Setting Healthy Boundaries, Responding vs. Reacting, and Words of Caution & Encouragement
We are resuming this newsletter from last month, continuing our Locus of Control discussion – Internal and External – and how that affects you.
For a quick overview, when you operate from the Internal Locus:
- you are taking complete control of your life. Note: this does not mean the life of anyone else!
- you work with yourself only and don’t try to change others – you have no rules for other people in relationships – just your own healthy boundaries.
- you only control what is controllable – yourself, your emotions, your time, money, energy, your health (to a certain degree), etc.
- you don’t waste your time or your energy in trying to control or change events outside of your influence.
- you create and live in your desired reality vs. living in others’ reality. And in doing this,
- you must be clear and have strong, healthy boundaries, because you know that you will be tested and challenged.
Last month we covered more in depth:
- Your personal needs and wants must be prioritized in a healthy and constructive way in order for you to achieve true happiness. We used the analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first in the case of a plane emergency – which provides the best chances of survival for everyone. The same is true, although not quite so obvious, in our individual lives. To be as effective as possible, we must take care of our own needs and wants first. Why? Simply because we cannot give to others what we don’t already have!
- Personal core values define what is most important and most valuable to you in your life. They help determine how you prioritize your decisions, including your time, money and energy, by pointing out what you believe in and stand for. When you want to become your most true, authentic self, you must define your own set of values. If you are following the direction provided by others, you will take on values throughout your life that you don’t agree with and that won’t serve your life purpose!
- When you consciously set your own standards and chose to live according to them, the result is that you have your own morals, values, belief system, and discernment, and you are your own unique person – you are a high-quality man or woman. When it comes to your standards, you must consciously choose what you feel is right for you. And, you will be assured that you are living your own truth. Someone will always disagree – they always do. This lifestyle separates you out from others – you are more meticulous, more selective; you will turn down some offers, potential relationships, and people who want to get close to you as friends, because they are not aligned with your core values! This is part of who God is living in the physical!
This month we are looking at:
- Setting Healthy Boundaries
- Responding vs. Reacting
- Words of Caution and Encouragement
You must have healthy boundaries in order to take good care of yourself and get your needs and wants met. Since you are taking care of yourself, it is important that you maintain these boundaries without apology, and there is no need to explain or apologize to others when you are doing what is best for yourself.
It is important that you learn how to do this with grace and ease – knowing that it is part of the behavior of a healthy person to ensure that other people consider your needs, wants, desires and time with respect. Require what you need and what you believe is right for you.
It goes without saying if you are new at setting boundaries, then the people in your life are also new to you setting down boundaries! And they may very well be somewhat startled at first which could lead to offensive and even bad behavior on their part. When you are setting your boundaries, whether the first time or the umpteenth time, you are standing up for yourself and it is important that you help people understand that certain behavior and treatment is just not acceptable. You do not need to be harsh or unkind when you give them this message – in fact, if they are being rude or offensive, it is important that you are not mirroring their conduct, but rather you are firm (and repetitive if necessary) in your message. And do not apologize if they are offended or affronted. They choose their behavior. It is also important that if as a result of this interaction you are feeling ashamed, or embarrassed, confused or upset, you resolve your emotions on your own. You must be able to tell and show people how you want them to treat you.
It is important to let others know what you are and are not willing to do for them. As well, you need to let them know when you are insulted, uncomfortable, hurt, or feeling taken advantage of. And in these circumstances, do not hesitate to say no – at least for the time being, until you have time to consider things more. Be firm. Set your terms without apologizing. You will find most people stop disrespecting you as soon as you are clear and stop accepting the behavior from them.
Boundaries are not walls:
There are numerous bonuses to setting healthy boundaries. One is that the people who belong in your life and who treat you well will respect you even more. The people who mistreat you already have a sense of what is being overlooked and are taking advantage when they mistreat you. Unless you stop this pattern, they will continue, and it will not improve on its own. Once you say no, they will do one of three things:
- Test you to see if you are serious
- Realize it is time to stop taking advantage of you and start treating you differently
- Leave and find someone else to treat poorly
Regardless of what they chose, they will respect you for standing up and setting clear boundaries.
People can intentionally or unintentionally cross your boundaries. Once they do, you must stand up for yourself and let them know they have crossed the line. And you need to do it right away. It is important that you do the following:
- Communicate how you feel
- Give specific examples
- Start the conversation with ‘I’ vs. ‘you’
- Continue the conversation until you are clear that you have been heard so that it is as complete as it can be
RESPONDING VS. REACTING
When we first begin to stand up for ourselves and live according to core values, it is easy to go overboard and react vs respond. What is the difference? A reaction is usually an emotional defense mechanism, without giving adequate thought or time to it. Whereas when you respond, there is very little emotion and you take into considering the long-term effect of what you are doing and saying.
Women tend to make their point with words and men make their point much easier with actions. Either way, the first thing to do is to remove yourself from the situation so that you are not drawn into the drama, potential rejection and hurt feelings, regret, etc. We will work more with this and how to be effective on the Zoom call next Wednesday.
Making your needs a priority, living by your values, and loving yourself is your responsibility. You must live your truth! It is up to you to set and maintain healthy boundaries, get your needs met, and learn how to say no firmly and yet graciously.
WORDS OF CAUTION AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Having an external locus of control, making your needs a priority, setting healthy boundaries, living by your truth, so that you can fulfill your life purpose may be one of the hardest skill sets you will ever develop. I say this because if it was easier, everyone would have already mastered it!
Making yourself the priority and yet being inter-dependent in today’s world, standing up for yourself, and setting healthy boundaries will ensure that you become stronger, more energized, and feel terrific about yourself. You will live a successful and fulfilling life. As you become mentally, emotionally and physically strong, people will look up to you. They will start turning to you for direction and assistance. If you do not continue to maintain your healthy boundaries, this in itself can become draining and overwhelming. You will require a new level of skill and boundaries as you grow, prosper and thrive.
As well, when you don’t do what people expect when they look up to you, they will criticize you, and this can hurt if you let it. You will need to learn how to separate out fact from fiction and learn from what is truthful about you, always focusing on your own growth, becoming the best version of yourself, and successfully fulfilling your destiny. Not everyone will always be your supporter – and you will undoubtedly create some adversaries/antagonists along the way, even when you have the best of intentions. People love to engage in power struggles because they do not understand true power and where it sources from. The great news here is that when used correctly, it’s all feedback you can use to refine yourself and become the best possible version of yourself, living your best possible life.
As you become one of the tallest trees in the forest you will come to understand that the tallest trees withstand the strongest winds.
MY INVITATION TO YOU
This month I’m inviting you to take a fresh look at your boundaries and where you still have a tendency to react vs respond. What still triggers you into reaction? I hope you can join us for the Zoom call.
I am holding you in my heart.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
The Living Light Foundation