A Day Without Boundaries
I have been deep in the work of boundaries these past few years. Boundaries are explicit lines of protection we create for ourselves to stay healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
I have been reading Boundaries, by Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend. The book starts off with a chapter entitled "A Day in a Boundaryless Life." It describes what a day looks like for a woman who has not set healthy boundaries. I was able to easily re-create this chapter with examples from what my own life looked before I started this work. This may have been what a day looked like for me a few years ago, when I still was not clear on my own boundaries:
I wake up tired and immediately check my phone, which is charging right next to me throughout the night. I start scrolling through my emails and already feel anxious based on some work emails that I feel need to be addressed immediately. I respond to a few social media messages and begin scrolling, feeling like others have a better life/job/relationship, etc. than me.
I skip the gym this morning because I spent too much time on my phone. I also feel guilty spending so much time away from my family. They have never mentioned anything about this, it's a story I made up and stick with. I spend far too much time making everyone breakfast and lunch for the day because I had nothing prepped ahead of time.
I rush to work and already feel overwhelmed before I sit down at my desk. One of my co-workers is out sick and before I can even catch myself, I have volunteered to pick up some her work on top on my own for the day.
I work like a mad woman all day. I am often multi-tasking,..writing emails while making phone calls and most assuredly making mistakes (not attaching an attachment, replying to all, etc.). I eat when I can at my desk and am interrupted constantly. I sneak away to use the restroom when I can't possibly hold it any longer and pretend I do not hear students calling my name when they see me walking fast across the schools' campus.
I have a parent show up with no appointment and I take the meeting. I allow them to yell at me because of a situation they are frustrated over. I sit and listen figuring venting will help them out. I over apologize for the situation they are angry about on other people's behalf and allow them to interrupt and speak to me disrespectfully.
We have a staff meeting right after school lets out and there is an argument about an extra duty. I volunteer to take on the duty just to keep the peace and move the meeting along, I am really hoping it will end soon so I can beat traffic and make it to a much needed yoga class.
As soon as the staff meeting is over, one of the people who was arguing corners me to thank me for taking on the duty, but continues to vent/gossip about the other person. I try to be present and listen, I like to be there for people and try to help, but I am feeling anxious and uncomfortable with the gossip. I am also nervous about leaving later than usual, traffic will definitely be problematic.
I finally escape and make it back to my desk to gather my stuff and leave. There are two new voicemails and five new emails. I check and respond to the ones I feel are most important, than finally leave 20 minutes after I originally planned.
As I suspected, I hit traffic. About 30 minutes in I realized I would not make it to yoga in time. I feel so frustrated, angry and annoyed with myself now for having skipped the gym this morning and not being able to yoga the day away. I am upset with my co-worker and the other people who left messages that caused me to stay later.
I finally arrive home. My husband and step-son are happy to see me, but I am irritated and stressed from my day and it shows. My husband asks me three times, three different ways what is wrong and finally I snap and unleash all my frustration out on him. I vent about the whole day and about everything I wanted to say to correct situations, but didn't. He patiently listens and gives helpful advice that I don't want to hear. I resentfully start to cook dinner, even though he offers to do it. Twice.
I feel a headache creeping in and figure I need to relax. I open a bottle of wine and have a glass while I cook. After two glasses, I finally feel relaxed and settle in to dinner with my family. We talk about everyone else's day and then watch some TV after dinner. I scroll through my phone while drinking another glass of wine and half listen when my husband or step-son talks to me.
I finally get too bed far too late and sleep fitfully from drinking too much wine. I check my phone in the middle of the night when I can't sleep and wake up the next day feeling like I did not get enough sleep.
All of these may not have happened on the same day, but I promise you, each and every one of them did at happen multiple times until I finally stopped being resentful and frustrated with others and realized the problem was me and my lack of boundaries.
Can you spot where I did not set boundaries? What could I have done differently?
Does this sound similar to a typical day for you? Maybe not the same situations, but similar feelings of frustration and resentment?
I would love to share the work I have done on boundaries with you. I am hosting a workshop this weekend at Inner Evolution Yoga about boundaries and it's connection to yoga. You can register by clicking here.
If you are not local, would you be interested in an online version of this workshop? I am playing around with the idea of offering my workshops in a virtual format and would like to see if there is an interest.
Are you interested in working on boundaries one on one with me? I would absolutely love to work with you and empower you to explore healthy boundaries. Message me and let's connect.