When we embark on creating healthier boundaries, it means that we have to put our needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions about our preferences, principles and priorities into action. We have to communicate through our actions, intentions and words what is and isn’t permissible. In trying to feel our way through what might feel like new and possibly scary territory to us, we might wonder Am I doing boundaries right? Is this boundary OK? Is this an OK boundary for me to have? Did I say/do the right thing?

In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain the landmarks of boundaried communication: compassion, congruency, clarity, ownership and grace.

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Nuggets from the episode

  • Strive for a one or a few, you hit on them all
  • When we create healthier boundaries, we can be more of who we say we are. We can move towards the things that matter because our boundaries reflect this.
  • Everything about boundaries is underpinned by a core principle: boundaries are two-fold. When we know and set the boundaries for others, we have to create that same boundary on our end.
  • Compassion is a full-circle gig: we’re not being that compassionate if we don’t include ourselves in our compassion. It takes vulnerability, empathy and kindness. When we create our boundaries with compassion, we recognise our humanness as well as that of others and recognise the need to do right by the situation/relationship.
  • We avoid vulnerability so that we don’t risk the possibility of conflict, criticism, stress, disappointment, loss or rejection, but this means that we don’t risk being a happier, healthier human being either. We don’t get to evolve our relationships to be a better place.

Compassion stops us from disregarding our feelings about something and then using our over-logical mind to convince ourselves that we are the problem.

  • When what we do on the outside doesn’t match our feelings, actions, intentions and heartfelt desires, that conflict manifests itself in the boundary issues and problems we experience.
  • Congruency is about us being in agreement with who we say we are, what we’re trying to communicate, and our intentions. The more we do this, the more successful outcomes we enjoy.
  • We avoid direct communication because of fear of conflict, criticism, rejection, vulnerability and hurting the other person’s feelings. Unfortunately, we experience far more problems from hinting and being indirect than we do from being direct!

If we don’t create healthy boundaries or even know what ours are, it’s shorthand for ‘I don’t know what’s my responsibility’.

  • Boundaries are so much more than saying no or letting people know when they’ve pissed us off. They’re about creating a life that looks and feels like ours, that reflects our values and our needs. We need to create boundaries about that because otherwise, how will we know when we’re there? We’ll let in the wrong people, things and situations.
  • Grace means seeing boundaries as a way to grow a relationship, not as a means of ruling others.

Links mentioned

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