Setting good boundaries starts with self-respect
It's not just firm rules and routines
So many of us Uplifters are struggling with burnout right now. There are deep systemic reasons for this, and changing those will take time, but the more I talk to Uplifters on our podcast, in our large-scale research, and in our community, the more I believe that each of us holds the key to our well-being. There will still be deep inequities in the world, acts of hate and division, and losses every day, but how we experience them is up to us. For many of us that starts with boundaries.
I always thought I was pretty good at setting boundaries. I had consistent buy-in from my husband and kids to work out every morning. Everyone I love knows my phone shuts off at 9 and isn’t back on until 7. The people I’ve worked for mostly appreciated that my well-being and family were top priorities and honored any requests I made to focus attention there. The big, clearly defined boundaries were there and consistently honored. But, it turns out there were actually a ton of fuzzy, quiet, infinitely more problematic boundaries that I wasn’t holding.
I wasn’t choosing to do (or not do) things because I genuinely wanted to. I was doing them because it felt like the right/good thing to do.
It makes sense - we humans crave acceptance. However, we also crave autonomy and freedom, so naturally, I felt resistant to doing these things, even if they were in my own best interest. The thoughts of why I should do them for others, just made me not want to do them. So I ate healthy, flossed my teeth, cleaned my house, helped my kids with homework, ran the quarterly reports, and on and on and on, out of obligation, inconsistently, and mostly joylessly, because they were the good and right things to do. I was forcing myself to show up for these things - which is infinitely more exhausting than doing them from a place of choice.
It was a quiet experience, and one I had become so accustomed to that I couldn’t imagine any other way to motivate myself. I wasn’t even consciously aware of the resistance and resentment I was building up by placing everyone else’s needs ahead of my own.
But, with many of these things, when I stopped long enough to really look at why I might want to do them, everyone else’s opinions be damned, I saw all sorts of deeply personal and valuable reasons to say yes to myself by doing these things - or by saying no to them.
Now, every time I notice my obligation gremlin clawing at my thoughts, I ask myself if I want to do this thing and why. And then while I’m doing it, I repeat that true motivation to myself over and over as I’m doing it to remind my conscious mind of my true purpose- so that I don’t casually default back to that old story.
As Kara and I discuss in the latest episode of The Uplifters Podcast- Boundaries aren’t just the walls and rules we put on our lives. The boundaries that matter most are the tiny choices we make each day to show up for ourselves. Dineé, Denise, Sarah, Rola, Eyvette, and so many other Uplifters have said it, but I’m gonna say it again today, in all caps, just to make sure we hear it: WE CANNOT UPLIFT OTHERS IF WE ARE NOT LIFTING OURSELVES.
You amazing, generous, heart-centered, deeply caring Uplifters: how will you lift yourself this week?
Paid Subscriber Goodness
Thank you for sustaining our mission to celebrate and support Uplifters! Check out your latest Uplifters Unfiltered video below and then double-check your calendar for this Thursday, 12/7 at 5 PM ET for our next Uplifters gathering for Paid Subscribers. We will toast all that 2023 has given, taken, and taught us, while sharing some crafty playtime.
If you want to join in the group craft, here's a rundown of what you'll need. This simple and fun project is the brainchild of my super-talented friend Amanda Kingloff, founder of Project Kid- an amazing site for simple, fun crafts.
All of the projects are adaptable. For instance, I don’t have card stock, so I'm printing my photo on regular paper and then reinforcing it with part of an old cereal box. I’ll punch a hole in the top of my diorama, to turn it into an ornament. The options are endless!
If you prefer, bring your own craft or creative project, or skip the crafting altogether if that is more your vibe.
Regardless, bring something delicious to sip on, so that we can toast the season together. Grab the link below.
Thank you so much for being here! Let’s keep rising higher, together, 💓 Aransas