries – physical, emotional and spiritual – may be being stretched right now, and how you can take healthy steps to address it. Do you trust the people in your circle, and what adjustments if any might you need to make? Do the people you speak with respect your feelings or beliefs, or try to shut conversations down. If it’s someone making too many demands on your time, maybe write a list of helpful phrases you can try, to let them know where the boundary is. For example, if you need to say no – and you’re allowed to, by the way – you can find gentle ways to let people know. You might start with “thanks for thinking of me, I’ll let you know” or “that’s such a lovely offer, I’m going to pass this time”. Remember that “because I don’t want to” is a perfectly valid reason.
When you start to assert your boundaries, other people – especially those who had benefited before – might get a bit twitchy. But just because they’ve been inconvenienced by you setting some rules, doesn’t mean it’s your job to make them more comfortable.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021