“If its burning you out, it probably doesn’t belong to you” - Lauren da Silva
We've all been there...done the hard work, taken the deep breaths, mustered all the courage to establish the healthy boundary… or like, barely a week ago - compiled a list of ways that 2021 is GOING to be different.
But somehow, the things just don't stick.
And so maybe if you’re determined, you try ONE.MORE.TIME....
And alas… more of the same. It just doesn't stick.
And so we focus our energy on just living with whatever it is we couldn't fix without murdering anyone.
Just so that you know… there is something about your values... and your boundaries and visa versa that hardly anyone talks or even knows about.
I am here to share with you why your boundaries and maybe even your New Year’s resolutions won't stick.... and what to do about it.
Your Boundaries & commitments won’t stick if they aren’t aligned with your core values.
Here’s the thing: If your commitments don’t grow out of authentic & honest recognition of what actually matters to you - you’re going to have a hard time sticking to them. Sometimes we commit to losing weight when deep down we love food more than we love being thin...sometimes we are subconsciously more committed to our comfort zones than we are to growth, change and success. And sometimes, deep down, we actually want to succeed or make a mark on the world outside of the home (rather than stay home with the kids).
This can look like a hundred different things for a hundred different people - but if you had had trouble sticking to your commitments, or your boundaries you might want to spend some time figuring out whether or not you’ve made a commitment that doesn’t in fact matter as much to you as you like to pretend it does.
Your boundaries reveal your core values & true commitments.
The flip side of this is that our internal boundaries - that is the feelings of anger, frustration and resentment that rise up inside of us when they are being violated are basically like small warning lights on the dashboards of our lives trying to let us know that we are betraying something or some part of ourselves that actually matters to us.
Again, this may look different depending on the person… but I am going to go ahead and be honest and say that one of the things I need to function is some silence, and physical space around me (I am basically bubble boy, but without a literal bubble). Additionally, one of the things I value in terms of motherhood is raising children who are empathetic, independent, considerate and helpful. I could follow some really frustrating parenting advice or rather, ideals around motherhood, which basically imply that I should be available to my young children 24/7 and allow them to hang all over me all day (and LOOOOOOVE it) but after 5 mins of that life I am basically about to go full chernobyl on them all and blast our family into smithereens.
No good reader, I say things like: “no, please don’t touch me, I don’t like that... I will let you know when I am ready for snuggles” and I heed their own requests for space. Things like “hey guys, we are going to have a silent hour - and you may not talk to me, unless you’re on fire”, also work wonders on occasion.
Any other type of mothering would be me living a lie, and not only do I value honesty and authenticity as an act of courage - I also know that should I be wrong about this, that I am secretly selfish and deprived - the only way that’s ever going to change is if I show up honestly, as I am and open to growth.
Noone has ever experienced lasting transformation because they’ve spent 5 years pretending - “faking it until you make it”, always has been and always will be the worst advice. We get help (and we can give it) where we struggle, and we can become less selfish, less judgemental about what is, posture ourselves towards love and grace, and understand that values aren’t made of concrete.
They, like you, are allowed to change, grow and mature. When we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and when loosen the death grip we have on them, we make room for change.
Your values make the best boundaries
If you want sticky boundaries and commitments with a lifespan longer than 24 hours. The best place to start is with who you are, and what truly matters most to you. Don’t waste your energy on a weight loss resolution when you are perfectly happy with the size of your pants. But if you’re not, could you frame that resolution or root it in what actually does matter to you? Your health? Time with your children? The vitality needed to pursue your goals? Stewardship of a beautiful body given to you to love and care for? Don’t pick the answer you think you want to hear, pick the one that resonates deeply… even if one of the objections that jumps to the front of your mind has something to do with what he/she/they will say/think/expect…
I did an online training on this a couple of days ago if you’d like to dig a little deeper (or if you just prefer video):
I also recently did a webinar training called: Whose Life is It Anyway - so if you need some help sifting through the noise of other people’s voices and expectations and identifying what REALLY matters to you… you can gain access to that HERE---->
Additionally, when they're too long - it becomes a "can't see the wood for the trees situation".
Some people like to just start at the top and work their way down - thats a great strategy if you just want to do SOMETHING but, its not an efficient strategy and it does not guarantee that you will get to the end of your day feeling any less stressed or satisfied about how you spent your time if all you have done is distract or exhaust yourself doing things that aren't really important.
or asked differently:
Additionally, wasting it on priorities that aren't really ours or spending energy dealing with bitterness and resentment because we have allowed other people to dictate to us how we use it isn't worth it.
So you’re starting to feel that resentment and bitterness (or maybe even some burnout?) starts to bubble up in one of your relationships or at work…
That is almost always an invitation to explore what boundaries are missing and need to be erected.
So how do you do that? Where do you start?
Well, contrary to what you may think: you DON’T start with the other person or people in question.
It’s tempting isn’t it? To look at the other person in the relationship and shovel all the responsibility for our feelings of frustrating and discomfort onto them… but don’t ever go there. It will never truly resolve the true root of those feelings.
Boundaries are erected to protect YOU, what YOU love, what YOU value, YOUR priorities and YOUR life. When embarking on the boundary building process, the only sustainable place to start is with YOU.
Boundaries ALWAYS start in self-awareness.
Knowing yourself, what you value, what your priorities are, how you want to live your life, how you want to conduct yourself at work, or make a living, raise your children and what kind of relationships you want to have. Becoming aware of all of these components of who you are is the very first step in sustainable and healthy boundaries.
It sounds simple, but most people have no idea who they are or what they want. Most of the values and priorities we pursue have been instilled in us in childhood and belong to our parents, or as we get older our peers and our culture. Any boundary - no matter how successfully you seem to erect it - will continue to yield resentment, bitterness and burnout if they aren’t protecting a true and authentic version of YOU.
Imagine going through all the effort of creating and building boundaries around values, priorities and goals of someone else? No thanks.
Self-Acceptance is the foundation of good, strong & boundaries.
Once you do the work of uncovering who you are and what you want, your next step is to accept all of who you are, what you value, and the life you want - without apology, and without judgement.
This is an incredibly difficult task, but reinforcing boundaries is going to be incredibly difficult if you are questioning the validity and value of your own needs and desires.
We all need to learn and practice the self-care discipline of self-acceptance, and not to judge ourselves according to the standards of our culture, compare ourselves to our peers or measure ourselves by the standards of our parents or other significant people in our lives.
Boundaries are strengthened in love.
The energy or courage you need to sustainably erect and maintain healthy boundaries will not come from your anger or your fear - but from your love.
Once you are able to see yourself for who you are and who you want to become, once you are able to accept yourself, you will need to learn how to love yourself unconditionally.
Just like a mother cannot help but protect her children out of a fierce and unconditional love - once you learn to love yourself compassionately, you will develop the courage required to protect and defend yourself and the life you have been called to live in the same way.
Anger and resentment can be difficult emotions to manage, especially when they arise because we are being violated in our relationships, but they are also beautiful invitations to reclaim the authorship and power you may be handing over to others.
Boundaries are one of the ways in which we teach others to know, honor, accept and love us as we are: We cannot be good teachers until we learn to do the work ourselves.
If you would like to learn more about how to get to know, accept, and unconditionally love yourself - and if you would like some help staying out of bitterness and burnout, why don’t you head on over to our free facebook community: