On Setting Boundaries
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
Recently, I have been quick to anger. After a good stint of really being able to manage triggers and big emotions, anger would bubble up and immediately erupt. My behavior left me feeling ragged; completely worn by the thrashing of waves that comes with an intense emotional outburst.
I had to take a step back Remembering that what is out there is a reflection of what's inside, I paused and took a closer look. I got curious. Where was this suddenly coming from? Yes, situations were frustrating with kids being kids, going through their own growth cycles, testing their own limits, also in the midst of trying new things. This month we suddenly had many new "to-do's" on our agenda, like beginning swim lessons, and both kids in karate class. Suddenly, there were many moments of defiance and true ugliness that I am honestly never prepared for. But perhaps it was going both ways. When I dug deep, it was more than those things. We have had many beautiful experiences in the midst of it all; and some that understandably bring less-than-optimal behavior like being sick. When I took a good look at where my anger stemmed, I realized how frequently my own boundaries were not being respected. Deeper than that, however, I saw that perhaps I had not stated where my boundary was. I wondered how much I had assumed everyone knew, then felt hurt when the boundary was not upheld. Taking responsibility for that is quite empowering. When I take the time to consider the roll I play in any dynamic – what I would want communicated from the other person, to better know how to work with them – the more in control I feel and have the opportunity to become. Ultimately, we are only in control of ourselves. Releasing expectations. Embracing observations. With a renewed sense of self, I set the intention to become more clear & consistent with my boundaries, while also relaying them kindly. This last one is actually pretty tough... especially after creating a habit of yelling when feeling unheard, in an effort to be heard. So, I have gotten better at taking time to relate my expectations to my children.... and am doing my best to observe how it all unfolds, without getting emotionally wrapped up in the drama. I have been clear about the expectations, give opportunities to redirect, and have also been consistent about consequences. This goes for myself, as well. Setting internal boundaries, such as not being on social media for longer than 10 minutes at a time, or no screens at night. And, perhaps most importantly, a boundary that does not allow limiting thoughts to creep in. We all want to feel good about ourselves. I'm getting better at watching what I say to myself, but do still get stuck in a loop when I mess up, yell, or am just feeling low. But this is what I'm in control of. I don't have to search for the reason why I'm feeling this way, or thinking this way. All I have to do is allow. I can set the boundary of stopping the perpetuation of a thought of feeling, allow it to wash over, let any message come up that wants to be heard, then do my best to let it go. This is perhaps the most important boundary I'm working with upholding. Anger isn't something to run from, but also not to indulge in. It serves a purpose. For me, recently, it sheds light on something that is important to me, that I do feel passionately about. I'm learning more about who I am, and am becoming more protective of myself and my energy. A breathing practice that has served well recently is as follows: Breathing in, I can open – to what is happening around me, and within me Breathing out, I can first anchor into myself, knowing who I am, where I feel aligned; then I can release anything extra; perhaps it is to let go, perhaps it is to help another; perhaps there is simply nothing else remaining, perhaps this shifts as I continue to focus on the breath. When I take time to focus on my breath, bringing me back to the present moment, I can better remember my boundaries and my intention that is held within.