Hi friends! I have something on my heart that makes me feel very vulnerable. To be honest, I wasn't going to share it, but then I realized that this is such a beautiful safe place, and I needed to. So here it goes... Story time: Over the weekend Greg and I were wandering around Target, when all of a sudden I receive a phone call. I just purchased a new phone about 20 minutes prior and hadn't synced my contacts yet, so when the number popped up, there was no name and I didn't recognize it right away. When I finally realized who was calling, I had already pressed "answer." It was someone from my past; someone whom currently isn't in my life for one reason or another. Suddenly, with one "hello," all of these feelings and emotions started coming up. Their behavior hadn't changed, and I found myself feeling guilt, sadness, and complete nausea (again, reminiscent of the past). In the middle of the linens isle, I was shaking and about to cry, all while being completely pissed off. Not at this person I was having a conversation with, at myself. Why didn't I clearly communicate all of my thoughts and feelings before? Why aren't they hearing me now? How could I have let this person walk all over me? Why am I allowing this behavior to happen again? Why have I not set boundaries with this person? More on this in a minute...
When I was going through my four year training to become a spiritual practitioner (yes, even as a licensed spiritual practitioner and certified health coach, I still have fun stuff like this come up for me) we discussed the importance of setting boundaries in length. Whether it's with our self, partner, family, friends, or colleagues, we are all constantly in relationship, and in relationships, boundaries come up.
Before we get further into boundaries, I want you all to know that I believe each and every person that enters our lives is there for a reason. Some people may be in my life forever, and some may only be there a brief time. I can say with all my heart that I have learned and experienced personal growth from all of them (even if I didn't want to at the time). Totally okay if you don't agree with this, but it's something that I have learned to accept and embrace over time.
So, what are some ways we can set healthy boundaries?
- One of the most brilliant pieces of advice I have ever received was from a friend and mentor: "Sometimes saying no to others, means saying yes to yourself." I mean, WOW! I remember this in the most simple situations to the most complicated circumstances. This is not being selfish, it is simply taking care of ourselves.
- Other people's feelings and needs are no more important than my own. I've written about this before, but in order to love and care for others, we must love and care for ourselves first. This doesn't mean that the other person isn't worthy of receiving, it just means that you do too.
- Identify and speak-up. Whether it's something inappropriate that was said or you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, recognizing what you don't like and bringing it up in a reasonable matter with the other person in a great first step. Also, often times, the other party may not even realize what they are doing in the first place, and this can be a gentle way to bring it to their attention.
You may be wondering how the rest of that conversation went. Well, I ended the call by simply saying something along the lines of, "I wish you the best, but this isn't a conversation and relationship I want to have. Take care." Seems a little blunt, but it was necessary. It wasn't easy, and my stomach felt uneasy afterwards. But, after that settled, I realized I made the best decision for me, and in the end, that's what is most important.