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Esther Yi:Hi everybody, my name is Dr. Esther Yi. Thank you so much for joining Zoom with Yi tonight. We’re going to be talking about boundaries. So I know that that can be very vague and I find that a lot of people in the mental health profession talk about boundaries, but not everybody necessarily knows what they mean. But if you are in a relationship with anybody, you need boundaries, because they help define who you are and who you are not. So we’re going to go ahead and dive into what that looks like practically.
So I’ll go ahead and talk about what we’re going to be covering today. So today we’re going to be talking about what boundaries are, why they’re important, how to create boundaries and then responses to boundaries. Because we know that sometimes when we change things, people don’t always respond well. So I want to prepare you for that. So we’re going to walk into this progression of what they are, how to create them and then the responses, and then of course, question, answer, if you have any.
So let’s go ahead and start with the what and why for tonight. The first thing just as I was just sharing is that boundaries define who you are and who you are not. I know for a Friday night that’s pretty loaded because it requires you to think about who you are. It requires for you to think about, if somebody were to ask me who I am as a person, what would I say? Because what you say determines what your boundaries are.
So think about that for a second. If I were to ask you like, “Hey, what would people say about you? Who are you? How would they describe you?” It’s almost like I was just recently watching a video about the importance of really short elevator clips as if you were going into an interview and they asked you, “Hey, describe yourself in less than a minute.” What would you say? So for those that are prepared and have a good idea of what they’re like in the workplace and their work ethics and their values and what they’re looking for in a job tend to have a much easier time describing their boundaries, especially related to the workplace. So we find this to be incredibly important, this topic, because it allows people to know who you are and who you’re not, what you stand for and what you don’t stand for.
So let’s go ahead and jump in and talk about describing boundaries. So one of the easiest ways that we can talk about describing boundaries is just your likes and your dislikes. What do you like? What do you not like? Because oftentimes they find a pattern that people who don’t know or don’t have good boundaries, they have a hard time telling me what they like and what they don’t like. So I’ll share one thing about myself that I really don’t like and if you are close to me or even not, we don’t even have to be best friends, you’ll know that I cannot stand cilantro. I can’t stand it. I go to Chipotle and I order, and I’m the one who orders the rice without the cilantro. I’m the one where if there’s a lot of cilantro in my salsa, I can’t eat the salsa. I don’t know if it tastes like soap. People do ask me that like, “Oh, is it because it tastes like soap?” I don’t know. I really don’t like it.
So that’s a boundary for me. I know that that doesn’t seem like a deep boundary, it’s just more of my preference of taste or flavors but it’s something that I don’t like. If I were to describe boundaries in terms of properties, there is this really famous book called Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend reading it. It’s one of the most popular biblical counseling books out there on Amazon you’ll see. One of the things that the book talks about is property types of how to determine what your boundaries are versus what somebody else’s boundaries are.
So I’ll give you an example. If you live in a home, you want to take care of your yard. I’m assuming you don’t want to take care of your neighbor’s yard, but your yard is your responsibility. So if you have to pick up the weeds, if you have to mow your grass if you have any, if you have to water your plants. Whatever that may be like, a pipe burst, that’s your responsibility. That’s a part of your boundary. Now, how do people know what’s yours and what’s not yours? For instance, how does your neighbor know when to stop mowing the grass? That’s their side versus your side. One of the ways that you know that is through boundaries.
So in some homes, there is no fence in the front yard. I find that that’s probably more common. There’s not a lot of fences but maybe there’s property marks. There might be a little mark on the cement or something. So people know, hey, this is where your house starts and this is where my house starts. When you have zero boundaries, where you have no anything that determines who you are and who you’re not, then there’s a lot of confusion that can happen there. So how do you know what you’re responsible for and what you’re not responsible for? What if you start to be responsible for your neighbor’s stuff? And they’re like, “Cool, I don’t want to do it, you can do it.” But really it’s not yours it’s theirs, they should be taken care of what’s theirs.
Or what if you’re the type of person who is like, I have huge walls up and everybody knows it’s super rigid of who I am and who I’m not. So we relate this to the Great Wall of China. These are the people who have a hard time letting people in. Have you ever met somebody like that? Have you ever met somebody where you’re like, “Wow, it’s really hard to get to know them. I spent so much time with them and I actually don’t know if I actually know them.” The Great Wall China protects your heart I’m sure really well, but it also doesn’t allow you to love others.
What we’re aiming for is a fence. We’re aiming for a boundary where people can see it, like a white picket fence, and then you have a gate, this amazing door that allows you to lock your boundaries and open your boundaries and to be flexible. That’s what we want because we know that maybe there are times for rigidity. Maybe there are times for a lot of flexibility, and we find that that usually works the best for people is to have that flexibility. So when we relate it to others and having relationships with others, it’s so important to have those boundaries so that people know what are you okay with and what are you not okay with. This is what you like and this is what you don’t like. This is how you can treat me and this is how you can’t treat me.
Do your friends know these things about you? Do they know how to treat you and how not to treat you? When we talk about the property types and when we talked about the different types of properties, so maybe a property that doesn’t have any boundaries, so nothing there to mark what’s yours or the Great Wall of China and you’re really it’s super visible and everybody knows what’s yours, or that fence with the gate there. If you have no boundaries, you can let the bad in any time. That’s what we don’t want because it doesn’t protect your home, you let anybody on your property, right?
If you have the Great Wall of China, you don’t allow the bad out. Have you ever experienced something that was impacting you negatively? If you keep the Great Wall of China out, you harden your heart and you prevent the ability for you to heal sometimes because you need people. The next thing about boundaries is recognizing the importance of choices, that you have a choice when it comes to creating your boundaries and it comes with responsibility. You have a responsibility to yourself to make these boundaries. So the decisions, the choices that you make, take responsibility for it. Have you ever met somebody where you’re like, “Wow, they don’t take responsibility for anything.” They don’t know how to apologize for anything, because they don’t take responsibility for themselves, let alone their actions. So you can determine, wow, they probably don’t have good boundaries about them.
Think about the context. Boundaries can change depending on the context that you’re in, maybe one area you’re super vulnerable and then other area you’re like, “I don’t want to share my personal life with them,” and that’s okay, that’s your boundary. It will change over time. And I hope it changes over time. So imagine when a child has certain boundaries versus when you get much older. My child is in this phase where he is learning to say no. So he says no a lot, and I support him for saying that because we find that saying no is incredibly important. That is usually the first line of defense as a boundary. Hey, I like this or I don’t like this, I’m okay with this and I’m not okay with this. So yes to this and no to this.
We want people to learn how to say yes and we want them to also say no. My son is within my boundaries. It is my job to protect him. He’s too young to protect himself. He’s one, if anything, he is a hazard to himself. But if you’re in your 50s, you are most likely no longer in the property of your parents, but you probably have your own property to take care of. You need to take care of yourself.
Boundaries are learned. Now I have another side that talks a little bit more deeply about this, but boundaries are what you learned at home. So what did you observe? What were boundaries like at home? Were you able to have opinions about things that you like and you don’t like, or do people in your family force you to certain things and they made you maybe feel uncomfortable? Or maybe you were at school and you’re you felt pressured to do things that you didn’t want to do. So take a look at your surroundings, take a look at how you were raised and what your interactions were like with people and think, wow, this is what I learned about boundaries and consider for yourself, do you still believe in some of those things? Do you still practice some of those things?
The last one is airplane. I’m sure not a lot of people are flying right now, but if you are or you have you know that one of the things that the flight attendants go by and they say is that in case of emergency and the oxygen mask falls from the top, you need to put on your mask on first, before you help somebody else, because that’s a part of boundaries is you got to be able to help yourself first before you help somebody else. It’s your job to take care of yourself, to protect yourself first and then somebody else. It’s not a selfish thing. It’s not a petty thing. Boundaries remind us that we’re important.
So some types of boundaries. The first one is physical, now touch. I don’t know about you guys, but do you guys like when people are close to you, when they sit near you? Do you not like touch? There’s some people who their love language is touch, and so that’s their way of expressing love. Again, my son really loves hugs. So that’s his way right now. Maybe, maybe not later, but he enjoys hugs, especially from family. So that’s his boundaries, it’s okay to have hugs. When I practice therapy, I do not hug my clients for the most part. That’s my boundary. I have worked a lot with trauma and I find that people who have experienced trauma do not have healthy boundaries, and so until they learn that sometimes even healthy touch can be misinterpreted as negative touch or taking advantage of, or looking into it and believing it’s something more than what it really is.
So to protect them and myself, I know it’s super awkward, but when even somebody tries to come in for a hug, I stick up my hand and high five. That is my boundary. I let people know that that’s what I’m comfortable with. I have had clients who are like, “Hey, can I hug you?” And I’m like, “No, I don’t feel comfortable with that.” Right now the government is asking us to place physical boundaries for ourselves to be six feet away from each other. So space, physical space, there’s that distance there. How about mental? What are your thoughts and what are your values? Not only that you have thoughts and values, because I’m sure you have them, but ask yourself, are you suggestible?
Maybe you have these thoughts and values and these beliefs that you have about yourself or about something or a topic, but can somebody easily persuade you, easily make you think of something else? Or are you the type to easily try to be suggestible to somebody else? Do you have a hard time respecting somebody else’s boundaries? Maybe they disagree with you on a hot topic. They disagree with you on politics. They disagree with you on schools or education or how people can treat their bodies, whatever it is. Are you able to respect the differences? And then emotional. I find this a lot when people start to think and feel that they’re responsible for other people’s feelings. So I feel so bad, I made them cry. Did you really make them cry? I don’t know.
You are responsible for the words that come out of your mouth, but also think you can’t control how a person feels because that’s their responsibility, that’s within their properties is their feeling, not you. It is your job to speak respectfully, to speak truth. I hope that that’s your boundary, but we know that there are plenty of people who choose not to have those as their boundaries, who feel comfortable lying, who feel comfortable saying certain things that maybe be hurtful.
So these are just some examples of boundaries that are out there. Some other ones, maybe I think I’ll go into it further, but even sexually, what are you okay in terms of sexually? What are you okay when it comes to materials? Do you like sharing your materials? Do you not sharing your materials? Do you like buying people’s stuff? Do you not like buying people’s stuff? These are all a part of boundaries. This is a quote that I shared earlier this week when it comes to boundaries and it’s boundaries are not for others they’re for you. They’re not for other people. It’s not so that you can allow yourself to be who they want you to be. Boundaries are so that you can be authentic to yourself, so that you can be the person that you want to be. Maybe you’re in a place where you want to change. Cool, change, because that’s what you want to do. But boundaries aren’t there so that you can be a replica of somebody else or be guilted into doing something because that’s what somebody else told you to do.
So some importance of boundaries. So I talked about the word no and how that protects you. So you want to protect your time. I found that I can be sometimes super busy, I’m sure like anybody else, and it’s important where you give your time to. So think where are you loaning your time to? Because you can’t possibly loan it everywhere and we don’t have an unlimited amount of time. So think how can I protect my time? Where should I give my time to? Who should I give my time to? Your energy, sometimes you got to say no to certain things so you can save your energy for other things. My child is super energetic. I can’t say yes to every work opportunity, sometimes I have to say no so that I can say yes to him.
People. There are some people that it’s probably not a good idea for you to be around. Do you know somebody where you’re just exhausted every time you meet with them? Or maybe you just feel like crap, they just put you down all the time. They make fun of you, they jab at you and what you do or what you don’t do, or they make comments or just you feel like a worse person being around them. So sometimes you need to protect yourself from some people.
Resources. Most of us do not have an unlimited amount of money. We don’t have money growing off of trees and so we have to protect our resources. So we need to set limits for ourselves. How much money can I budget so that I can spend money on this and I shouldn’t spend money on this? This is your decision. I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money, but think to yourself, how would I like to spend my resources? Boundaries are also important because it lets others know how to be in relationship with you. How do people know what you like and what you don’t like? It’s important that you communicate your values.
I know a lot of people love Indian food. I actually do not like Indian food and so people that are close to me know that that’s probably not a place that I would love to go out to eat at. Boundaries allow for people to know who you are, but it starts with, you got to know yourself. My job is for me to communicate my values, it’s not for people to be able to read my mind. So I’ll give you an example right now. Mother’s Day weekend is happening. I hope most people know that and it’s happening this Sunday. I find that a lot of times moms will feel disappointed and disheartened when Mother’s Day doesn’t go the way that they planned.
Right now, most likely a lot of things are not going the way that you planned. So you’re definitely not alone, but it’s your job to communicate what you expect and what you want. Maybe you’re dating somebody and you’re like, “I want them to give me a bunch of roses or flowers or chocolates or I don’t like chocolates or I like cookies, but I don’t like candy.” I don’t know what it is, but you want to communicate those things because sometimes we have these expectations that people will be able to read our minds about what we like and when we don’t and when they don’t do those things, we get disappointed, and sometimes that disappointment looks like frustration and anger.
So then we get frustrated and we’re angry at the person like, “Why didn’t you do this? Or I wanted you to do this.” You forget to see what they did do. You forget to see how much they do care through maybe their love language. So to help prevent some of this miscommunication, tell them what you want. I would like to not do the dishes on Mother’s Day. Maybe somebody else can do the dishes that day. Just for that day. I don’t know what it is for you. So think to yourself, how can you communicate these things?Boundaries are important because it’s a process of knowing yourself. Again, I shared about this in the very beginning, but it is about knowing you. This is a process. It’s a journey. Your boundaries will change over time. They’ll change depending on the people that you’re with and that’s totally normal and okay. So take some time for yourself and describe who you are. It requires deep thinking, and then it also requires you to just take responsibility of your life, that the choices you make are your responsibility. You may not always be able to control what happens after the decisions that you make, but it is our job to take responsibility for the choices that we do make. Let’s not blame other people. Let’s not throw people under the bus, right? Let’s go and let’s take responsibility for the decisions that we make, because then that allows us to have power over our lives.
Lastly, one of the huge reasons about why boundaries are important is because of your emotional health. You’ll probably feel less angry towards yourself and at people because you’re better able to describe what you want and what you don’t want. You probably feel less guilty because then you realize, hey, I’m not guilty because I’m not responsible for how they feel. They’re angry, it’s not my fault, because they are allowed to have feelings of anger. It also prevents resentment. It will reduce resentment by, okay, I now told you what I want rather than you secretly hiding in your room feeling so angry because you didn’t get invited to do this Zoom chat and you wanted to, and so now you resent them because they didn’t know, but we can clear that up by communicating what we do want, and then also burnout.If you feel like you’re stretched thin and you’re pulled in many different areas with good boundaries we can help prevent that. For anybody that needed to read this today or any day that you’re watching this video is that you’re worth it. I can’t tell you how many times that you are worth it. You are worth spending the energy on, you are worth placing all those boundaries for, you are worth getting to know yourself. You are worth loving yourself and allowing other people to love you. You are worth protecting yourself. You are worth it.
So sit to yourself and I don’t know what kind of week that you had, but I want you to just say that yourself is like, I am worth it. I’m worth all my time and energy to use to get to know myself, to care for myself. That just easily leads us to boundaries is self care. So think to yourself like what lifts your mood. Maybe a bubble bath lifts your mood. I saw somebody recently who this was their self care, was a bath for themselves, like quiet bath and an incredible view.
What do you enjoy spending time on? What do you like to do and who do you like to spend time with? Who makes you happy and who do you enjoy just laughing with? What are your hobbies that you enjoy doing? Maybe this is a really good time to try some of those things and then ask yourself, how do you treat yourself? How do you treat yourself? Do your thoughts, your moods, are they consistent with the phrase you’re worth it? Do you protect yourself by making sure that you aren’t stretched too thin and burnt out by maybe all the other responsibilities you have? So consider it yourself, how do you treat yourself?
So let’s talk about how to actually create some boundaries. So we got to look into our past, we got to look into our family and I know that sometimes this can be hard, and so you don’t have to do this all at one time, but maybe in progressions and to think your past you. When you were younger, what were boundaries like? When you’re family, what was it like? What did you observe? No judgment on your family. Maybe some people did not have a good upbringing. Maybe they don’t want to remember. Maybe it was traumatic or maybe you had a fantastic upbringing, and so you want to reflect and identify what was good, because you want to keep and hold onto those things.
So think to yourself, what did you observe? Were people respected for the decisions that they made? What did you learn about the boundaries that your family has placed? And then also lastly, I want you to think about what does your culture say about boundaries? As you can see, I am Asian. I am Asian American. I was born in the US, but I identify as a combination of two cultures, and so I find that sometimes that’s hard. It’s hard to recognize that you can be both, but what does that mean for boundaries then? Because one of my backgrounds, boundaries is not totally respected and sometimes it is put down, it is seen as selfish, and there’s another part of my identity where they encourage strong and firm boundaries.
So how do I make sense of both of those? I find that I’m still getting to know myself and still trying to figure out how to do that well, so it’s a process. I’m learning more about myself, but I want to respect both parts of who I am and embrace two cultures. So the present you, you got to decide, what are your boundaries when it comes to your materials? What are your boundaries? When it comes to physically? What are your boundaries when it comes to mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual? What do you like and what do you not like? Because you got to make a decision because every time you don’t make a decision, you’re saying no to yourself. You’re saying, “No, you’re not important right now, so it doesn’t matter what you want. It matters what other people want instead. They matter more than you do.” And wow, that’s a hurtful thing to say to yourself. So today is a opportunity for you to say yes to yourself and to think about what are your boundaries?
Boundaries have clear consequences. If you do this, then this will happen. If you punch somebody, then you might go to jail. If you speed, then you might get a ticket. If you yell, then I will walk away. If you treat me with respect, then I will see you as respectable. Even if you lie, then I will speak the truth. So think that what you reap is what you sow. So think about that and the impact of boundaries and their consequences. What this also means is sometimes that there are consequences for people and it is not your job to protect them from the consequences. That the decisions that they made then there are consequences for that.
I typically find that when parents coddle their kids too much and they protect them from life consequences, something happens, then as adults they don’t recognize and they don’t realize that sometimes when you make poor decisions, you have poor outcomes and that’s totally normal. But as adults, they don’t realize that and they’re not resilient. So they don’t know how to move past failures. So think to yourself and remember that there are consequences for whatever decisions that you make, whatever boundaries that you set in place, but these can be good things and these can be not so good things.
I want to go to one of the first ways to set some boundaries and it’s learning how to say no, and you don’t need to explain why you’re saying no. I know that, that sounds mean. So sit with this for a second, because it sounds awkward and mean to say no and then not explain, but if you don’t feel comfortable explaining why you said no to somebody about certain types of decisions, it’s totally okay. Boundaries protect us and the word no protects us.
I want to give you an example. If you teach your kids to never say no and you say, “Hey, that’s not a good thing, because I don’t want you to say no to me,” and so you never teach them how to say no. Imagine if they get into a situation where their life depended on it and they didn’t know how to say no because nobody taught them how to say no, the word no protects us. I don’t want that. Do not touch me. Do not yell at me. Do not throw things at me. Do not disrespect. Whatever it is, it protects you.
So it’s important to learn how to say no that’s one of the first lines of defense. When we do not say no, we are saying yes to the bad, we are giving the bad an invitation into our lives. So what does that look like? If you don’t say no, maybe to some invites that you have when people are inviting you to come hang out and also volunteer and do school and you don’t say no to something you are saying yes to burnout, you are saying yes to exhaustion. You are saying yes to no sleep. You are saying yes to not working out. You are saying yes to not eating in a healthy habit. You are saying yes to not caring for yourself.
So think about that. So think about both sides when you say yes and when you say no, and also practice saying no. It doesn’t come easily for a lot of people. It’s super uncomfortable. Maybe when your boss asks you to do something, it’s okay to say no, but maybe you don’t feel comfortable saying no, so let’s practice how to say no. So I wanted to give you guys some examples of what setting boundaries sound like. I’ll just kind of put it on here, but I want to say, I want to just read a couple of them. Okay?
So the first one is I’d love to grab lunch can we keep my ex out of the conversation? It is totally okay for you to set boundaries with your friends and the people that you care about, and it’s okay to say, “Hey, I’m not comfortable talking about my ex.” So yeah, I’d love to spend time with you, I’d love to grab lunch, can we not talk about blank.” In our home, our home we do not wear shoes in the house. So I might say to somebody, “Hey, we do not wear shoes inside our house, please take your shoes off.” Not everybody likes that. Not everybody feels comfortable with that. Some people like wearing their shoes. That’s okay in their home. In our home, we don’t wear shoes, we wear them when we go outside. So I will set a boundary and ask them to not wear shoes in the home.
So these are just some examples of ways that you can set boundaries, because if you’re not sure how to set them, it helps when somebody models what it sounds like. What are your limits? This is a huge part of boundaries that I think sometimes people forget. They think, oh, well I have all this freedom to set boundaries, but a part of setting boundaries is knowing what your limits are. So it’s important to set your own limits because it protects you. One of the first things that boundaries does is it protects you and it cares for you.
So if you have 10 cupcakes every single day, I’m just going to assume it’s probably not good for your health. Maybe you need to set a limit of one or two a week or whatever your limit is. Or maybe you can’t digest that type of sugar in your body, so you place a different limit in your life compared to somebody else. Maybe you consume alcohol and that’s okay. But if you are getting blackout drunk and you can’t remember, what are your limits? How are you caring for yourself? How are you protecting yourself? Are you drowning yourself out so you don’t have to deal with your real life? Limits protect us. They protect others.
So it’s important as you’re creating these boundaries to know what your limits are. How much are you willing to spend on something? How much you’re willing to spend time here? You might say to somebody, “Hey, I can meet up with you, but I can only meet from 11:30 to 12:30, I have to be back at work by 1:00.” So you’re setting a time limit there. Maybe you’re sitting at time limit with how much time you spent online or on social media, whatever that looks like. So think to yourself, how are you protecting yourself by creating these limits?
One of the best ways that I can find about creating good boundaries is thinking about how to get a good massage. I don’t know if you guys have received massages, I don’t even know if you guys like them. My husband personally does not like getting massages. So I know that he would probably not have a good one because he doesn’t like them if he ever got one. So you got to first know yourself. You got to know, do you massages or do you not massages? What are your triggers? Are you ticklish somewhere? Maybe it’s your neck or your arm or your legs or your body or your feet or whatever it is. Think about, what are your triggers? I don’t want to be massaged there. What are you comfortable with? If you’ve ever received a massage, it’s very normal to not wear clothes and be wrapped in a towel. Some people are not comfortable with that. Maybe they want to wear their clothes.
So how are you going to get comfortable? You’re going to say, “Hey, I’d like to prefer and wear my clothes.” What can you afford? I probably wouldn’t walk into a five star hotel, not look at the price, order a massage and then realize I couldn’t afford it. That’s not a good massage, you can’t pay them back. So think about what you can afford and spend on what you can afford. I love this phrase of set yourself up for success. Set yourself up for a good massage. For me, what that looks like is setting the limit of my phone needs to be on silent, and before it’s on silent I need to let my family know where I’m going so they don’t call me nonstop, worry that I didn’t come home or show up to something.
So I’m communicating where I’m at. But I also know that I can’t focus and enjoy a massage if my phone is going off every 30 seconds or my email or whatever it is. So I turn it off. I’m setting myself up to have a good massage. I’m setting myself up for success. I am coming prepared. I am coming with a change of clothes. I’m coming with no makeup on because your face is in that chair hole thing, and then your makeup will get everywhere. So I’m coming prepared. I know these things, and I’m hoping that the result is a good massage. I did all these things that I can enjoy my massage. I didn’t just show up.
So I think in a relationship with anybody it takes work and these are just some of the steps that you can do, and the result I’m hoping is a good relationship or it’s not. Or it was a bad massage and you’re like, “I’m never going there again,” and that’s okay because you learn that. Or you learn that certain people don’t treat you well, so you know that. So you’ve closed that door. If you have a pattern of taking things personally, it may indicate weak boundaries. When was the last time somebody gave you advice about yourself? When was the last time that you asked for advice about yourself?
I want you to really think about that because maybe people aren’t able to be honest with you because you can’t take honesty. Ouch. I think a lot of people like to think that. I’m totally okay with when people tell me what they think about me. But let’s be honest there’s a part of us that hurts and so we need to be prepared for that. So think to yourself, do you have a way of just taking things personally when somebody says something, do you take it personally so now people can’t say things to you? Maybe they don’t feel comfortable saying these things to you. That might be an indication that we got to strengthen those boundaries. So let’s work on that.
When it comes to boundaries in relationships, we want to talk about the joys of being able to give freely, giving your time, your resources, your love. You want to give it freely without feeling like you are obligated to give a certain amount, but also being able to receive and not feeling like, wow, they want something in return or you’re skeptical. You can’t maybe enjoy the gift that they gave you. Or you’re thinking, “Wow, I need to pay them back for this, because I know that they’re going to remember this.” We want to be able to receive freely.
The last part about boundaries and relationships is understanding that it’s important to respect yourself, but also them, to know that you can’t change anybody else. It is going to be an exhausting road that you will not win because the only person that a person can change is yourself. So you can change how you respond to somebody. You can change being in a relationship with them, but you can’t change how a person is.
One of the ways that we can develop good boundaries is by expanding our mind because we realize that maybe we don’t have perfect thoughts about ourselves and situations, and so we invite others to teach us and to show us what their boundaries look like. So remember, it’s a part of development, so have appropriate context and remembering that a child is not going to have perfect boundaries. That’s okay. It’s a part of growing up. Or education, knowing that maybe reading a book will expand your mind. Like this Boundaries book, you can read it and learn about yourself and how to place healthy boundaries for yourself. Your experiences will teach you, your experiences with other people, your experiences when you are in your workplace or at school, they all allow a time for you to learn about boundaries.
Then lastly time, because creating boundaries takes time. It takes practice. It doesn’t just happen overnight. So set yourself up for success and have that to be your expectation. Give yourself some time. Then with this section, I just want you to think about what do you enjoy? Do you like reading? Do you want watching Netflix? Do you like a certain beverage? What do you enjoy? Then think to yourself also because sometimes the things that we enjoy, we forget to set limits on and we don’t want to ignore all these other aspects of our life. So what you enjoy and then let’s place some limits.
Boundaries can’t be created without support. We need support. We need people who are willing to allow us to have healthy boundaries and that will respect those boundaries. But we’ll also know that when there’s a lack of support, that is very clear and we understand that that’s not maybe healthy for us, and so we will place firmer boundaries with certain people and that’s okay too. So think to yourself as you’re creating these boundaries to not do it by yourself, to not isolate yourself, but to think how can I be supported? How can I support others when it comes to creating boundaries? I think tonight is a great way to do that.
Our last section is response by others. Sometimes people may not want to set boundaries and we ask the question why? These are some common phrases that I oftentimes hear. I don’t want to hurt them. If I say that, or if I do that, it might hurt them. Even if it’s the honest truth and even if you’re not being mean. Or, I’ve seen this in relationships, maybe you feel like they’re going to leave you if you don’t sleep with them. So what if they leave? Or maybe you feel like if you’re honest with them, they don’t want to be friends with you anymore. Or maybe you’re like, I don’t want to get yelled at like, you’re genuinely scared of how a person might respond. So you’d rather not tell them the truth because you’re trying to protect yourself, or you don’t want to sound mean. Maybe you look a certain way and people perceive you a certain way so you don’t want to sound mean.
Maybe you feel like I’m being selfish. If I set these boundaries, aren’t I being self seeking rather than thinking, oh, I’m caring for myself? Or maybe you identify as Christian, and you’re like, “Setting boundaries is not a Christian thing to do.” I want to address that really quickly because I find that God has set a lot of boundaries. He talks about who he is and who he’s not. A great example of boundaries that he created was the 10 commandments, super clear, clear on rocks to the point of I’m okay with this and I’m not okay with this. He’s communicating his boundaries.
It is not your responsibility how others respond, it is your responsibility how you respond to their response. I know the word response is there a lot, but I want you to think about this really quick. You set healthy boundaries and let’s say a person is so angry at you for setting those boundaries. They wanted you to help more than you’re saying that you could, they wanted you to spend time longer with them doing something. You can’t control how they feel, but are you going to lash out? Are you going to yell at them? Are you going to blackmail them? What are you going to do? Are you going to understand that their response to you is okay?
You don’t have to agree with it, but your responsibility is how you respond to them. “Hey, I cannot continue to participate in this conversation if you’re yelling at me. Can you stop yelling?” If they keep yelling, walk away, that’s not mean that’s a healthy boundary. I love being in a relationship with you but if you keep bringing up this topic about my ex, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable, I think we’re going to have to start limiting our time together. Or maybe only spending time in group settings. Setting a healthy boundary to protect you, to care for you.
So think about this isn’t free reign to treat people however you want to treat them and maybe that’s not always nice or kind, but it is to think and be self-aware about yourself, of how you respond when people don’t respond well to your boundaries, because that can be frustrating.
So what I expect. First change is hard. Know that when you change things you’ve changed the dynamic of the relationship and that’s going to be hard for them. Know that sometimes people will test your boundaries and they’ll push back. Oh, can you just stay a little bit longer or can you just do this? I really just need you to do this and this. This is what I’m comfortable with doing. This is how long I can stay. I need to leave right now. Also know that sometimes relationships will end, and sometimes that’s for the better. Maybe you had somebody that was a negative impact on your life. Sometimes it’s time to close that door so a new chapter may be able to begin.
Let’s talk about setting boundaries with difficult people, because we all know that there are certain types of people that is hard to set boundaries with because they keep testing you, they keep asking for more and you’re annoyed and it’s hard. Be assertive. That doesn’t mean you’re being aggressive, but being assertive. Talk to them about what your needs are. Use I statements. I need you to do this. This is what I need. Let’s not play the blame game. Let’s just be assertive with what our needs are.
Practice beforehand. If you know you’re about to have a difficult conversation with somebody, because maybe they’re being difficult. Think, how can I practice this conversation? What might they be saying? What might they be thinking? What can I say instead? So practice in your head, practice to somebody else beforehand and then be prepared to repeat. Stick to your beliefs. Stick to your values. Stick to, I have to leave at 7:30. Can you just say, I need to leave at 7:30. Can you just, I need to leave at 7:30. You may need to repeat yourself. That’s okay. That’s totally normal when it comes to setting boundaries,You can also test people when it comes to setting your boundaries, because sometimes when you’ve changed, you have people who embrace you, they empower you and they’re excited for you just to dream and be the person that you want to be. Then there’s others who maybe reject you because you’ve changed or they abandon you or they get angry. When people show you who they are, believe them. Believe them, believe them by their words and their actions. So maybe test the relationship of where you’re at, because it says a lot about your relationship. If you’re able to place boundaries and be in a relationship with somebody who’s able to respect you,
That was it for tonight. Thank you guys so much for joining again. I did leave my email address there, and then this is the website for you to be able to find previous recordings. It’s rhombusuniversity.com/blog. They’re the ones that are sponsoring each of these every week, and then also if you’re looking for new topics, they’re going to be listed on my Instagram page @para.caleo.
Again, if you have any questions, feel free to list them there. I have the chat box open, and so if you have any questions, I would love to answer them for tonight. But for those that are listening to this recording, I’m going to go ahead and end it to protect people’s just their questions. So thank you again and I will see you guys next week, which is actually going to be my last week of doing this. I’m working on a family conference that’s going to be happening the first Saturday of June and we’ve gathered professional mental health speakers, and I’m super excited for this. So that’s why I’m going to hold off doing this as I spend time putting together this conference, which is going to be free.
So it’s a free mental health conference. It’s from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. You can join at any time, these breakout sessions. We have about 20 incredible speakers that are volunteering their time to come and share just gold nuggets of the things that they’ve learned when it comes to maybe anxiety or building resilience or healthy communication, dealing with shame, dealing with addictions or pornography or finances when it comes to COVID. So we have great topics lined up. So if you have any questions hop on over to our website and more information will be there. So thank you guys so much. I’m going to go ahead and end the recording here.
All right guys, thank you guys so much for joining. Just a reminder that next week is going to be my last week doing this because I’m working on the family conference and that’s going to be on that Saturday in the morning. But from time to time, I may be able to host some more of these. If you have any questions, feel free to unmute yourself and you can ask these questions.
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