Not too long ago, I fell under the spell of not protecting my boundaries. What happens when we don’t respect our own boundaries? Setting them is important but consistently enforcing them is the true test. I fail on this from time to time.
I believe we all do this to some degree. When we allow our boundaries to be crossed, we subsequently leak our energy. Even the most enlightened and self-aware individual relapses from time to time. We think, “Ah I got this. My self-worth is on point and confidence is through the roof! Nothing can touch me.” Yeah well, that is just about the time you must remain diligent of those boundaries. Or as I recently experienced, you get a slap in the face, a wake-up call, and what follows is a, oops I did it again. (shameful song reference).
Lately, I’ve been stretching myself and growing in new ways as a coach and in my business. I’ve been so busy learning new things, putting things together and moving them out that I’ve found myself behind in other responsibilities. I work limited hours during the week because I shuffle between my roles as Stay at Home Mom and Entrepreneur.
Recently, I have been scheduling a few appointments on days I do not typically work. I don’t work those days for a few reasons:
- I have only a few hours before my child returns home from school. She has half days two times a week.
- If I get started on something that has a lot of parts before it is completed then I usually want to get it finished. When I am focused and in the creative zone, I really don’t like to push pause and come back to it later.
I’ve discovered it is best to leave those short days for small and light work, like housecleaning or a little admin work. This way I can make my daughter my focus on those short days and on the long days I max them out with everything that needs longer focus. It took careful thought and intention when I created these boundaries to my work schedule so,
Why then did I schedule, not once but a few times, appointments on my non-work days? What was so important that made me make a decision away from my own best interests?
The answer that came up was a little confronting…
I didn’t want to impose my boundaries on another person’s schedule.
And if I am REALLY HONEST with myself, I saw their time as more important than my own. 😮 These are my honest perceptions of what I think is the other person’s situation. And because of that, I adjusted to accommodate. I also had this sense of urgency to finish my project, or to go above and beyond in my service to clients. Some may say I gave my power away. And when I look at it, I did. I gave up my protection, my self-care, and my allotted time for other crucial activities that then got placed on hold for another time or maybe didn’t even get done.
It didn’t feel like breaking a boundary at the time. I saw it as seeing through a project, supporting a client in need, and creating goodwill with a colleague. All of these are very valid reasons to why we trade in our boundaries to meet the needs of another. I am thankful that I got a slap in the face. A wake-up call. Because I forgot this, You have to teach others how to treat you and that can only start with how you treat yourself first. Setting and protecting your boundaries is the most important of upholding this lesson and self-love.
What do you suppose happened when the plans got canceled? You got it. I got really upset about it. Because I gave up something (my boundaries to my work schedule) to make the appointment happen. THAT was my choice. But it made the situation even more devastating when it didn’t work out. This is not about pointing fingers at anyone except myself. It is my responsibility after all.
This has taught me some important things.
- I need to slow down and remember that my boundaries are in place so I can respect myself,
- I have boundaries so I have space for self-love and recuperation, and
- To give myself the room I need in the way I need to accomplish the work I set out to do.
The key point is not to only be aware of why I have these boundaries but to stand guard and protect them fiercely. If I don’t hold to my own rules and guidelines then I can expect disappointment, frustration, and anger more often as no one else will respect them either. It is never a good idea to let up on your boundaries, for anything or anyone. It is the most important self-love thing you can do.