It is one of the most important things that we should be doing every day but so many of us don’t know how to set healthy boundaries and be happy, without being mean. I’m going to go through setting boundaries in relationships that will allow you to create more happiness for you, and those that you share your life with.
Setting boundaries with friends is just as important as setting boundaries with family. Another area of concern is setting boundaries at work, and given that so many people spend so much of their lives at work, this is a vital area where you need to protect your inner peace most of all.
How to set healthy boundaries and be happy, without being mean.
Before getting out of the starting blocks, you have to believe that you deserve to have boundaries before you can even think about deciding what they are; let alone communicating what they are, or enforcing them.
Taking some time out to think about where the lives of others are blurring into yours is the first step. Between us and our loved ones we want there to be a refined dovetail but we must be able to define where another person ends and we begin. In other words, where the boundary is.
An expectation is a preconceived resentment. As soon as you have identified your boundaries you must communicate them to those that they will affect. Not communicating boundaries is like asking someone to sign to and abide by a contract that has not been sighted.
It may be that you have to negotiate some boundaries at this stage if they make something else impossible or unreasonably difficult.
Rather than getting bogged down in minutiae of a matter, I like to check in with myself to discover whether I am experiencing discomfort or resentment, either of these helps me to identify where my boundaries are being breached, it also helps to avoid temper tantrums because I can identify the point of singularity.
The key here is to stay away from Blame Culture and Cancel Culture. Everything external to you, is a projection from within you.
Confrontation is awkward, weird and uncomfortable for everyone.
I don’t recommend we avoid conflict but I do recommend that we speak clearly and without ambiguity. Empathy is one thing, but martyrdom is quite a different thing. Avoid sentences that start with, “I’m not being funny but…” or “With all due respect…” because they will immediately force the other person into listening to respond rather than listening to hear.
The term ‘Self-Care’ has become repugnant to me since being diagnosed with clinical depression. It is a term that I associate with victim consciousness and suffering rather than a state of life that can be managed.
Call it whatever you like, the labels are not important. What is important is that you understand that looking after your vessel is important, valid and even more importantly necessary.
Living in the present in the only way to truly be at peace with your existence, but you don’t come from nowhere.
In every event there is a lesson that you either will, or will not, learn. Going through life seeking to understand rather than to be understood allows you to move forward in your life, evolving. This is much more appealing than the groundhog day of repeating your lessons because you doggedly insist on being understood.
This conjures up images of toddlers lying belly down on the linoleum with banging fists and swinging legs but being assertive is the cool diplomacy of communication free from justification. It is the ability to respond to an attempted crossing of your boundaries with a “No.” and nothing more.
Ditch the because, and become.
“Break it down into manageable chunks” is a phrase we all know, so much so that it has become white noise. The power of going atomic on your behaviours (a phrase and strategy I learned from James Clear in his book) is incredible.
Don’t think you are limited to breaking things down; tear them apart if you want to. Your life is yours, and not living it in full awareness of that is a betrayal of yourself!
I’m neither a stoic, nor a mystic. I am Stoically Mystical, and I am unapologetic about it. That being said, I do not operate alone, we all need to be able to benchmark, signpost and sense-check with our peers.
What is incredibly important here is that this doesn’t become a quest for external validation or you succumbing to the cognitive bias of safety in numbers. Seek opinion and feedback; reject approval or disapproval.
The only story that matters is the one you tell yourself, and even that is probably a lie.
The cognitive biases of the human brain are so far reaching and widely recognised that, truth be told, we don’t really know what is up and what is down. We do know that we have a cognitive bias to remember and experience in the negative. How often have you said “Tell me no lies” when you meant “Tell me the truth” in conversation?
What have you encountered with boundary setting and self management, comment below.