Welcome to this week’s Relationship Wellbeing newsletter.
I hope you are keeping well.
This week I invite you to continue your SELF-OBSERVATION practice, paying particular attention to when you might like to create a BOUNDARY for yourself.
I found (& still do find) creating Boundaries such a huge challenge, that my starting point was (& still often is) to SIMPLY OBSERVE when I would like to create a boundary, when I realise my needs aren’t being met by ME. This might be, for example, when I’m feeling disrespected or unconsidered or when I hear myself saying ‘yes’ when I really want to say ‘no’.
Whenever we observe ourselves saying ‘yes’ to a request that doesn’t feel like we’re looking after ourselves, we have a wonderful opportunity to reflect on, and explore with kindness and curiosity what lies behind our ‘yes’.
As I began my self-observation practice, particularly around my saying ‘yes’ and putting myself under pressure to meet someone else’s needs, I realised that often my ‘yes’ came from a place of wanting to continue to be seen as one of the labels I had grown attached to. For example, the ‘helpful’, ‘easy going’ or ‘welcoming’ Steph that I felt under pressure, FROM MYSELF, to maintain and live ‘up’ to!
And when I looked a little closer, I realised that when I said ‘yes’ without hesitation, before considering my own needs, it was often coming from a deeper unconscious need to feel ‘seen’ or loved (albeit conditional love).
So for example, in the past if someone arrived at my front door at the most inconvenient time. I always swung open the door and invited in whoever had arrived without pausing for a second to consider my own needs and checking in with myself ‘is now a good time for me?’. My need to be seen as ‘welcoming’ always and unconsciously outweighed my own needs. I would automatically invite the person in & then wait for that person to leave at a time that suited them, rather than me initiating their departure, at a time that suited me.
Once I became conscious of this need to be seen as ‘welcoming’ even when it didn’t suit me, I knew I had an opportunity to create a boundary, but it didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t immediately create a boundary. Not at all!
It began with me noticing when, on what occasions and with whom, I would have liked to create a boundary.
Then it took me another while recognising, in the moment, that I could create a boundary here & now, but still I chose not to because I didn’t feel safe enough yet and the words I needed to say, in order to create a loving boundary, were still very unfamiliar.
The next stage for me was when I saw a boundary opportunity and knew the words I wanted to say and I still chose not to create a boundary 🙂 and that’s because in my experience, becoming comfortable creating boundaries takes practise, lots of practise and it is so important to be kind with ourselves in our practice.
Finally, after lots of self-observing and rehearsing in my head how I would create a boundary, I felt safe enough in myself to create a boundary that was clear, kind, loving and firm.
That very first boundary was a huge step for me in my self-love practice.
So this coming week, I invite you to practice noticing when and with whom you would like to create a boundary FOR YOURSELF. When you’ve identified a boundary opportunity, this is already a huge step in your self-love practice. So be kind with yourself. Knowing the theory and putting it into practice takes lots of kindness, compassion, patience and PRACTICE.
Practising self-observation is a life-long practice.
If you would like further examples and guidance around creating and maintaining loving boundaries, I have two podcasts all about Boundaries available to listen to on all podcast platforms and also a ‘Boundaries Checklist’ that I would be delighted to share with you. Just let me know if you’d like it & I’ll send it on to you.
To help me create loving, firm boundaries, I remind myself that:
I am responsible for meeting my needs.
I am responsible for my happiness.
If I feel upset or unconsidered with someone’s behaviour, I have a brilliant opportunity to create and uphold a loving boundary that meets my needs.
I am not responsible for someone’s reaction to my self-loving boundary.
My feelings are my creation, coming from me and for me, calling me to create a loving firm boundary in order to meet my needs.
Wishing you a wonderful week.
ps If you would like to hear more about the beginning of my self-loving journey and my early & current self-loving practices, tune in to my PODCASTS @amazingmeamazingyou or join me on my Instagram page @amazing me amazing you