Setting boundaries can feel very uncomfortable and usually its that discomfort with voicing them, that ultimately leads us to not follow through with them. But setting boundaries can be done in a kind and considerate way, that makes both you and your peers feel heard. Below I've outlined some guidelines I've picked up along the way on how to establish and follow through with my personal limitations, that have left me feeling more in control over my life.
Establish your garden
I picked this tip up recently in a copy of Psychologies mag. Finding a middle ground for your boundaries is difficult. Often we say no too brusquely in fear of pushing our limits or we say yes too eagerly, directed by our anxiety of upsetting others. A useful way to tackle this dilemma is to imagine a fence around a garden. Within this garden, is your safe zone - what you are comfortable with doing. Around your garden is a fence, tall enough that people cannot just step into, but low enough that people can see your boundaries. And at the edge of this garden, is a gate for you to communicate and let people in if you'd like to. Healthy boundaries are kind and flexible, communicated clearly and enforced firmly when they need to be.
Own your limits
This is something I struggle with oh too often. If you're not firm with your boundaries, people will push them. This leads to your resentment and blame on the other party. But, it's not their responsibility to honour your boundaries. There's no such thing as someone violating your boundaries. The responsibility is with you alone - not your pushy friend, annoying co-worker or overbearing partner. Next time you break your own rules, think about why you did it. Why did you check your emails at 8pm at night when you set your working hours as 9-5? Is it because you were worried you'd miss something important and come across as unreliable?
Disappointing people is OK
Remember to not catastrophise. How likely is it people will think you're unreliable if you're not answering emails late? Does it really matter if they do? We take on so much responsibility for other people's reactions and moods. But, how other people act is not our burden to bear. Stay in your own lane and focus on yourself. You can do what you want, say no and let people down if it's necessary. You will not always please people but that's ok.
Your boundaries shouldn't make you feel restricted and enforcing them doesn't need to fill you with dread. You may sometimes have to be a little firmer with people to communicate them, but that's ok too. We're all different and some people like to try us or they may take a little longer to hear to us. Engage with these interactions with kindness and compassion. Stay true to yourself, remember to listen to your body and be mindful.
Sending loving kindness you way,
I just want to start by dispelling a big misconception about minimalism. Minimalism does not mean purging away all of your belongings and living with enough things to fill a suitcase. Minimalism at its core has always been about living with intention and removing the excess. No matter what life you lead, your likes and dislikes, what you hold value to or your cultural preferences; minimalism could help you lead life with more intention. I started my own minimalism journey back in Autumn 2020 and would like to share how stepping away from consumerism has helped my mindfulness practices.
Clearing my space to clear my head
My first step into living a life with less was to declutter all of my spaces from things that didn't serve me. Decluttering is different to reorganising. It's a lot harder and can sometimes be a bit emotional. Our aim here is to only invite things into our life that have their purpose. Taking it one room at a time, you'll lay out everything you own in that space and ask yourself some eye opening questions. Do I really need this? When was the last time I used it? Do I have something similar to this? Am I only holding on to it for sentimental value? You're likely to find that you own multiples of items, hold on to things because they may one day be useful and have kept gadgets because you're not sure what to do with them. This may take you some time to complete but once you're done, your home will be much easier to keep tidy and your mind will feel a whole lot calmer.
Strengthening my intention
Now we've got a little less stuff to worry about, it's time to look at how we're spending our time. In both minimalism and mindfulness, consciously assessing where we use our energy is integral to supporting our overall wellbeing. By embracing minimalism, owning less and simplifying, in turn we create time and space to be more mindful. One way I practice both, is by cutting down my commitments and my schedule. By choosing what I give my full attention to and how much of my energy I'm willing to use on such responsibilities, I'm able to create more space in my life and give myself more freedom. Write down everything you do in a week - no matter how mediocre - and start asking yourself one by one, if that activity serves you. Is it essential to your wellbeing? Is it just a luxury? Are you doing this for the better of yourself or because you feel obligated to?
This has been by far the trickiest stage for me and is something I have to practice hard at on a daily basis. It's all well and good decluttering your life, but if you continue to bring just as much stuff back in then you'll be back at square one. We live in a consumerism age with advertisements everywhere we turn. Marketeers are paid thousands of pounds to find out the best ways to infiltrate our lives with brand's products and its not easy to break away from that. I adopt a couple of strategies.
To me, minimalism and mindfulness have a circular relationship. Each creating conditions to facilitate the other. The more present you are in your life, the easier it is to recognize what adds value and what doesn’t.
Sending loving kindness your way,
We often find starting a new journey to be a little tricky, wondering “where on earth do I start and where do I look for inspiration?”. With access to a plethora of online material and gurus to guide us, it can be a little overwhelming and may even be a hurdle for us to get the ball rolling. Sometimes, the easiest thing we can do to enlighten us on a new topic, is simply to read about it. I’ve put together some of the top books out there that won’t bog you down with technical terms, that will give you simple ways to incorporate practice into your daily life; and hopefully will leave you feeling inspired to start your journey.
Some of these books have been around for years so you may be able to find them for a fraction of the price second-hand, download them as an audio book or Amazon has them. If you have any questions about getting started, we'd love to hear from you! We also run an 8-week 1-2-1 mindfulness programme which is fantastic for beginners.
Well yes, I have been putting lots off. There are always plenty of housework, baby stuff, cooking, walking dogs, ringing electricians...builders etc to do that gets in the way of what I should really be doing. My aim was to update my website and hopefully, if this is reaching you then I've blooming well gone and done it!! Yipee. It takes time though and it's also scary to think that you are putting yourself out here, on the line. Not that anyone is rating or slating me I hope but it's a scary thought. However, I've decided to practice what I preach and just get on with it. Who cares, maybe no one will read this anyway!
A couple of things to keep you posted on. We have an amazing 6 week Tranceform Journey starting at Heat Fitness, Springkerse, Stirling, on the 21st of February 2019. This follows what was our 8 week journey but I've tweaked it and made it even better. Dropped a few things that took a lot of time and kept the ones that you absolutely loved last time. If you've not experienced our teachings yet and want to check us out you can drop in on the night or sign up for the 6 week block. If you do you get a discount ;-)
I am also keen to collaborate more with others to present to you some fabulous content. For those of you who made it along to our sold out reset and renew workshop we had Chris Harley, Performance Psychologist join us to facilitate you to understand your values, your barriers and your actionable tasks to achieve your ambitions. It was great and we hope to have him join us again soon.
If you aren't signed up to our email list please do so to be the first to know about our workshops and courses and to get those early bird tickets.
My last thoughts for today are do it, that one thing that you have been putting off as it really is that. Just get on with it, get your finger out, do it, tick it off the list. Trust me, as a mood boosting fix it is really up there with dancing and singing with Bradley Cooper...WHAT? no, I haven't done that but how amazing would that be!!
May you have a peaceful day.