The Inviting Shift Podcast

S2 Episode 21: Taking Charge: How to Shape Personal Boundaries for an Empowered Life

November 14, 2023 Christina Smith Season 2 Episode 21
The Inviting Shift Podcast
S2 Episode 21: Taking Charge: How to Shape Personal Boundaries for an Empowered Life
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever felt overwhelmed or powerless? Fret not. This episode is about rediscovering your power and taking charge of your life through setting personal boundaries. I will guide you on how to create a balanced life and tackle the challenging feelings of being overwhelmed. Let's take a deep look into how identifying what we don't want, pinpointing the behavior that contributes to it, and determining what we will do instead can shape the boundaries we need. Remember, it's not about dictating rules, but understanding ourselves and carving a more empowered space for us.

At the heart of this episode lies the profound and empowering act of setting boundaries. We'll explore how this can remarkably influence our relationships. We focus on our non-negotiables, the behaviors that are not serving us well, and how we can alter them. Breaking down the process into three parts: identifying the emotion or trigger, understanding the data related to the situation, and figuring out our desires, we aim to establish boundaries in advance that can lead to a more balanced state and less overwhelming emotions.

Lastly, we dive into empowerment through boundaries. Experience the transformative power of setting clear boundaries in our relationships, learn how to identify your non-negotiables, and gain control over your circumstances. We're here to help you reduce feelings of overwhelm and achieve balance. And if you're unsure about creating a boundary for yourself, we're here to chat. Tune in, get to know yourself better, and discover how boundaries can pave the way for a safer and more empowered personal space. Let's start the journey to a more balanced and empowered life!

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Speaker 1:

Welcome back shifters. I am here to talk about boundaries, and why are boundaries so important? Because they're essential to empowerment. My definition of empowerment is when we start trusting ourselves, when we can pull ourselves out of that small childlike energy that we get into when we're wounded or uncomfortable, and be able to really be able to make choices that are good for the whole of us, not just that wounded little part of ourselves. And so boundaries are how my clients have learned to get less triggered, less stuck in other people's drama, less stuck in their own drama, which means that they are less exhausted in life. If you're exhausted of drama, boundaries are something that you need for yourself. It's also a way where they start getting in touch with their own inner wisdom and things start triggering them so much less.

Speaker 1:

I could tell you story after story about women who have put boundaries in place and now they feel more confident and joyful in their midlife, which is what we want here at the Inviting Shif podcast, right? So I know personally that I need boundaries when I'm feeling really angry at someone, when I am wanting to blame or shame others or myself. I could be getting angry at myself. I'm feeling powerless. That's the perfect time for me to start looking at where my boundaries are. When I want to get to the point where I'm like other people that that person is making me feel, I know that I'm in a disempowered place and I probably need to make some boundaries for myself and overall, when I'm triggered or uncomfortable, it doesn't mean that there's necessarily a boundary being crossed just because I'm uncomfortable. But it might be a time that I really want to look at where is my power in the situation? Right? And it all comes back to that serenity prayer, which is what can I control? What can I control and how can I know the difference right? What do I need to accept when I can't control it? And where is my power? That's what that serenity prayer always reminds me of is where is my power in acceptance and action and wisdom, what is going on? And that all relates to boundaries and, believe me, if you're like me, I hate making boundaries. I mean, wouldn't the whole world be easier if everybody would act just the way that I wanted them to and things would just turn out the way that I want them to, so that I don't have to make boundaries right?

Speaker 1:

And that's really a childlike energy, such a childlike energy that we bring with it, because it's that powerless child. Remember being a child, you didn't get to choose when you went to bed, you didn't get to choose what you ate. Everything was done for you but you didn't have a lot of power. And so when we're in that wounded child of being uncomfortable or triggered or really emotional, that is a place of disempowerment. Often there's a lot of gifts to that child archetype, but power is not one of them, and so I want to show up the way that I want to show up in life. I don't want to show up in that wounded child. That is not my dream.

Speaker 1:

My dream is to feel like I have some control, or say, over my life. And if we're talking about that, that means in order to release that wounded child, we need a more grown-up archetype within ourselves to take over and say, okay, here's where my power is and here's where it isn't. So the child energy in us, we want things to turn out the way that we want them, and any other way can feel too much overwhelming right when things don't turn out. So we're gonna let out our tears about having to make a boundary. Remember, I don't like making them either and I make them all the time because I need them in order to feel more empowered in my life. So I just wanna go over.

Speaker 1:

It's not real to believe that everybody's gonna show up the way that I want them to or circumstances are gonna show up the way that I want them to. I know in our adult brains we know this, but when we are triggered, when we're feeling exhausted, hungry, angry, lonely, tired, sick, we automatically go back to this wounded child energy. And that wounded child doesn't really wanna solve anything, it just wants things to work out. But as functioning and thriving adults, we realize that there's so many people and so many ways of seeing things. Something that brings you joy might just bring me pain, and so it's just the way that we interpret them from our past experiences, the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. Right, that's where all of our emotional triggers come from, and so if we can start making boundaries so that we stop running into these things over and over again or protect ourselves from the places where we feel unsafe, then we have power. That is our power. Our power is not to control other people or how they see it, or convince them to see it our way, because a lot of that doesn't work. We'd be more at peace if we see more of ourselves, if we can really get to know ourselves and what it is that we need and we want, and that is exactly what boundaries are for.

Speaker 1:

Boundaries are not for other people's, rules for other people, and I think often we think that that boundaries are rules for other people, but they're not. Boundaries are really rules for ourselves. What we control, which is us, how we show up, how we act, what we say those are the things that we control, and so boundaries are about us, and once we have the knowledge, once we go through the process of setting a boundary for ourselves, we learn a lot more about ourselves. And when we learn more about ourselves, we not only see more of our gifts and magic, but we also can see a lot of spaces that we need compassion for, the things that maybe we don't like about ourselves or the things that we do, the humaneness in us, the triggers that we have, the emotions and we often see this in other people and have judgments about it, but sometimes we don't see them within ourselves and if we do, we probably have judgments about ourselves.

Speaker 1:

So boundaries are a way of us to get to know what it is that we like and we don't like, and why is this part of my trigger pattern? Is this part of my experience? And could it be another way? Right, so we can start getting more curious rather than judgmental? I'm just being curious about my humaneness. I know I'm not perfect. I know other people aren't going to be perfect and so, with that knowledge, where is my power in keeping myself safe and keeping myself in a space that stays focused on my intentions? So I just wanna go over one really quick thing about.

Speaker 1:

We can often say that boundaries are. They crossed my boundaries, and that might be true. We're gonna talk about that in a minute. But when we are creating boundaries for our relationships with other people, I want us to remember that the boundary is about ourselves. This boundary is gonna work whether or not that person cooperates or not, whether or not that person wants to and just can't cooperate or not. Right, like boundaries are about what I'm going to do.

Speaker 1:

We make requests of other people. Perhaps you know I don't want name-calling in our disagreements. That's a request we might make, but the boundary would be if I start hearing name-calling in our arguments, I'm going to remove myself. The other person is not responsible for anything. We could, again, we might have asked them not to name call, and maybe it came up again when we disagreed. But the boundary, that's a request. The boundary is that I am not going to keep myself in a space that I think is unsafe or is not going to contribute to our relationship in a way that I want it to Right, that's my boundary, that's what's necessary. They're about what I'm going to do.

Speaker 1:

Another person's behavior, though, will have to change if we create that boundary. Right, what happens when I walk away? Because you start name calling Can't continue that argument. We can't get louder and more aggressive, right, because I am walking away, you'll be doing all that stuff by yourself. So often people think, oh well, my friend or my spouse or my family member won't go to therapy with me, so nothing can change. You can still get what you want out of the relationship, and that other person will have to change their response. You still may not like it, it still may not be what you want, but in the meantime, you're keeping yourself safe and you're keeping to your own values and what's important to you.

Speaker 1:

So, again, boundaries are what I'm going to do if I get into a situation I don't want or doesn't serve me. It's like deciding what kind of wall I need around me, and there's lots of different types of wall. Right, we can build a six foot brick wall that's three feet wide. Right, if we really just want to cut that other person off or cut off that behavior that we're doing, you know, to ourselves. And we can also make them as thin and transparent as possible. I try to see myself like with a greenhouse around me, that I can still connect and see that other person, but that I've kept this very light boundary around me so that I can stay in connection and still keep my own safety. Boundaries don't even need to be expressed to the other person. However, if we've built that big, thick brick wall, other people will feel it Right, if it's around a relationship, other people are going to feel that big brick wall compared to. I want to stay in connection and I just have to do these few things to keep myself safe, and I like to keep them as light and thin as possible most of the time.

Speaker 1:

Now there are going to be some really toxic behaviors, some really toxic relationships that just aren't working for us and we can no longer have those people around. That's when I build the big brick wall. Right, that's when I build the big brick wall. Or if there's some habit or action that I'm doing that I am like I have had enough, I'm not doing that anymore. Here's my big brick wall. I can walk up to this wall and I can't get any further to do that bad behavior again. So those are the only instances where I want you to have big, thick walls. Otherwise, when we're in relationship with people, we still want to be able to connect with them, and if our walls are too thick, we have a hard time doing that. So I want to talk about some examples of boundaries that you can set really good boundaries and then we're going to go over the three questions that you want to ask yourself in order to have those boundaries be effective for you and making your own boundaries. So let's get into it. So I gave you four examples and we're going to follow all of these examples all the way through to really start pulling them apart. So there's boundaries that we have for relationships, which is what most people refer to boundaries.

Speaker 1:

I also create boundaries for myself when it comes to actions and behaviors or new habits that I want to make what I want to do instead what's not working for me, right? So boundaries are about what's not working for me and how I want it to work instead. So the first one is it hurts our relationship and my feelings when we use name calling or aggressive tones when we disagree. So when that happens, I am going to walk away until we calm down and can communicate effectively. Right, I'm telling you what I'm gonna do. I don't even have to tell you. I could just walk away. Right, I could just be like whoop, that's enough and walk away. But these are boundaries, clear boundaries as to why I'm making them in, what I want instead. The second one is a story I tell myself.

Speaker 1:

When you don't pitch in around the house is that I'm expected to take care of things around here and my boundary is that I'll do what's important to me. Maybe I'll hire a maid, I might just leave some stuff undone, right, like? Those are options within my own value system that I could do. I don't want to go to the point where I'm just like, oh, I'm gonna use it as punishment. Boundaries are not punishments, they are how I keep myself safe. Those are two different things, because I've heard people before go well then, I'm just going to be passive, aggressive, basically, and not clean your half of the room or not do your dishes, even though I'm doing my dishes right, and I mean we could do that. If that falls within your values, that's great. I still want all the dishes done. So I'm still gonna do all the dishes because that's what I want, what feels good to me, and I don't like ants. We get ants. So I want us to make sure that the boundary is not about punishing the other person. The boundary is about keeping me safe. This is what I'm gonna do for me.

Speaker 1:

A third one it's not helpful for me to tell myself negative things all the time. So I'm going to, when I recognize it, I'm going to stop the suffering spiral and the negative self-talk tape that keeps replaying in my head and I'm gonna refocus on my intentions and kindness towards myself. Right, that's a boundary for me. Another boundary for me is maybe I want to be more grounded. So when I find myself scrolling on my phone you know the death scroll for longer than I believe is good. I'm gonna shut it off or set time limits on my phone for certain apps so that I can read or journal or something that's going to serve me better. Right, that's a boundary that I make for myself. So boundaries, again, are about what I'm gonna do for me, not what I expect other people to do for me. That's a very childlike behavior, and I want us to notice the three different parts here of each one of these.

Speaker 1:

The first one was what I don't want. Here's the behavior, the thing that I don't want. This is the story I tell myself, the trigger, the emotion, how I know that I need a boundary here. Right, I'm getting angry, I'm feeling shame, I have a lot of fear, I'm discombobulated, frustrated, stressed. How do I need a boundary for that? Right, that's what I don't want. Is that story that I'm telling myself to come up?

Speaker 1:

And then we look at what is the contributing behavior? So the behavior is data. I scroll my phone, name calling comes up. You're not pitching in. You know there's stuff not getting done in the house. Those are all the contributing behaviors. They're just strictly data. This is what anybody else could see or hear if they were watching me in a video, right? And the third part is what I'm going to do when it happens. Here's the actions I'm going to take when I want this behavior to change, when I have hit that level of this does not work for me. Right? Here's what I'm going to do, my empowered action.

Speaker 1:

So let's pull apart these examples. Right, because I often hear people say you know, people crossed my boundaries. Again, it's not their responsibility not to cross our boundaries. It's our responsibility to protect and enforce our boundaries, which is usually what we hate doing. Right, like, I don't want to be a meanie, I just want you to act the way that I want you to act, and I wouldn't have to decide when it's time to walk away or change my behavior or make choices that I don't want to make. Right, because if you're not pitching in, I really just want you to pitch in. I don't want to have to hire a maid, I don't want to have to decide what's important to me, I don't want to have to do it all. Right, we might be going down that path, but true empowerment means that sometimes we have choices we don't like, right, sometimes we have choices we don't like, and so, in order to be empowered, it means making choices that fit best. Right, they're not perfect, but they fit best, and they're of what we can control, because that's the important part of empowerment is that I'm working from what I actually control. I'm not trying to control other people.

Speaker 1:

So let's look at the three questions and look at this a little bit. So what boundaries do we need to make? Well, when you're looking at, you know, where am I missing boundaries in my life? It can be really hard because probably we've never made boundaries in that area of our life before. So just a few things that you can start looking at in order to you know, tune into where you might need boundaries. We can look at our triggers, right, and by that I mean huge emotional responses, not necessarily a trauma response, but huge emotional responses. Where am I getting those huge emotional responses? And sadness or anger or shame or fear.

Speaker 1:

We can look into our non-negotiables for relationships. If you don't have a list of non-negotiables for your relationships, I highly suggest you make them For me. It's, you know again, no name-calling. We're not going to raise our voice. We're not going to disrespect each other by bullying each other or trying to be the best, just trying to communicate in a good way. Cheating may be somebody is non-negotiable for their partner relationship. Right, lying might be a non-negotiable for a relationship. So once we know what it is, we absolutely will not put up with. Boundaries need to be made for some people, because some people will walk over those boundaries if they don't know that they're there, and they might still try to walk over those boundaries even when they do know that they're there. So it's still my job to make those boundaries and enforce them.

Speaker 1:

We can also look at our behaviors that aren't serving us. So what habits or behaviors or ways of showing up aren't serving me and how can I shift that? Where is my power in that situation? Because if it's my behaviors, I have power. We can also look at the areas that we want to change about ourselves or how we interact with relationships. So how do I show up to relationships? How do I want to shift that so that it might be easier for me to connect with people or more effective in having communication, right, awesome. So hopefully you can think of one area where you might need boundaries. It might be getting sucked into somebody else's drama. It might be you creating too much drama for yourself. Whatever that boundary is, I want you to start thinking about it, because we're going to go over these three parts of a boundary, and the first one that we want to look at is what is the trigger or emotion or story that you're telling yourself?

Speaker 1:

So again, with these examples that I already gave you is maybe in the first one, I get confused. When they call me names, when they're in disagreement, my feelings get hurt, communication breaks down, we get really angry at each other. Those are the triggers and the stories that I'm telling myself. If you're calling me a name, I might be telling myself I'm not good enough, or you think I'm not enough, or too much, or whatever other old stories I have hiding around here. So when you name call, I start feeling belittled and that's not the kind of relationship that I want to be in. I get angry when I see those dishes again, when I realize that you haven't pitched in again, and I'm getting angry because here I am doing it all again, telling myself that story about how I have to do everything. Sure, we all have a story or two, maybe from the past that we can relate to, where I'm expected to do everything. I get that angry feeling within me.

Speaker 1:

In the third example, I feel shame when I start telling myself constant negative stories and thoughts. That doesn't feel good, that doesn't feel like it's motivating me or inspiring me to do better, to heal, to change my habits, and so that could be my trigger. For the last one, I feel anxious and I want to have more calm. That could be simply it, and so I need to make boundaries for myself around how I believe I could reach more calm. So what is the trigger? Or the emotion or the story that's happening that we don't like, because that's usually what's happening is, I'm telling myself a story about the way that you're calling me names and what that means in our relationship. So the trigger, the emotion, the story that you tell yourself about it.

Speaker 1:

The second part is what's the data that's contributing to these situations? What's the actual actions that? I know that when this action happens, a boundary is needed, right. That's why I'm planning it ahead of time, so that I can see this action actually contributes to that feeling, that trigger, that emotion, that story that I'm telling myself. But it's when I notice this data point that I'm just like human or fearful, or whatever the reaction is. So the data that's contributing to these situations.

Speaker 1:

Let's go over the examples that we have. In the first example, it's name calling, raised voice, aggressive language, right when those things start happening, I know that this is boundary time Work going undone. Or I feel like, once again, I'm doing all of the housework for us and I'm feeling triggered again that nothing's done. But what I do right, that's the actual data is that this thing hasn't been done. Staying stuck in that negative self-talks cycle right, we can do that and sometimes we even notice it. But we in that negative self-talk cycle, we probably don't have the wherewithal to make a boundary. So making it ahead of time right, that's what's so important. That's why we're creating boundaries, not in the moment that it's happening, but when we're really clear headed and we're not having that trigger as much. So staying stuck in that negative self-talk cycle when I say key phrases, right, there's a few core wound messages that I know come up for me and I'm like, oh, I'm in that suffering spiral again. This is the time I need a boundary, right.

Speaker 1:

And in the last one, it's wasting time on my phone when I realized that I'm scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and what am I getting out of it? Really nothing. I'm not getting any new information. I'm just kind of numbing out my brain to all the stuff that happens in the world and that's not really bringing me the calm and the peace that I crave. It's actually creating a lot more anxiety, right? So what is the data? What is the trigger? Are the two that we've gone over? And then the last one is what is it that I actually want in this situation? Not just what I don't want, because we already know that I don't want to be on my phone, I don't want name calling to happen, all of those things but what is it? What is the option I have in that moment to prepare myself so that I can stop the behavior and change to something else? Right, shift the way that this is going, so that we don't have the same cycle over and over again.

Speaker 1:

So, in our examples, one of them is I want to have clear communication that stays productive and effective, rather than attacking each other. I want to help or let go of the chores that I don't care about, or hire or amade or whatever that other solution to getting help around the house is. I want to tell myself about my gifts and my magic. I want to create a truer picture of who I am when I'm in that negative self-talk phase. Right, I want to see the big picture, not just the 3 or 4% that I'm really focused on. That just seems really terrible and makes me feel really terrible, so that I can have compassion for my humaneness. And the last one was I just want to feel calm, grounded, energy, right, that's. I want to let go of the anxiety, let go of scrolling on my phone, which only increases that anxiety, and step into more calm and grounded. Right, so it might be that the actual action might be I'm going to stop, like I said in the original example, and go journal or go read or go do something else. That is a little bit more effective than just scrolling on my phone, right? And these are like big arguments that couples have and they might feel like little, small things that I do for myself, but that's okay.

Speaker 1:

Like boundaries can start small and we can grow that wall as thick or thin as we like them to be. Boundaries are about us having big girl empowerment pants to make choices for ourselves. Even in those spaces where we feel powerless, we still have the power to make a boundary. It's a huge part of empowerment and we're not always going to like our options. Of course. It would be a better world for each one of us if the rest of the world would just show up the way that we expect them to or want them to, and the circumstances all work out. But that's not really our lives.

Speaker 1:

So we want to really look at where is my power, without controlling other people, without trying to control how they show up or how circumstances show up. Where is my power in this situation? And I promise you that boundaries are going to help you really control your energy. It's going to help you be less frustrated, less exhausted and feeling really confident that you can make really good choices for yourself. We just have to enforce those boundaries. As much as we may not like them, it's really important. If you need help creating a boundary for yourself, whether that's with a relationship within yourself, or you're curious about how boundaries can shift relationships I'd love you to reach out and let's have a chat real quick and let's talk about how you can feel more empowered in your life. I look forward to seeing you again next week. Thanks, shifters, for tuning in.

The Importance of Boundaries for Empowerment
Establishing Personal Boundaries for Self-Empowerment
Creating Boundaries and Setting Relationship Standards
Empowerment Through Boundaries