I have written on boundaries before, but this past week it has been a recurring theme for all my clients, so I thought it would be good to discuss it some more.
Most of us know what we like and do not like. However, many of us do not know what our boundaries are. We have just never thought about them. An example of this can show up as
- “I am always responding to emails from work at 9:00 PM!”
An example of a boundary may be
- “All emails I receive from work after 6:00 PM I answer the next business day.”
Instead, we interpret OUR boundaries as what OTHERS should or should not do. For example,
- “People should not send me emails from work at 9:00 PM!”
The problem is we cannot control others’ actions. We can only control ours.
If someone from work wants to email you at 9:00 PM, there is nothing you can do to change that. You can ask them not to, but they do not have to do what you ask.
But if one of your boundaries is “I do not respond to emails from work after 6:00 PM until the next business day.” You can decide not to respond to the email. WHEN you respond to the email is what you CAN control.
Our expectations (or instructions) of how someone SHOULD act are manuals we hold for them. But people do not have to follow our manuals. For us to expect them to do so, will always leave us disappointed. We can ASK things of others, and they can decide whether to do it or not.
Just as others can ask things of us, as an example:
- “I know you do not check your emails after hours, but we have a deadline today. I will need your help after 6:00 PM. Please let me know if you are available.”
YOU can decide whether you want to help after 6:00 PM or not.
The more we recognize and ask others to respect our boundaries, the more respectful we are of theirs too.
P.S. Do you have obstacles keeping you from moving forward and taking action? Are you looking for a change? Do you want someone to guide you through your journey instead of DIYing it? Join me and get started. Learn how thinking differently creates different results. Reach out to schedule a consult and learn how we can work together. Contact info: (office) 305-445-0477, (cell) 786-623-8344, or email me at emy@coralgablescounseling.