Tag: setting boundaries

Why Your Boundaries are Not Working

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“I keep setting boundaries and they are not working!” Said the distraught and frustrated person.

Boundaries are often misunderstood and therefore, improperly used. Thus, having little to no effect on the disrespectful or hurtful situation you are trying to remedy. So, let’s have a little Boundary 101 lesson on what boundaries are, why they are not working and how to set them effectively.

Step One – Setting a Word Boundary  

This will look something akin to…

“I feel disrespected when you often make me the butt of your jokes in social settings. I’m requesting that you please stop doing it.”

Your person will respond in one of two ways:

(a.) Understand and honor your request which allows both parties to continue forward happily. Or…

(b.) Disregard your request and continue to do it.

With response (a.) you’re good to go!

With response (b.), unfortunately, you’re not finished yet…

Many people think a boundary is set only with words and if you’re lucky, it will be. But if our person chooses to disrespect our Word Boundary, we must be prepared to back up our words with action.

Step Two – Setting an Action Boundary

The difficult part about Action Boundaries is oftentimes the most effective action/boundary we could choose may be the hardest or scariest one to set. We are terrified what might happen or what we’ll lose if we stand behind our words with action. Thus, we repeatedly use words over action in a feeble attempt to feel “safe” by disrupting as little status quo as possible. This is where we become the most frustrated.

Ugh… I don’t want to go further with this. Why can’t my person just heed my [word] boundary?!

The answer is simple. Because your person is not motivated or has reason to introspect or adjust him/herself. (Self-reflection is something many people avoid like the plague unless motivated or inspired to do so) Additionally, you have shown your person over time that your worn-out words mean nothing. They can continue to say and do as they please because there are no consequences.

what you allow

By providing a “consequence” or action behind your boundary, you will provide the necessary motivation and inspiration to introspect because they will lose something of value if they continue with the same behavior.

Setting healthy Action Boundaries is in direct proportion to our level of self-worth. When we have a healthy self-worth in place, a firm boundary is easy-er because our joy, worth and value are not reliant on another person.

Healthy self-worth says: I understand my value and won’t allow another person to minimize it no matter what. My job is to take care of me.

When we are continually hurt or disrespected, we have two choices only:

Put up with the crap. Yay, I get to live with this for eternity.

Or

Remove yourself or something from the relationship/situation until your person acquiesces to your respect request. There is hope this situation will change!

Action Boundary Sample:

 “I will no longer attend _______ with you because I will not put myself in position to be disrespected by being the butt of your jokes.”

And don’t attend again.

Ever.

Unless or until Mr. or Mrs. Disrespectful stops making you the butt of his/her jokes.

Are you getting the picture here?

For a Boundary to reign success, the offender must feel a consequence of their action. Otherwise, they will have no reason to introspect into why he/she is being a shit in the first place.

Boundaries Serve Both Parties

The best and most awesome part about boundary setting is it can serve both parties. Our boundaries and clear sense of self-worth can shine light on our person’s dependencies, controlling tendencies or disrespectful behaviors and potentially start them on their own healing path.

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It’s important to remember what others are doing is oftentimes a pattern set in place long ago and they may not even be aware how detrimental their behavior is. When they begin to receive the message enough, they will eventually have little choice but to take a good hard look at themselves.

Above all else, remember this…

If words are not working, back them with action.

 You matter.

You always have.

They will not respect you until you respect you by setting a boundary that says: I’m worth more than that!

Get it?

I knew you would.

A Sweet Empowerment Short: The Difference Between a Healthy Boundary and Retaliation

A Sweet Empowerment Short ~

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I was recently asked this question:

Where is the line between setting a boundary with someone who hurts you and retaliation against them for hurting you?

Ahh what a brilliant question! Oftentimes boundaries stem from something someone has repeatedly done that hurts or disrespects us thus kicking up some serious emotion. If we are still hot over what our person did, it may be difficult to distinguish between what is a healthy line and what is in fact retaliation.

The answer to this question is quite simple…

Check your motive.

The first step to setting and maintaining a healthy boundary is all about our energy and intention (motive).

A healthy boundary says: I love me and will set limits with you to protect my heart, soul and well-being or that of people in my charge.

Retaliation says: You hurt me and I’m going to hurt you back.

It’s important to remember anytime we set and maintain a healthy boundary, we are not only taking care of self we are equally serving the perpetrator as well.

One might wonder how that is so?

Many times our perps are not even aware of the pain they are inflicting, because they’ve never truly been held responsible for their behavior.

To explain further, many people will keep doing what they have always done because it has always worked to get what they want. They are unconscious to their behavior because no one has ever really bucked it hard enough.

This is why I love boundaries so much! They actually give our perp a chance to see themselves – sometimes for the very first time!

I’ve witnessed so much healing in my own life and of those around me by simply setting and maintaining loving boundaries. Frankly, it still fascinates the crap out of me.

Any boundary set with loving intentions will always make a positive difference in the long run. You may not be able to see it right away; however, I invite you trust the universe and let go of perceived outcomes.

Boundaries are tough stuff. I’ve had to set some hardcore lines with some perpetrators I love dearly. To this day in order to know my boundary is in alignment with a high energetic vibration, I always check my motive and intention first.

When I know for sure my intention is for healing, not for hurting, I feel more comfortable and confident to maintain my line.

Your thoughts?

~ Kristen

Drainers – Are You Helping or Enabling?

For the kind hearted it’s quite natural to want to help those in need. In fact, more often than not, we will hand over great gobs of our time, money and emotional resources to help someone in need achieve success in whatever area they are struggling with. With that being said, there comes a time when we might feel that all our efforts are in vain. We may feel like no matter how much we show up for them, nothing is changing. Our person remains stuck.

I’ve run across these situations many times in my life and I can confidently say I stayed in them far longer than was healthy for my well-being. I would find myself performing all kinds of gymnastics for them and even pondering their issues throughout my day rather than my own! At the time I thought this was my duty as a good human being because after all, didn’t I need help too sometimes? Yes, for sure. However, there is a vast difference between someone seeking for change and someone choosing stagnation and victimhood.

The Difference Between Seekers and Drainers:

  1. The Seekers – People who seek for knowledge and wisdom in order to promote themselves out of suffering. They are willing to get uncomfortable while reconstructing a new method of operation. They are grateful for what they receive and neither party feels drained after their interactions. Additionally, both parties feel happy and fulfilled when the seeker begins to see the light and takes necessary steps towards positive forward movement.

 

  1. The Drainers – These are folks who exploit your time and attention and continue to stay right…where…they…are. Conversations with them are repeating and energy draining. They are comfortable in their story of woe and as long as we’re giving, they’ll keep taking! There is little to no change happening and oftentimes the helper may feel like they are wasting their time.

It’s important to realize (and take personal responsibility) that the drainer did not waste your time – you gave your time freely. To blame the Drainer for your contempt is misplaced. You accepted the role and chose to stay in it indefinitely.

I applaud anyone who helps another and I applaud those in life who want to see the good and redeeming qualities in everyone. Because truth be known, there IS good in everyone and we all need a little TLC and help from time to time. Drainers are not “bad” people, they are stuck. However, there comes a point when we have to realize what stuck really looks like and that no matter what we do or say, we cannot make change happen for them.

A person has to want change in order to create change for themselves.

Giving to others at the expense of our energy does not create enormous growth in our people. Actually, it often promotes enabling and where there is enabling going on, both parties will inevitably be sucked into the suffering. At some point, we must recognize we are being an enabler and stop doing it by putting loving, but firm boundaries into place. If you’re not sure if you are helping or enabling a loved one, consult the list below.

6 Steps to Recognize if You’re Enabling Someone

  1. You are frustrated and unhappy with your stuck person because their strife appears never ending.

 

  1. You are aware that your “help” is not helping at all. In fact, no one’s help is helping.

 

  1. You feel drained in their company and are tired of dealing with them.

 

  1. You’ve heard their victimhood repertoire so much you can repeat it verbatim.

 

  1. Your person attempts to guilt or manipulate you if you try to change your strategy when dealing with them.

 

  1. You start to feel contempt for the person rather than compassion.

As I state in my book From Doormat to Sweet Empowerment, boundaries are beneficial to both parties involved. When we begin to set and maintain healthy boundaries, our person is “forced” to figure things out on their own. They must approach life from their own spiritual center rather than relying on yours (which is only temporary anyway). They will have to learn to become resourceful in their own life and find their own answers – answers that they are comfortable with and are willing to put into action.

Being a massively soft-hearted person, I had to really give boundary setting some serious thought. I had to know for sure that it was indeed the right thing to do before I could do it. I did my research and learned all about boundaries: what they are, what they meant and how to implement them. I was convinced that setting loving boundaries was the best thing for me AND my drainer.

I understand that setting boundaries may feel like turning your back on your person. So, I ask you this:

What if you knew for sure that boundary setting was serving to both parties?

What if you knew for sure that you were only harming them (and yourself) more by staying in something where there is no healthy forward movement or emotional advancement?

Would you be more willing to set a boundary with them?

I remember the first time I set a really difficult boundary with a loved one. It was a drainer situation that I had stayed in for over a year. I stayed because I felt it was my duty. After a year of the same dialogue between the two of us with zero change, I pulled out. I set a clear boundary that I was no longer going to be available to discuss the same situations over and over again. I explained that I had given her all the knowledge and wisdom I had and it was time for her to stand by her own power. It was scary and she did not like it, but it felt really good!

Within 36 hours, she came back to me with a dialogue full of awareness! I was stunned! By taking myself out of the situation, she only had herself to rely on. She pondered all that we had talked about and she took it to her center. She processed what felt Right and True for her and she began to act from that place. I observed my beloved transforming right before my eyes! It was fascinating and humbling to watch.

My role had been to hold loving space for her AND to remove myself when it was time.

You are not bad or wrong for needing to back up or out of a situation where a person is choosing stagnation and draining all your precious energy. Give yourself grace for being there in the first place and for offering your heart and wisdom for their becoming.

We can only do so much for others before we start sacrificing our sacred selves. It’s important for us to know when it is time to step out with love and give ourselves permission to do so.

The rest is up to them.

Boundaries: What Are They And How Do I Set Them? Audio Interview With Kristen Brown

Boundaries are a topic near and dear to my heart both as a recovering doormat and an empowerment coach/mentor.  Boundaries are essentially where we find the courage to express to others what are limits are, what is not acceptable and how to treat us with honor and respect.

Boundaries are essential to healthy, reciprocal relationships as equally as they preserve and foster our self-worth.

What we don’t often know is, boundaries serve both parties involved.  Where we think we are “being mean”, we are actually leading another to his/her healing as well.

If you are having trouble understanding what your boundaries are, how to set them or how to maintain them, this audio is for you!

I would love to hear your thoughts and/or questions!

Much Love,

Kristen Brown

Kindness vs. Attack

With affairs of the heart, we tend to want to grasp, cling and try to control because we are so afraid of getting hurt, losing control or losing the love.  We try to manipulate and morph our person into who we think he\she should be in order for us to feel comfortable. What we have not yet understood, is that all of those behaviors cause separation instead of unity.  Attack and control never really gain any forward ground.  We may be able to beat our partner into submission temporarily, but no true healing or connectedness has occurred.

In times of strife in our relationships, gentleness and kindness is key.  When we can find a balance between our self-worth and self-respect and couple that with kindness, we can gain much ground toward improving our union.  Kindness open hearts and allows for sight and sound and all anyone really ever wants is to feel seen and heard.  Once someone feels seen and heard, egos relax and healing can happen.  We simply will not get very far with manipulation strategies and forcing others’ to acquiesce to our ways.

Love is the great miracle cure.

Love (not meaning goo-goo ga-ga, I’m-going-to-die-without-you love), but Real Love, the kind that encompasses the graces of compassion, forgiveness, understanding, insightfulness and kindness is the entryway to conflict resolution. Any actions rooted in love, including well-thought out and placed boundaries, are never wrong.  What is rooted in Love, is rooted in truth and it is truth that can set us free.

This is not to say that this plan is foolproof for ALL relationships.  It’s all depending on both individual parties and where each one is at in his/her own spiritual growth/path.  If a person truly wants for healing, your kindness and gentleness can be just the key to allow this to happen. If your person doesn’t value you or your union, nothing is going to work.

In my life, I’ve experienced both types of these partners: The partners who were not at all interested in growing or forming a more solid bond between us no matter what method of approach I used and the partner who truly wanted to seek for peace and healing and was willing to do what it took to get there.  The former chose to stay stuck and living in his limited existence.  The latter was willing to look at himself (as well as “call me out” appropriately) in order to enhance each others’ lives, seek resolution and to live more joyfully together.

Standing where I am now, I know for sure that having a firm sense of self-worth coupled with the kindness in our heart, can perform miracles in our relationships. Where we were once misunderstood, we can now be heard.  Where there was once fear, there can now be safety.  Where there was once separation and conflict there can now be true connection and peace.