Like in any ecosystem – what you put in effects the whole environment. If you have an emotional oil spill – you’re going to create a toxic environment. If you stuff your feelings, just like damning up part of a river, you’re going to get stagnation. Nothing survives in a toxic environment. Including clarity.
What’s one situation that’s making your life toxic?
Use the clarity creating tool of establishing a boundary.
Where to start: identify your limits; from what makes you feel uncomfortable to what gets you completely stressed. That’s your clue where you need a boundary. Don’t worry. A lot of us—because of our families, or cultures or genders—have never learned how to impose them.
Boundaries require giving yourself permission, making self-care a priority, and most importantly, having self-awareness (something else we aren’t taught) it’s more the norm we learn self-sabotaging, self-criticism.
So give yourself a break and start small.
They can be material, physical, emotional or mental.
Include these characteristics: especially in relationships (on both sides): healthy behavior, responsibility, accountability, win-win.
Don’t include these attitudes (on both sides): mind-reading, criticizing, judging, guilt trips, enabling
You can (and should) communicate to others what boundaries you are establishing, but remember, you can’t make boundaries for other people, or to fix other people. They are for YOUR health, sanity and clarity.
Here's a few examples to try out:
- I can listen to your opinion with an open mind, if you can do the same. Otherwise let’s agree to disagree.
- I will take work calls after work, but only after ___PM.
- Yes, I can take on an extra carpool, if you can ___.
- Sorry, I can’t reschedule that meeting. It won’t work for me. Here’s the next time I’m available.
- I can’t lend you money, until you pay me back.
- I ‘m not going to go out and have a drink tonight, I’m stressed and that’s a bad combo. Let’s do X instead, or give me a rain check.
Boundaries give you power and insight (clarity). They can relieve you of false expectations, time-sucking tasks, and create clearings in relationships. Where can you create some freedom in your life with a healthy boundary?
(And seriously, if there is something REALLY unhealthy going on in your life, PLEASE reach out for support.)
Until tomorrow...stay clear!
Susan & Jen