Digging deeper into boundary setting: questions to help you


Digging deeper into boundary setting: questions to help you

If we are being present with a boundary setting, then we need to be present with the process

Being present is about being aware of the now. In this moment. If you take some time to notice this very moment, right now, you will notice that your mind naturally wanders (we have brains that are wired to do this). This is normal, and it is ok. When you are being present you can bring your attention back, but with more awareness. Label it - “I am reading right now”, “I am sitting on a train right now”, or “I am walking right now”. Then notice what happens to your attention. Over time you can bring your mind back to being in the moment and become present with the activity you are doing.

The reason I share this, is the same process can be applied to setting boundaries. I’ve noticed in myself, and in conversations with clients, colleagues and friends, that when it comes to boundary setting we know what have to do it, but we are really hard on our self when it doesn’t work immediately. We easily wander. We easily forget that we can be present and bring our attention back.  If I set a boundary sometimes it just doesn’t happen for me. I move away from being present with my initial intention, start to judge myself and begin to be hard on myself. The mind chatter begins, I think well that boundary didn’t work, and then I might forget it for a little bit of time before realising it is the right boundary for me, but I just haven’t given it a chance. Sounds this sound something like you do?

So how can we be more present with our boundary setting?

Let’s connect back to the beginning for a moment. Last week on the blog I talked about the need to find boundaries or to polish these up if they had gone a bit skew. You can read in detail here, but in summary, the 3 guidelines to boundary setting are explored:

  1. Know your limits (and clearly define these). 
  2. Communicate your boundaries (but be mindful in how you do this).
  3. Practice makes perfect (and be kind to yourself as you practice and put in place your boundaries).

If we are being present with a boundary setting, then we need to be present with the process of setting, trialing, implementing and being with it as well. Being present also means being aware of the emotions and feelings that might come with the reason for why you need to set the boundary in the first place. Plus being present also means observing  the feelings and emotions that might pop up for you when difficulty in application might emerge. It is ok to observe frustration, anger or resentment, but the key is to not stay in these states for too long. From a stance of curiosity connect back to the breathe, quite the mind and then be mindful of not judging yourself.

So if we look at tip one ‘Know your limits' some guiding questions to assist you to be curious might be:

  • What specific areas of your life do you need to set boundaries for?
  • Why do you need to set limits in general? 
  • What are you grateful for in regards to being aware of your limits?
  • What time lines do you need to be aware of that affect your boundary setting?
  • How does your boundary setting intention align to you and your values? 

'Communicate your boundaries’ is tip two, and some questions that might help you are:

  • What might be possible if you communicate your boundaries in a mindful way to a friend, family member or colleague?
  • How can you be true to yourself? 
  • How can you be true to what you need to do?
  • What happens when you open yourself up to learn from others in how they set boundaries or even react to the boundary you have set? 

Begin kind to yourself for tip three 'Practice makes perfect’ is connected to gratitude and self-awareness. Think about these questions:

  • What were the three big wins you have this week?
  • What have you noticed as repeated patterns that are perhaps not so ideal for your wellbeing and boundary setting?
  • How can you flip these patterns from negative to positive? What tweaks do you need to make? 

And my biggest tip overall for boundary setting is start small, observe yourself and others, and approach the changes for you mindfully and with curiosity. And remember that your boundary of choice is about you. So define  what success of this boundary will be for you.  In doing this you are defining success for you, not for your friend or someone else. What will it look like for you? What value will it offer you? How does it help you? And what is right for you right now? What will make you feel like you have done your very best?

And one last thing, remember your boundaries will shift (or grow) as you do over time, so reconnect to redefine as required.

Next week on the blog I am going to reveal my results of an experiment and exploration into a boundary setting challenge of my very own.