WellRunLife

Ideas and inspiration for efficient living.

Boundaries

Have you ever heard of boundaries in relationships?

That concept improved my life greatly in the last two years.

Boundaries define where my person begins and ends and where another person begins and ends. It’s like a bubble or invisible circle around each person that determines a person’s rights.

Boundaries determine who and what you let into your life.

I believe a vital part of efficient living is to be emotionally healthy. Boundaries help achieve emotional health.

The whole point of boundaries is to respect yourself, to teach others how to respect you and to respect others.

Let me give an example: let’s say you have a dear friend who is chronically late, no matter what. I’m not talking fashionably late, I mean 30 minutes late every time you meet. You love this friend, but you are tired of wasting your time waiting for them. You have missed parts of events or entirely missed events because you waited for that friend in order to leave.

Time is precious and you like to use it wisely. Applying a boundary would involve kindly talking to your friend about their tardiness and how it makes you feel. You would give them a few chances to be on time. If they still show up late without making an effort, you would tell them that next time you will give them 5 minutes past your meet-up time and if they are not there, you will leave without them. And you do exactly that.

The point is not to hurt them. It is simply to establish the value of your time, teaching them to respect the schedule you set together. That is setting a boundary.

Boundaries are always about what you can control. In the above example, you cannot force the other person to be on time. You cannot control their feelings if they are hurt when they show up late and you already left. You are only responsible for your own person and actions.

Applying boundaries is not always easy. Today I had to establish a strong boundary towards some people I really care about. They will most likely be hurt by my boundary. However, my emotional and family health come first. I did not make the decision lightly, and I knew it was the right thing to do.

Are you good with setting boundaries for yourself?

Advertisements
6 Comments »

How do you turn a crappy day around?

A crappy day makes you want to search for the fast forward button. It makes you feel like you could have done without that 24 hours.

I had a crappy day today. I got up on the wrong foot because my children drove me nuts the day before (and the day before that). I knew that my hopes of a better prognosis for today were dim, considering the clingy, screaming, ill toddler was only feeling slightly better after a long night’s sleep.

I was moody and resentful. Spending hours stewing is about as inefficient as it gets!

Midmorning, the thought came to me that I didn’t have to feel that way, that I could choose my mood and make my day a little better, at least for my own mental health.

But I felt stuck. I was knee-deep in a swamp of sticky, negative thoughts. How could I get out?

I wondered, “What if on my moody days, I had some sort of pivot, some thought or action that made me consciously turn the day around?”

Have you ever felt that way? A day when you wished you could just press the reset button and start afresh? Do you have an effective pivot?

I’d like to tell you that I found my mine, but I think it will require some searching.

Could it be…

A phrase written on a strategically placed piece of paper or on a file on the computer?

A physical action, a salutation to the sun of sorts or 5 minutes of meditative breathing?

An inspirational reading bookmarked for easy reference?

I’d like to hear your thoughts. What kind of pivot would work for you on a crappy day?

P.S. My day did get better mid-afternoon. A peaceful nature walk in falling snow with the boys did the trick for me. I just wish it could have happened earlier!

14 Comments »

Forgiveness

There is a saying that goes, “Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

I think it’s fair to say that all of us have been offended or hurt by someone at some point and have been resentful toward that person.

Forgiveness is not just a religious concept. Research has been done on this topic and it’s become a well-accepted view that being resentment-free leads to a healthier and less stressful life.

The layman’s definition of forgiveness that I had always heard was “to choose never to use the offence against the other person again.” Forgiveness becomes a matter of choosing how to treat a person.

But have you ever forgiven someone in the above sense, and found that when you remember the particular hurtful event, all kinds of unpleasant feelings come up? You forgave the person, so how can this be?

I attended a seminar last weekend and heard a different definition of forgiveness: “to remember a hurtful event without emotional pain”.

If the previous definitions are correct, then this means that forgiveness needs to be two-fold: intellectual and emotional.

The conference speaker suggested a method of forgiving a person on the emotional level:

1. Write an accusing letter to the offending party. Put down anything that the person did that hurt you. The point of the letter is to get all the feelings out, without judging yourself for feeling any of them. The other person will never see it, you will burn it once you are done with the process, so you can write whatever you feel the need to write.

2. Once you feel there is nothing left to write, write down “________, I forgive you.” Get rid of the letter (don’t do like me and almost set your bathroom on fire!).

3. Take a new piece of paper and write the person’s name at the top. Then list the ways in which your relationship with that person will be different because you have forgiven them. Keep that paper as a reminder that you have forgiven that person. (You may choose to have no relationship with that person, and that can be a very healthy choice. An abuse victim is in no way obligated to seek reconciliation with his/her abuser.)

I tried the process for myself on the day I heard about it. I can’t say that it was an overwhelmingly emotional event. But there was something freeing in remembering hurtful things a person had done to me (no matter what intent they were done in) and allowing myself to feel what turned out to be a lot of anger.

As I let the anger come up, I realized that it was secretly bottled inside without me even realizing it. Do you know what trapped anger does? It eats you up inside and you don’t even know it. But eventually it seeps through the cracks like an active volcano and it causes vast damage.

This is why I think it’s beneficial for our own emotional health to apply both the intellectual and¬†emotional aspects of forgiveness.

Because in the end, forgiveness sets YOU free.

Have you ever heard of emotional forgiveness? Do you think it’s worth a try?

4 Comments »