Some tips for setting boundaries

I get easily stressed out when people ask me to do things in the middle of what’s already in my plate. You can say, I am quite strict with my schedule. I value my routines very much because I know that our life and ourselves are outputs of our habits, our rituals. What we do sometimes or once in a while, no matter how big we think they are won’t ever be as influential as what we do all the time. Likewise, I’m not the kind of person who thrives in rushing things. I get paralyzed when I am in a hurry. I like to take my time.

A couple of days ago I made up my mind to meditate on this. I wanted to know why I felt this way and what can I do to avoid/handle it.

I didn’t listen to a meditation guide or even a meditation music this time. I tried to but I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t do it. I did a breathing meditation instead. A few minutes into it, a little boy started talking. I knew by just listening that it was the voice of my mind, my ego.

The little boy was inside his own room, playing with his toys. He was around 3 years old. He was enjoying his time alone when his mother suddenly came knocking on his door asking him to do something. He felt frustrated because he wanted to play. But he also felt obligated to obey his mother. His mother just barged into his bedroom and gave him orders. She didn’t even ask how he was, what he was up to and if it’s okay to do what he was asking him to do. The boy felt disrespected. He felt like his time and joy weren’t valued. He felt powerless. He felt imprisoned.

I knew what he felt and thought of because I asked him questions. Eventually another person started speaking to the boy, too. I knew it was my higher self.

She told him that if each person’s desires are in alignment with each other, everything would go on smoothly. But sometimes, it’s inevitable that people’s desires come in conflict with each other such as your desire to play and your mother’s desire to ask you to do something for her. We would feel conflicted because we do not want to disappoint other people in general. We instinctively want harmony with our environment.

She told him that he was not really powerless. There was something he can do in situations like that. First of all, he must identify if the relationship was important to him. If it wasn’t then, he should decline easily. But if it was he must be able to choose among the following responses:

  1. Please give me some time to think about it.

  2. Yes, I will do it but later or (insert specific time if you can). Give me some time to (insert what you are doing or would like to do first).

If the person obviously felt bad about your response, you can tell them:

Sorry, but I didn’t mean to disappoint you. I am not rejecting you. I want to do this for you/spend time with you. But I need some time for myself to (do something or figure it out if you can what was asked of you). I want to be sure I can do what you want the best way that I can/I can be completely present with you.

My higher self told both the boy and me that if we were only able to put those into practice at the right moments, then for sure it would make a difference. She said that if we felt conflicted about something and we were dealing with a person that was important to us, we should always ask for some time to think about it and decide. That would allow a healthy space for us to check in with ourselves and honor our needs and desires and for the other person to learn how to respect our boundaries.

It made so much sense to me. The advice was clear and practical enough that I could immediately apply it to my situation. I felt empowered and that feeling alone helped me calm down. It also helped me handle the situation (which I initially labeled as stressful and demanding) and the person (which I initially thought as needy and unreasonable) in a more mature way. It would take me a while to get used to it. But I’m glad that I have this valuable tool now that I can use.

 

 

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