Ya’ll! 2020 has been INSANE with work and moving and scheduling (lets not forget the pandemic). I wrote a blurb over a year ago (twice) about establishing my thoughts and emotions to take better care of myself and go figure, I fell into the SAME trap, and guess what? Im the culprit that keeps setting this ensnarement. How many times do you focus on a resol
ution to better yourself for the next year and end up over worked, tired, cranky, unhealthy and waving the white flag at the end of the year? We are going to break this together!!! First, I want to share with you my previous story, and after my chaos traveling during Covid, we are going to come up with a very different very real plan to break these recurring bad habits…
About a 3 years ago I was on the phone with one of my close friends, depleted and sobbing and a total shell of a person from giving everything to everyone all the time, I found myself telling them that I was at a cross roads at my job and with some of the friendships in my life. I told them I just didnt know what it was going to take to keep my business profiting and continuing to make everyone around me constantly happy. I felt like I was invariably walking on eggshells. Say the right thing, acting the right way, dressing the part. Be “On” at every turn. “Make it look seamless” was our professional mantra to each other. Then my friend asked me how much I say the word “no”, and I said something to the effect that I don’t allow myself to say no at this point in my life, and then they asked me if there was anyone or anything in my life that I could essentially do with out (I believe my friends words were “decrapify your life”). The key point I took away from that conversation was that I didnt need to get rid of people or situations, but that I needed to learn how to set personal boundaries.
I’d recently flown with a captain on the west coast that, right on touchdown was ready for food and alcohol. This is a seemingly typical practice with all crew at the end of a long and rigorous work day, it quite honestly didnt bother me. I enjoy camaraderie and the sharing of a few good pilot stories mixed with some laughs to help the time go by. With this guy though, I didnt get an option to freshen up at the hotel or even been asked if I had a restaurant preference. He would drive us right to the bar. One drink for him would turn into three and before I knew it, I would still be quietly and patiently waiting, exhausted in my stinky man-looking uniform, makeup rubbed off my face and limp pony tail just dying to be brushed out. I would get irritable and just crave a shower but my professional counter part wasn’t ready to leave. So, in my defeated state, I would join in on the drinking and bad diet. Even though this wasn’t my plan for an evening on the road, what else was I suppose to do? I was marooned with a moron!… OR was I?…
I would proceed to call my friend after an irritable day on the road and bitch about the long evening at the bar, the awful and sexist jokes spewed at me in the cockpit, and even tear apart his god-awful piloting skills and ill-manners towards the passengers, then my friend asked me; “how did the day make you feel?” As I heard myself say “Its his show, I was just there to do my job and make him look good” a lightbulb went off. Then another question fell out of phone at me; “whats the difference between you and that captian?”, my response was something along the lines of “He sets the bar extremely low whereas I intend to represent myself to the highest standard I can, even when clients arent there”. If the bar was set so low, how could I not take control of the situation and demand what I needed? I was simply too afraid to speak up and stick up for what I need to happen in a situation. I needed to freshen up before dinner and to unwind alone in my hotel room after work. I needed to check in with my husband and I needed my captain to set a better example both for his company and as my peer. Sobriety (this term, not just being used in only the essence of alcohol but also waking up from denial) has forced me to start drawing boundaries. It’s part of the deal – if we want to be better at our jobs, as a friend, as a spouse, we have to learn to say no. But starting this process and upsetting those around me by “leaving the party early” or “demanding my feminine needs in a male-dominated career be priority” threw me back into the boundary fire.
I felt I wasn’t allowed to let people down, and I had an idea that other people’s feelings were more important than my general health and wellbeing. It wasn’t until I was on the hotel floor sobbing, and facing not being able to do this work at all, that I was able to start creating realistic and healthy boundaries. Now saying “no” doesn’t feel awful. It feels empowering.
>>Actual practice: A lot of invites and text messages go unanswered. I actively coax myself into not feeling obligated to do what is asked of me if it goes against what my body or mind needs at that particular time – be it a professional collaboration, a chat I don’t have energetic capacity for, or a celebratory invitation – now I rarely, if ever, do things I don’t want to do. I do whatever it takes to keep me from hating my situation or quitting my life. Which means working on keeping my heart open, but erecting a tall fence (boundaries) to make sure I can manage. I don’t need to escape from my life anymore.
If you feel like you are lacking personal boundaries which is effecting your balance and happiness in life, I strongly recommend picking up this gem of a book. "Boundaries" are essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:
- Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
- What are legitimate boundaries?
- What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
- How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
- Aren't boundaries selfish?
- Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.
click on the book photo for more info.