Thursday, October 27, 2011
"Good Health is Gorgeous" - Healthy Boundaries are Gorgeous
Hi, healers! Within the past few weeks, I have received countless questions on my formspring page concerning how to establish and maintain (and enforce when needed) healthy interpersonal boundaries. This topic is especially important when one is living with chronic, acute, and/or terminal illness based upon the fact that unhealthy interpersonal relationships and stressful life events can flare and even aid in the progression of many dis-eases. When attempting to heal, spirits need to be flying high and stress needs to be kept low.
Many of your questions have been centered around the other person, stating, “I’ve set my boundaries, but this person won’t change.” Establishing and maintaining boundaries in your life is NOT about forcing others to change, but it is about deciding what you will and will not tolerate in your life followed by establishing how you will enforce those set boundaries if they are tested or simply ignored.
Communicating your limits firmly, consistently, succinctly, and without strong emotion (a.k.a. without blaming) is imperative because one never accomplishes his/her goals by putting the target audience on the defensive. You don’t want to create MORE conflict. Try saying something like, “It is super important that I avoid stress in my life so that I can heal, which includes X, Y, and Z.” Do not justify or rationalize your boundaries. This is not a two-way conversation but rather a polite, calm, firm, and respectful statement of your needs – no discussion added.
For those people in your lives who are particularly manipulative, controlling, abusive, and overbearing, stay firm, be VERY specific about what you will and will not tolerate, and be EVEN MORE specific about the consequences that you will enforce if your boundaries are tested and crossed. Again, this is not a two-way conversation. For example, you may calmly and respectfully let him/her know that if your boundaries are crossed, you will have to cut him/her out of your life for the time being. You come first, and that is OK.
Learning to set boundaries can take time, and like any other skill, you will improve over time and with practice. It is quite common for individuals, especially us people-pleasers, to feel guilty or selfish when establishing boundaries and saying “no,” but it is important to recognize that you have the right to take care of yourself without letting limiting belief systems get in the way of your mind-body-spirit health and wellness. You deserve unbounded happiness, you are worthy of luscious miracles, and you belong in healthy, loving, and respectful interpersonal relationships. If you require some daily affirmations to help yourself through the beginning stages of setting and enforcing your boundaries, repeat the last sentence over and over again several times a day while adding in, “I have the right to take care of myself.” If you don’t, who will?
Any Questions? I may add some concrete bullet points about how to establish and maintain healthy boundaries in a follow-up post, but this is a good start.