Ever heard the advice “set your boundaries”? I have heard this many times, pretty sure I have even said it more than a few times.
Recently, I have found myself in the midst of a few sticky situations with clients, family and with my well being. Entangled in out-of-control uncomfortable family situations or overwhelmed with work or chores, I have been getting lots of “coaching” and great advice on how to set my boundaries or not let someone cross them. I finally blew up at a coach of mine and said: “what the hell does that even mean, REALLY?!”
I mean, really, how do you know what the boundary is? I know what I’m supposed to say, but how do I know I’m right about where the boundary line is? How do I set my boundaries and not trample on others’ boundaries, or worse, leave others hurt or feeling bad?
As per our practice here in our Goddess Movement, I began getting myself into a real inquiry about these questions (after the mini-fit I threw on my coach). I was chatting with my daughter, Elayne, who was also having a bad week, and had declared this week to be Boundary Week and suggested I hop on the bandwagon. So what is Boundary Week? We decided it was a week to actively work on finding and setting boundaries. As is my usual experience, LIFE showed up with LOTS of challenging opportunities for me to explore!
The two most basic questions I keep asking myself are: “where is the boundary?” and “how do I know?”
Acknowledging that a boundary had been crossed was actually tough, the thing that kept coming up was me feeling trapped in others’ situations or moods. My coach pointed out that this could be one of my signs—boundary crossed!
I saw that boundaries were being crossed going both ways: I put what I am experiencing and feeling on other people and I also think it’s my responsibility to take on what they’re experiencing and feeling.
The thing I found (well Elayne, really) was actually another question that helped me figure out what my boundaries are. I look at the situation and ask myself, what works, or is this workable for me, for them, for the situation? In more interpersonal ways: does this really work for me?
I noticed that when I ask myself these questions it is simple to see if I am about to cross a line or let another over my line. Though it’s not always easy, once I recognize what needs to be done, setting my own boundaries becomes obvious.
Now’s your turn! We invite you to declare your own boundary week and see what you discover for yourself!
~ Anne Peterson, Goddess Guide