Carpe Diem, Tempus Fugit, Personal Boundaries & “Push Through”
Take a look at the Xbox Commercial called “Life is Short, Play More”.
This shortie is hilarious…and also a little disturbing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6zgQH3tUKk
What kind of life do you want to lead? Is there some special peak experience that you have always wanted to do? Do you dare to dream? Or do you often get side tracked with external random requests that distract you from your ideal path? Lots of people don’t even attempt to envision a game plan for their best life.
This blog is a Call to Action to you to Push Through your perceived road blocks:
Do your kids need you to drive? Consider a car pool; Is your desk is covered in unfinished files? Prioritize and delegate; Is your Buddha Belly taking over? Stop eating gluten!
We all have challenges in our lives. But these difficulties are more easily surmountable if we can devise a personal life game plan. If we know where we want to go with our lives we can set priorities that will help us to Push Through the storms of every day living towards our better life.
You need to say no to some things so that you open up time in your life to operationalize what you actually really want to get going on. Establishing strong personal boundaries may be the secret to living your most fulfilled life. Be accountable to changes you need to make. Push Through your fear of saying no sometimes. ‘No’ is one of those messages that can be either a doorstopper or a dooropener. Because when you say no to some things, you can say yes to the things that you want more of.
Of course that all makes sense, so why do we get so out of control in our lives?
How much time do you spend with people and ideas that make you feel positive and energized? It is so important to focus some of your time on the things that bring you resonance (when you feel your life is in the zone). And be aware that you can just say no to the things that give you dissonance (those people and ideas that make you feel scattered and distracted).
Do you find that with your busy schedule, you are longing for a chance to consider how you might improve your life but are too busy keeping up in the ‘rat race’ to do anything about it? I love the term ‘rat race’ because rats are not known for having boundaries! If you have had any rates show up in your walls at home, you know what I’m talking about!
Actually there have been a number of experiments designed to figure out where the boundary coding mechanism is set in the hippocampus of a rat. We are all encoded with patterns we have observed in our families and inherited through our DNA. The upper cortical brain is where all our higher functioning, decision making and emotional processing occurs. Have you ever wondered why some people are so good at letting things roll off their back and others seem to constantly attract chaos and drama?
Do you want to take a pass on the ‘Rat Race”? Wanna get off the treadmill? Go get the brain upgrade on Boundaries!! Is it time to consider yours? When you sit back to reflect on people in your life, whether they are in your life at work, at home, in your community, which of these people do you feel most at ease with? I will wager that the folks that you want to be around the most, are people with whom your have set clear boundaries in your relationships.
So what are “Boundaries”? Boundaries are the guidelines you choose to define your limits for communication, behavior and lifestyle. Boundaries are referred to as being: diffuse (not very clear), rigid (impenetrable and isolating) or flexible (clear but defined as needed); the latter of which is considered healthiest.
Without setting and understanding your boundaries, you may feel progressively overwhelmed and out of control whether this shows up in your career, in your close relationships and in your life in general. Emotional overwhelm and shame are the psychological preconditions for addiction and burnout. And they can creep into your life creating a foul odor, just like dead rats in your walls that stink your life up. Defining Boundaries make up a full chapter in my recent book and will be an even bigger chapter in my next book “Love up, Stress down”.
You can think about the concept of boundaries metaphorically. If your neighbor had a vicious dog, you might build yourself a fence for protection. If the dog jumped over the fence and bit you, causing you pain or scaring you, you might say something to your neighbor. If there was no resolution of this conflict, maybe you’d move away. Boundaries are like fences between good neighbours. The more pain someone causes you, the greater need for strong boundaries between him or her and you.
If your work life has no clear boundaries, has vague expectations and reward systems, you will be well-advised to Push Through a conversation with your boss. Working at that kind of a job is like trudging through jelly. You need to get some boundaries at work Clarify your job description. Define your ideal workday. Many people know they aren’t happy with the excessive demands placed on them, but they really don’t know what they actually want. What do you want? Take the risk and ask for it. Set some boundaries.
Emotional boundaries can be strengthened in a practice of what I call the ‘mirror technique’. Recall the folklore of vampire literature, when you hold up a mirror to a vampire, they disappear. In the same way, you can re-direct the scatter bombs, those emotional missiles from others.
When you are the target of negativity, you should re-direct what the person is saying back to the sender. In those moments you can be empathic, and well-boundaried. If it starts to feel like a war zone, you should set up even stronger boundaries.
Setting strong boundaries can be a soul saver if you are in an emotional power struggle with someone close to you. With the emotional safety and space of time, you take the various ‘missile warheads’ and deactivate them to determine if there is learning to grow from or more damage to your soul. From your own terra firma you can also simply and empathically leave those dead emotional missile(s) laying on the beach…just say ”Not my Stuff” to them.
If you don’t exercise your boundaries, it means that you don’t respect yourself and you are continuing to choose to be the bulls-eye in target practice. I don’t think you want that, do you?
Your feelings will guide you in pacing the nature and extent of your boundaries. If you have anxiety, your body may be telling you to either strengthen or diffuse your boundary.
If you are worried that this type of self-care is self-absorbed, think again. You can’t be on your game if you don’t protect yourself sometimes.
Follow your intuition and exercise care about how your actions may affect others in your life too– in your career, with your children, with your friends and in your community.
You set your intellectual boundaries when you sit back for a while to determine who, what and where you want to put your energies. Discover your own way to live honestly. Ask yourself how you feel after you spend time with whomever you spend your time with. Ask yourself if the activities you have been doing are still nourishing to you or if you want to try something new? What is stimulating to you at this stage of your life? Do you want to read, explore, dance, meditate, grow things in a garden, go back to school, volunteer in a Third World country?
Anything you put your attention to will grow if you set some defined time around your intention. So Push Through!!
Here are a few first steps you may want to think about this weekend:
1. Take some time to consider what your values are in life. Your values are a great way to gain clarity and commitment.
2. Think about it…What is important to you? Family, Relationship, Connection, Being of Service, Love, Passion, Challenge, Novelty, Imagination, Play, Health, Personal Development, Giving Back, Team, Honesty, Organization, Integrity, Fitness, Independence, Beauty, Spirit, Humor, Respect, Positivity? When you have a list of 5 that are most important to you, put them in a priority sequence.
3. Ask yourself how much your values actually show up in your day-to-day? Give each value a scale of 0 – 10. 10 I live there completely/ 0 this value is missing right now.
4. What do you notice? Often clients are surprised to find that the values ?they most cherish have the lowest scores in day-to-day practice. If that is true for you, how can you set new boundaries to bump up your score on that value to 10!
5. Which value is most important to you right now? Does your intention strengthen your ability to set boundaries? What do you need to say “NO” to so that you open up space for the things you value?
When you say yes sometimes, and no at other times, you will notice a whole new level of freedom in your life. You will notice that it gets easier to enjoy your job, your relationships, your health commitments, and just about everything! You will find yourself feeling in the zone again. It’s the way you can up the ante on “Be-ing” in your life rather than “Do-ing” all the chaotic endless tasks that lead you to burn out.
In fact if you’ve been feeling chaotic, it is probably because you have been operating from everyone else’s agenda and not taking time out to figure in what is important to you right now.
If you are a pleaser here’s a great one-liner that can be a lifesaver for you:
“As much as I’d love to, I really have to say no.”
Saying no, without explanation, may be your greatest challenge. But it also can be your best resource. Setting verbal boundaries is easy when you have some stand-by power lines. What are your favorites? Feel free to comment at the end of this blog.
Here are some of mine:
Someone says something hurtful, and you say “Why would you say that?” “What’s your point?”
Someone keeps calling you when you don’t return the first call? Try saying “Why do you think you call me so many times when I don’t answer right away?” “Why do you think you do that?”
Sounds like an oxymoron, but I say that Boundaries will give you Freedom.
In all the places you live, in all the jobs you do, in every partnership you are in, the centerpiece is always You…and hopefully the Authentic You.
This is your call to F R E E D O M !
Umm.. did you read my mind??? This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank You. I can be hard to set boundaries.. it can impact relationships in the short term. I have noticed lately that the successful well-balanced people in my life are those with lots of self-control, have the ability to push through challenges, do no procrastinate and have strong boundaries. So.. thanks for this. I will keep working on this one.. this one is going to take a bit of practice in all areas of life. Weirdly the boundaries with the kids are the hardest to change.. 🙂