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The B Word - Part Two

So, how did Part One go for you?

Was it, uncomfortable? Interesting?

Did you learn something new?

Either way: I hope you read it. Because this week we're diving into what healthy boundaries look like and what they'll require from you.

Not to be a party pooper, but, if you're not used to setting boundaries, this process is going to take some getting used to.

If you haven't read part one yet, go back and read it. I'll wait...

What Healthy Boundaries Look Like

Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say "no" to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships.

Know your limits. Before becoming involved in a situation, know what's acceptable to you, and what isn't. It's best to be as specific as possible, or you might be pulled into the trap of giving just a little bit more, over and over, until you've given far too much.

Know your values. Every person's limits are different, and they're often determined by their personal values. For example, if you value family above all else, this might lead to stricter limits on how late you will stay at work, away from family. Know what's most important to you, and protect it.

Listen to your emotions. If you notice feelings of discomfort or resentment, don't bury them. Try to understand what your feelings are telling you. Resentment, for example, can often be traced to feelings of being taken advantage of.

Have self-respect. If you always give in to others, ask if you are showing as much respect to yourself as you show to everyone else. Boundaries that are too open might be due to misguided attempts to be liked by elevating other people's needs above one's own.

Have respect for others. Be sure that your actions are not self-serving, at the expense of others. Interactions should not be about winning, or taking as much as possible. Instead, consider what's fair to everyone, given the setting and relationship. You might "win", but at the cost of a relationship's long-term health.

Be assertive. When you know it's time to set a boundary, don't be shy. Say "no" respectfully, but without ambiguity. As Brené Brown says, "Clarity is kindness". If you can make a compromise while respecting your own boundaries, try it. This is a good way to soften the "no", while showing respect to everyone involved.

Consider the long view. Some days you will give more than you take, and other days you will take more than you give. Be willing to take a longer view of relationships, when appropriate. But if you're always the one who's giving or taking, there might be a problem

What Boundaries Will Require From You

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Staying in the discomfort of setting a boundary (having the conversation, saying the hard things, keeping the boundary while allowing other people to react however they want without you trying to make them feel better), well, that is the challenge.

Your responsibility is to you.

Their reaction to your boundaries is their responsibility.


Be kind to yourself in this process. Get yourself support in this practice.

If you're anything like me, I had boundaries in my head...but they never came out of my mouth. I would find myself just 'going along to get along': I'd tell someone what they wanted to hear, I'd agree, and then I'd run away, ruminate, get angry and resent people for crossing boundaries they didn't know existed.

That's not ok...

And it's clearly not healthy.

Boundaries are asking for what you need and then being responsible for what you think and feel. And guess what: that's not all sunshine and rainbows and roses.

When setting boundaries, here are a few phrases and tips I've found useful.

I'm not going to be able to take care of that for you.

That doesn't work for me.

Please don't do that. If this happens again, I'm going to XYZ.

(Or, If this happens again, this is what I'm going to do: _____.)

Again, this isn't about changing them. It's about what you're going to do for you.

Example: You have a person who loves to call and complain and talk about how miserable his/her life is. And although you don't enjoy being their dumping ground, you feel guilty for not sitting there in the much with him/her because, you know, they're so miserable! You can say, "I hear what you're saying. How can I support you?" You don't need to fix them (fixing was my go-to move...because I was so uncomfortable). AND, you don't need to dragged down by them.

You can also totally say, "You know, it seems that when we speak, it's usually for you to complain. I'm happy to talk to you on the phone, but I'm ok with being here just to listen to you complain. If you continue to complain, I'm going to get off the phone." #boundary

And then, when they complain (because they will, because you've been entertaining their misery) you'll say, "I gotta go. I love you. I adore you. But I am not willing to have this conversation again. Maybe it's time for you to get a coach or a therapist to get the support you need to work through this."

And they will not like it. Especially if this dynamic has existed for a long time.

At this point: it's on YOU to stick to YOUR boundaries.

Boundaries are all about the energy and attention behind the boundary.

Again, it's not about control, or winning. It's about supporting yourself.

How it is received is none of your business.

We teach people how to treat us, and how others treat you is a direct reflection of how you treat yourself.

Full consider that...

Boundaries are an outward manifestation of your self worth, self respect, and self love.

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