It’s been an interesting week hearing feedback about the different ways some of you have practiced setting new boundaries, communicating your desires to make positive changes in your relationships and in your lives. I get that it’s challenging, especially when you first start to make this shift in your life.
Very predictably, you have hit resistance – that’s NORMAL! Remember, everyone in your life is used to you behaving a certain way, and when you change, it causes them to pause…sometimes quite noticeably! Mostly they pause because they don’t believe you. Actually, the bigger question is, “do you believe you?!”
If you think about all the times you have said to them “I’ve had it… I’m done… I’m not doing this anymore… I can’t take it anymore…” and then continued to keep on going, keep on doing this, keep on taking it … They’ve been hearing that for years, right? So, why would they believe you now? You may be clear that this time it’s different, but they don’t know it yet…
Setting new boundaries and maintaining them is NOT like taking an antibiotic, where within one dose you feel better and within days you’re cured. Setting and maintaining new boundaries requires “The Three P’s”: Practice, Patience and Perseverance.
DO NOT give up hope because people in your life are not yet taking you seriously, or even if they are angry with you right now for changing the rules. This is about taking care of you, and being true to who you are, what your needs and feelings are, and making sure you finally say – and follow through on – the message that your needs and feelings matter as much as anyone else’s.
BREATHE! While change right now may feel overwhelming and daunting, know that you have a support team behind you…
Very few decisions have to be made immediately. If you are struggling with holding your ground, Stop! Breathe! And Focus! Take a break from the conversation, whether in person or on the phone.
Say, “I’ll be right back…” Then go outside and take a short walk till you feel calmer and more centered. Go to the bathroom and wash your hands and face, brush your teeth! Simply breathe, until you feel more centered, more able to hold your ground and take loving and respectful care of yourself. If you need to, “use a lifeline” as they say in the game shows: call your best friend, your spouse, your therapist or your spiritual advisor – whoever in your support system might be most helpful to help you regain your center.
Establishing your boundaries on the phone is somewhat easier to handle, because when you feel your strength or resolve ebbing away you can always say, “Hey, let me call you right back…” and hang up quickly. You can then go back to breathing and getting centered, either on your own or with the help of a “lifeline” resource.
Remember to ALWAYS…
- Ask yourself what your desired outcome is
- Make sure it’s something over which you have control
- Frame that desired outcome in terms of what you want, and NOT what you DON’T want
Remind yourself often that it takes 28 days to make a habit, and that these steps need to be practiced daily. Chances are you’ll have multiple times in any given day to practice establishing healthier boundaries. So trust that while you continue to Practice, as long as you are Patient with yourself and you are willing to Persevere because you know you are worth it, you will see positive results.
Remember also that you do not have to go it alone! Take a half hour or so to use my Caregivers Step-By-Step Guide and audio, to get some clarity and begin to shift your mindset.
You can find that freedom in the midst of the overwhelm…really!
Leave your comments, questions or concerns below… I look forward to hearing from you.
And we breathe…