Is it time to add a few more building blocks to your boundaries?
More often than not, friends are joyful and friends are good energy. Sometimes though, friends can be hard work and friends can be negative energy.
As a friend of others, we have brought joy, but we have also been hard work. Likewise, we have friends, who have been an immense joy, but who have also been draining.
Friendship is a two-way street. One of shared effort, shared input and output – not always in equal measure all of the time; but with the very best friendships, it all equals out in the end – you understand the flow of things - who is going through something tough, which one of you has something to celebrate, and which one of you is so busy that you’ll catch up in a few weeks.
Sometimes, though, we can find ourselves in friendships that feel a little bit too one-sided for too long. It can begin to bring resentment and start to feel toxic. It’s really important when this happens, to protect yourself wholeheartedly.
There may be a time when you’re just not feeling as resilient as you want to be, when you really need a bit more space and when you need to step up and protect yourself. If you’re feeling a bit up to the brim yourself, know that it’s okay not to answer that call or respond to the message straight away. Know that it’s okay to let them know you just need a bit of time for yourself. If it’s feeling really toxic, know that it is okay to cease contact entirely and reclaim your headspace and energy.
It really is okay to protect your emotional capacity and to say no without reason or justification. After all, us lovely humans, cannot pour from an empty cup.
I think the art of protecting ourselves sounds so very simple; black, white and clear cut. I believe that in reality, it is probably one of the hardest skills to master because it is dealing with all sorts of emotions that show themselves as every single shade of colour between black and white.
Where do we begin with building boundaries?
1. The first thing is to recognise where you might be lacking some boundaries and what it is costing your wellness on a daily basis; perhaps where a relationship may be too one-sided or you always feel like a doormat to others. Further to this, what improved boundaries in those situations might be like in practice, perhaps feeling able to say no or not always having to answer the phone straight away.
2) Secondly, consider what could be different in your life if you had the boundaries in place that you needed and wanted? A good idea would be to write a list of what could be different and all the benefits both to you, and to the others around you.
3) Thirdly, think about what resources you need to start setting improved boundaries?
4) Lastly, the most difficult but rewarding part; starting to build an evidence base that you have the ability to implement your boundaries and of the associated benefits when you do so - put them into practice over and over again.
It is no easy task and if you're finding it impossibly hard it may require some digging as to what's behind it being so difficult.
"If you hold yourself dear, protect yourself well" - Gautama Buddha
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