Have You Set Boundaries in Your Life? AKA: Do You Stand Up For Yourself?

In my last post, I asked patients to Not Make Me Their Drug. I heard back from many who asked me, “I hope you weren’t talking about me” or “Whoa, you sounded pissed”. I’ve learned that when I’m setting a new boundary (in the process of my values being challenged), I go through a week of being edgy, irritated, nontolerant. I guess that was last week!

Setting Boundaries = Standing up for yourself.

Women, especially, struggle with this as we want to please, fit in and compare our lives to every human with a vagina in real life and on social media. Knock it off! In the end, WE end up holding all that emotion inside of us – the guilt, shame, fear, resentment.

We all have boundaries with ourselves, our kids, partner, friends, parents, co-workers, siblings, employees, yet I believe that most of us aren’t conscious or intentional in creating and living by them. Many times we avoid setting boundaries because we don’t want to deal with confrontation. Confrontation may be seen as negative: a fight, a battle, an argument. It’s all about the lens that we are looking through: if boundaries are spoken and created through love and positive intention, it becomes an agreement, not a fight; a bridge of trust instead of a competition; a means to creating a deeper relationship, not an argument. If boundaries are spoken and created through fear and defensiveness, it may seem like a fight, battle, or argument.

Here are a few boundaries I’ve set in my professional and personal life:

Boundary with patients: If my full recommendations aren’t followed, my reputation is on the line (Chiropractic didn’t work, Dr. Tiffany is over the top, money doesn’t grow on trees, etc.). If you start a new exercise plan and don’t follow the instructions, will it work? I kindly remind them of their decision and if that doesn’t feel right to them, I find them another great Chiropractor who fits their needs.

Boundary with my team: Leave your shit at the door. This boundary is tested every now and then (unintentionally) and it’s my responsibility to follow through on my actions. When they are focused on themselves instead of our tribe, we talk about it first; then they go for a walk; and if that doesn’t work, they go home and work on their shit.

Boundary with our kids: They pay rent in our house by cleaning up ‘stuff’, doing chores, and being a family/team. When they choose to not pay rent, it is agreed that they will not receive the ammenities (TV, phone, anything else your landlord deems necessary to take away).

Boundaries with myself: Say NO if it doesn’t feel right. Walk away if someone’s tone is strong (it makes me shut down and get defensive, then it doesn’t go well. I’m competitive J). Ask for privacy. And putting myself at the top of the list. PS – If you don’t take care of yourself first, how are you able to take care of those around you?

Because I have been frequently misunderstood in my communication, it has taught me to be very clear in my intentions. To speak with honesty and love. This takes knowing yourself, knowing what triggers you and being able to have an open conversation with the people you love and respect.

The best boundary-setting statement is, “No, I’m not able to do that”. How big is your NO list compared to your YES list? Check out Oprah’s advice on setting your personal boundaries: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Begin-to-Set-Personal-Boundaries_1.

Take a stand for YOU and your life will change.

Dr. T

PS – Share a new boundary that you’ve created so that we can create a safe, loving community

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