Sunday, 24 February 2019

4 Steps for Setting Healthy Boundaries

Image Credit: @robineisenberg

I think it's great to be around people - making new friends, building new connections and spending quality time together. It's no secret that we’re all unique and diverse in our individual ways, from how we like to be loved and respected, to the things we do not like and will not tolerate. A very early 2019 lesson for me was the importance of setting healthy boundaries. Although I enjoy the fact that I’m surrounded by a wonderfully diverse group of family and friends, I must admit that some of said people can have a tendency to say and do things that upset me and ultimately hurt my feelings. I’ve learned and accepted that my happiness is my responsibility - It is my job/duty to invite the things I love/enjoy into my life as well as remove/create boundaries around the things that threaten my peace of mind. In this post I will share some key things I’ve learned so far with setting healthy boundaries. I find this to be an ever evolving topic with new trick learned every day. I hope this post enlightens you in the importance of maintaining control over your happiness.

What you give great portions of your attention to is what consumes you. Whether it’s social media, a particular friend or a particular thought. This works great if said ‘attention taker’ is something that has a positive impact on our lives. However, sometimes this is not the case. It may be a particular family member, a particular friend or a particular activity that has a negative impact on, therefore the attention we give them drains our energy in a very negative way. Your time/attention is an important aspect of your boundaries. Spending less time focussing attention on such negative ‘attention taker’ is a great way to create a boundary for your mind. If you free you mind of such habits/people you create space for more positive  thing that serve you better. I try my best to not engage too much with people who form a habit of hurting or annoying me. I achieve this in a variety of ways, from not answering call/texts I know may upset me, to declining to hang out with people who pull on my emotions.

In life you get what you ask for and put up with what you tolerate. It's very easy to fall into the trap of people pleasing, tolerating what hurts you all for the sake of not offending others. The problem with bending over backwards/tolerating what you know you do not like is that eventually you risk snapping - which I have experienced (not nice at all!) Once you recognise a pattern of behaviour that does not agree with you or your energy, it’s very important to vocalise how you feel. If you do not communicate this, how will others know how to address and treat you? I know it can feel scary to be confrontational and declare what you do not like, however failure to confront the issue will only make you boil more. Dare yourself to be assertive and let others know how you feel.

A major message that always rings true is that your intuition is your guide. I’ve found that every time I felt overwhelmed by tolerating others too much, my intuition always warned me way before hand. Intuition is that silent voice we sometimes ignore, in my experience it has sent subtle boundary messages such as ‘stop pretending, be yourself’, ‘decline that invitation’ or ‘tell them you’ll think about it and get back to them’. Sometime we somehow get so busy with our day-to-day lives, that we forget to tune in to our guide, thus the voice of intuition sounding quieter and quieter. I tackle this issue by spending quality time with myself and my mind/soul - tuning in to my feelings and understanding how I really feel. If I’m asked to do something I’m not 100% comfortable with, I try my best to ask for some time to think about it before I make a final decision.

So having considered how we direct our attention (and therefore energy), how we can communicate our feelings and how we can also listen to our soul, there are physical practises we can put in place to establish a healthy boundaries. For examples, not all phone calls or text must be answered or responded to right away. You are allowed to take your time to gather your thoughts before responding to anyone. In social situation, you generally have control over who you spend time with. You don't have to accept invitations with people you do not like, and you also do not have to accept invitations or requests on the spot. It's more than okay to say ‘I’ll have to check my availability and get back to you on that’ or simply say ‘no, thank you’. As well as setting healthy boundaries, it's also important to make room for the people and things we love. By cultivating positive energy and interactions (i.e spending time with the people/things/activities we love), we make space for more positive experiences.

I’m by no means advocating intolerance/cutting people off, however I do feel that entertaining things that upset us can be detrimental if tolerated for too long. You are a loving, breathing, beautiful being that deserves every inch of happiness and peace - command it and expect it. Those that truly love us will accept and understand our boundaries, those that do not can leave. I hope this article was of use to you, please do share your methods for setting healthy boundaries, I’m learning this list in infinite.

Love & Peace,

Jen Noir x

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