When I say the word boundaries, what do you think of? I think of boundaries like rules for kids...or furry kids. I think of someone telling me what to do. I think the setting boundaries outside of the normal ones, also feels a little selfish. For example, if I say no, I can’t work overtime this weekend because I have plans with my family. Or no, I can’t lead the events team, even though I do that as my day job, but I am still willing to be a part of the team.
Brene Brown, the amazing author of The Gifts of Imperfection, says that, “Compassionate people are boundaried people. The heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become. Well, it’s difficult to accept people when they are hurting us or taking advantage of us or walking all over us.” What she says makes sense, right? If I say yes to working over the weekend when I already had plans, it makes me bitter. It certainly doesn't make me like my boss or my job more. It doesn’t make me happier. It doesn’t allow me the time I need over the weekend to refresh myself. It makes my family annoyed that we made plans and then I am cancelling at the last minute which causes more tension in my world.
If we flip that thinking and look at boundaries as a compassionate act of self care then it becomes a whole lot easier to say, “I know you need a lead for your events team but that just isn’t me right now. I’m happy to still help as a teammate if you’d like.” When you say it from a place of compassionate intention, out the door goes the guilt and the pressure to please others and in comes a happier, healthier me. And that’s what we want, right? A happier, healthier self who can really engage on the things that are most important to us?
Take a little time to think through this concept of setting boundaries as an act of compassion and self care. Where do you need to set up boundaries in your life? Want some help figuring it out? Let’s talk!