A boundary is an act of self-care, self-respect and self-love.
It is something we decide to do for our own benefit. It is not about trying to control the other humans. It’s about getting clarity on what we believe needs to happen and making a decision on how to take care of it.
Far too often we allow things to perpetuate in our lives because we don’t want to offend. Or we don’t want to seem selfish. Or we want people to like us.
The pivotal moment is a realization that someone needs to stand up for us. And that we are the person for the job.
It begins with taking responsibility.
It is a declaration that we have allowed something to happen in the past that we do not want in our future.
It is not about blame. It is about creating the power to change it.
There is a simple formula I use when speaking with the person I am setting the boundary with.
When you do _________, I am going to do _________.
How do you experience joy?
Joy, at first glance, seems to be a lot like happy. But there are many differences.
We are told that happiness is something we need to chase, where joy appears to be a state of being. Merriam Webster tells us that joy is an expression of happiness, but I would argue against that being the only way to experience joy.
If you compare the words technically, joy can be used as both a noun and a verb, whereas happy is an adjective. (so there lol)
And why am I going down this rabbit hole?
Because in a few traditions, joy (along with love) is thought to be a state that exists fully in each of us, 24/7. I could get a little woowoo and describe it as our essence.
So, stay with me and just pretend.
How often do you compare yourself to others?
Perhaps you have inspiring people in your life, and you have encouraging thoughts of wanting to emulate their positive attributes.
Or… maybe you look at others and all you can see is how they are clearly doing life better than you are.
The buzz word(s) these days are ‘compare and despair’.
Comparison was so much a part of my life, I thought it was normal.
Something everyone did.
Sadly, that is likely an accurate statement.
I still might argue that in small and heavily regulated doses it can be worthwhile. I remember as a new mom, trying to figure out if I was doing okay. There were many times where I looked to and learned from other moms. And comparing my kids progress to what their experience was seemed helpful at the time.
Until of course when I would find myself in a panic because my kid seemed to be not measuring up to others. Or when other moms seemed to be handling things so much better.
We have all made mistakes.
Times in our past where we said or did what we now see as the ‘wrong’ thing.
It may be something personal or we may have hurt someone. We may have inadvertently created a mess for ourselves and/or others. Or maybe we ‘stumbled’ in a public setting and feel as though we did ourselves harm.
We apologized. We asked for forgiveness. We did whatever we thought we needed to do to make amends. Perhaps we feel as though we learned something from it. And we have given it time to soften.
So why the heck do we still torture ourselves about it?
I am well aware of the list of things my brain goes to when I, for some unknown reason, have the need to make myself feel bad. Some of them are from 30 years ago! Heck I even have one from the 1st grade.
Sometimes they sneak up on my unguarded mind when I am (or should be) asleep.
Is this really the ‘normal’ working of our brains?
Our primitive brain is designed to keep us alive.
The year we have been pining for has almost arrived! We have crawled our way through the desert, but should we be expecting a miracle?
It is human nature to envision the future in a way that outshines our current state. We call it hope and there are many times where it is the fuel that keeps us going. But can it also set us up for disappointment?
So often we ‘arrive’ at whatever place we imagined, and we are shocked to find that all our habitual, negative programming came along for the ride.
Better-than-here is possible! But a new calendar year won’t change the way we feel, the way we think or what we do. That part of the deal is completely up to us.
Pandemic aside, if you believe 2021 is going to be the year where you lose the Covid 19-pounds or cut back on your recently acquired drinking protocol or refine your family/work/healthcare routine, I believe there are a few things you will need to consider.
Expectations are funny things.
Over the last couple weeks, I have had more than a few moments when I found myself awash in a pool of self-pity about the holidays.
Our 20-something year old daughters are on the other side of the country and neither are coming home.
I was sad. Part of me still is.
But I really needed to get over it as my emotions were truly getting the best of me. So, I decided to pull out my secret weapon — curiosity.
I began my exploration with the specific question of ‘what would a perfect Christmas look like’. From there I did what is called a brain dump (a scientific term no doubt), where you sit down with pen and paper and write for 15 minutes non-stop. (side note – brain dumps are a wonderful way to discover some of the unconscious programming running in the background of your mind)
Let’s just say it was a very revealing experience for me.
One of the best things that came up was that there needed to be snow.
Is your past a good predictor of your future?
I mean, if you have always been a certain way or you have never been good at something, does that mean your future will be the same?
Consider some of the following thoughts.
• I have never been good at meeting people because we moved a lot growing up.
• I’m not good at staying organized because my life has always been too chaotic.
• I don’t like to take risks because my parents always struggled with money.
Being a news addict is big these days.
Perhaps you see the news as an important part of your day. Maybe having your finger on the informational pulse of the world is vital, possibly even for your job.
Or you could be like the rest of us, where we have the belief that we ‘need’ to know… but we are often unsure as to why.
Many years ago, I listened to an interview with someone I had a lot of respect for. And they publicly admitted to not partaking in the news.
The concept blew me away as I had always found myself trying desperately to keep up on things because I didn’t want to be uninformed. Even though I found it exhausting.
But in that moment, I felt like I was given permission.
And if the concept intrigues you, I would like to officially invite you to join me.
Just say no and stop watching the news.
While I know I just lost a bunch of you, let me chat with the rest.
Are we having fun yet?
That used to be a line my friends and I would regularly throw out when we were having questionable experiences. As in experiences that weren’t often that much fun.
Kind of like these last few months.
I had a co-worker from a job many years ago who I adored. (hi Bruce) It was a job we both enjoyed, but it wasn’t without it’s stressful times. We once made a pact to have at least one belly laugh each day. I have often thought of those days, and I know we didn’t always meet our goal. But when you have that as an intention, I do believe it changes your mindset. There is a part of your brain that is always scanning for something that could potentially be funny. And I think it’s a good thing.
We also used to create moments of potential hilarity. We would buy the trash papers (the ones by the check out at the supermarket?) to scan for anything funny. And trust me – there were usually many, even if it was point-and-laugh humor.
Ever had a time when you procrastinated and were happy you did?
Yeah, me neither.
Procrastination is intentionally delaying a task we know we must do. And we do it, even when the delay comes with a cost. So why?
I once thought it was because I lacked discipline. Or maybe because I lacked inspiration. I’m not a slacker…or am I?
What I know for sure is it’s not a character flaw. It is not impossible to overcome. And everyone deals with it.
We don’t procrastinate to avoid work; we do it to avoid our feelings.
When we come up against a task that requires effort or one that we don’t think we are going to enjoy, the brain irrupts in all the fear-based bs thoughts to distract us. (sadly it is programmed to do this and we all experience it!)
Thoughts of doubt, lack of competence, inadequacy, fear of failure….