I was reading The Binding by Bridge Collins a book about, funnily enough, book binding and the idea of erasing memories, painful, negative memories. It's a great book and I loved it, but it started to make me think about the erasing of memories and what that would be like which led me, oddly, to setting boundaries.
When I think about boundaries there's all kinds that I have, without knowing them
my physical boundaries, walls and hedges around our house,
my personal physical boundaries, who may touch me for example,
my mental boundaries giving me freedom to think my thoughts,
my emotional boundaries to deal with my emotions,
my spiritual boundaries to distinguish how I will live my life with God
my work boundaries, hours I'll work, who has my number, who I'll go to lunch with or after work drinks.
And I suspect I've got some more too, but how did I come to set those boundaries?
I started reading around and came up with the following
Know your limits
For each of my relationships I wanted to ensure I felt comfortable and safe within it. So for example, with work I've never felt comfortable going out with members of my team after work. I'm the senior manager and I remember being a junior member of the team, when I went out after work I wanted to blow off steam, complain about management and generally goof around, but I felt I could never do any of this when the "manager" was there, no matter how much I liked them. As I senior manager I made the decision that I would go out every so often, buy everyone a drink and then leave. That was my boundary set.
Be strong with your decision
When I made this decision, I knew that I needed to keep to it. Sometimes I'd get the "oh stay for one more", but my reply was always "you'll have way more fun with me gone…. Trust me!" Having the reply ready made it easier to keep my boundary in place.
I always made sure that I was consistent, I always kept the same boundary no matter which work team I was with. Once I'd started it was easy to keep. If anyone asked me about why, I was honest with them about how I felt. Honesty is always the best policy.
What did I learn from this?
The big one was respect. People respected me for my decision and I respected myself for creating and sticking with it. I found my voice and saying no was good. I rarely say no, but every now and again it's good to put myself first, for me to be happy and comfortable. I also learnt to respect others boundaries. When others say no, I never question it, I accept it always with grace. It's all about what they feel is good for them. For true happiness boundaries need to be created, stuck with and be consistent. Saying no and setting your boundaries take time, patience and practice. It's not always easy, and I'm still working on it. They will get crossed, but it's about thinking and talking about them and why they are there in the first place.
Always be prepared to change or move a boundary. What I've learnt the most is that with all things in life you need grace and kindness, grace kindness for yourself and grace kindness for others. With that, you can't go far wrong.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. If this post has made you think and you would like to make a change, then contact me and we can have a free 30-minute chat about how I can help you and take advantage of some 121 Executive coaching. Finding the power within to change is what I do, why not do it today.
About the Author Elizabeth Pickering is an Executive Resilience coach, who helps people find success, focus and balance in their life. I take them from feeling overworked, overwhelmed, stuck and stressed to feeling energised, empowered and falling in love with life again.Working with sole traders, business owners and entrepreneurs, I keep them on track towards their goals, giving them energy, focus, motivation and the freedom to enjoy their life.