How to Set Boundaries That Stick!
If you struggle to set boundaries to protect your own peace of mind after divorce, this episode is for you.
If you struggle to set boundaries to protect your own peace of mind after divorce, this episode is for you.
Do you ever feel like your boundaries are pointless? That you can’t seem to get others to respect them? Or perhaps you don’t even set them because of some fear of the other person’s reactions?
In today’s episode I am sharing what boundaries really are and how to release the programming that gets in the way of making them stick.
So if you struggle to set boundaries to protect your own peace of mind of divorce, this episode is for you.
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL DISCOVER:
When you finish listening, I’d love to hear your biggest takeaway from today’s episode. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, share it to your Instagram stories and tag me, @dianah_johnson
While you’re there, make sure you follow me on Instagram so you can see behind the scenes of how I help divorced women return to self love, rebuild their independent identity and experience greater peace of mind after divorce.
Thank you so much for tuning in to The Return to YOU after divorce Podcast! Make sure you’re subscribed so you’re the first to know as soon as new episodes drop, and to get access to exclusive bonus content we reserve only for our subscribers.
When you leave us a five-star review, we will enter you into a monthly prize draw to support you on your life after divorce journey! It is my thank you for our loyal listeners! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what you love most about the podcast. Thank you for being a part of this mission to help others find this show!
You’re Listening to the Return to You Podcast, episode #11
A client said to me the other day, I have set very clear boundaries so why is my ex still acting the same way. And if you’ve listen to the podcast before you probably know what my response was. Well he’s acting the same because his behaviour is driven by his beliefs about how he should act not yours. And because we actually can’t control that, your boundaries are about how you want to show up in the relationship not him. How you choose to show up when they do something to dishonor your boundaries. That’s where your power is and that’s what I am diving into today.
Boundaries are one of the greatest gifts that you can give to yourself. They are the ultimate act of self-love. Setting boundaries involves honoring your relationship with yourself. It’s how you want to show up for you.
Not honoring that relationship can look like: people pleasing; doing things you don’t want to do; neglecting self care; accepting mistreatment; and compromising your own values.
With healthy boundaries you do not assume responsibility for others feelings and problems. You stay firm in your own identity and no longer accept their behavior without question. To have healthy boundaries, it takes getting clear on what boundaries really are and releasing the programming that gets in the way.… So if you struggle to set boundaries to protect the work you’re doing for your own peace of mind, stay tuned.
Set Boundaries That Matter ….
Okay before we dive in to how to release the resistance to set the boundaries, let’s talk about the first step. And that step is set boundaries that are actually worth setting. Here’s what I mean by that. So often we set boundaries based on what we have been condition to believe is important. Over our lifetime we have heard messages of how people should and shouldn’t act. Like for some reason, I grew up hearing that you shouldn’t sing at the table. I don’t even know why. So we hear these messages and then we set boundaries based on what others said is important. Isn’t it true that boundaries based on other’s beliefs, not yours, will be much harder to keep.
So here’s an example. I have a client who is not bothered if her ex comes into her home for a conversation while waiting on the kids. But all of her friends tell her, he shouldn’t be allowed to come in and you should set your boundaries. But my clients is saying it doesn’t bother me or make me angry. I think it’s fine and the kids get to see us acting like adults. She’s then in this internal struggle because everyone is telling her what her boundaries should be. Others pushing their beliefs on her boundaries is robbing her peace more than her ex in her home is.
So as you may already know, it’s important for you to decide what boundaries matter to you. I invite to ask yourself, what boundaries allow you to maintain the highest version of you? What boundaries will help you show up as the best version of you that relationship? Or even all relationships. Basically, we need to consider what we truly need and not just accept our conditioning.
Here’s a couple of other examples.…. growing up your mother may have said; people shouldn’t raise their voice; people shouldn’t walk in your living room with their dirty boots on; or people shouldn’t call after 7pm at night. And what if you are getting worked up now as people do those things. So you set a boundary but don’t reinforce it because deep down it’s not that important to you. And because you don’t reinforce it, they keep doing it, and you keep getting upset with them. And this all results in disturbing your peace over something that didn’t really matter to you.
I would love for you to think about the things that you heard growing up about how how people should and shouldn’t be. And consider if any of those matter to you and if you simply accepted them without question. Like for me, anyone can sing at my table. In fact, I want them to.
Here’s why this is step 1, and why this is so important. Setting the habitual boundaries does not help us maintain the highest version of ourselves. What I mean by the highest version is the version that’s truest to yourself. The version that you are born as before the programming. The highest version of you is you in your default setting. In your natural stage of being…… And that natural state of being is peace, contentment, and unconditional self-love. So the boundaries that you want to set are the ones that allow you to maintain that natural state of being as much as possible. The ones that protect your peace of mind.
Before setting boundaries, here are the questions that I invite you to ask, is there anything in this relationship that brings me farther away from my natural state of peace? What takes me away from unconditional self-love? This is simply to ensure you are making boundary decisions from the truest version of you.
Remember we are talking in every episode, in some way or another ,about returning to you.
Now if you’re like many divorced women, you may be thinking but isn’t that selfish? Isn’t setting my boundaries based on the truest version of me just selfish.
What I have sounds is, setting boundaries to protect the peace, made me less selfish. My interactions and relationships became more genuine. Because everyone in my life knew if I were doing something for them it was out of genuine desire and love. THere was no motive of obligation or wanting them to love me. My relationships also improved because they knew what to expect from me. They knew the best way for us to have a strong relationship was to mutually respect each other’s boundaries. It was life changing to becoming very honest about what I needed in the relationship. I became very clear on what I needed in order to bring the best version of me to that relationship.
A funny example of how this shows up in my life and how it has helped my relationships. A few weeks ago, I was out to dinner with my sister and we had been out for quite a while. I have a boundary about how long I will stay away from my dogs. I know, don’t judge. See how I said it’s my boundary. I’m not asking anyone else to get me home at a certain time or to behave in a certain way. It’s a boundary that I have set because it’s about my actions. So we were out for a while and on the way home my sister said I know you have been away from Nalu and Kaia for awhile, but do you want to take me to the bank? Now I laugh as I think about this because she specifically said “do you want to take me”. And of course she knows that I have this boundary. And my response was I don’t want to but I will because I love you. And she just laughed and said I really love how honest you are. And I’m really grateful you’re going to take me to the bank. But I know 100% had I said no in that moment there would be zero reaction from her. because we have a relationship where we are able to say no without reaction. We’ve set that standard between each other. And we most often say yes but it’s out of genuine love. And no’s are out of boundaries that we choose to respect. Here’s the thing… Saying how you feel will never ruin a relationship that’s meant for your higher good.
And that’s such a little example but this is how many of my relationships are now. My actions are not out of obligation, people-pleasing, guilt or because I want them to like me. This is why I’m telling you this. When you set a boundary based on how you want to show up in a relationship , that’s where your power is.
Fighting another for who they are does not work for your peace or theirs. When you accept that others are behaving based on their own beliefs, you redirect your attention to what really matters. And that is what you will do if their behaviour is against your own boundaries. Can you see the freedom in stopping the fight against who someone is and instead taking control over what you allow in your life. And that brings me to step number two of setting boundaries.
And that is to get clear on who is really breaking the boundary.
On an earlier episode, I talked about self love being a way of acting and showing up in the world for yourself. And having boundaries is one of the best ways to show up as a self loving person. Yet so few of us feel comfortable setting and keeping our boundaries.
And here’s why because we believe boundaries are about the other person. And who are we to dictate how the other person is suppose to behave. But frankly, we actually do have a right to dictate the behaviour we will allow toward ourselves. Now that is the key… We can’t change other people’s behaviour but we can set a standard of what we will allow.
I understand that for many divorced women setting and keeping boundaries feels uncomfortable. Isn’t it true that much of this discomfort comes from focusing on the potential reaction of the other person. So if you feel that way too, I would love for you to consider, that boundaries are about your reaction, not theirs.
So let me ask you … Do you think the other person breaks the boundary or do you? If I set a boundary and someone doesn’t adhere to it, and I don’t reinforce it, who broke the boundary? If they don’t adhere to my boundary again, with no consequence. Who has really broken that boundary me or them?
One of the most difficult things about boundaries is that we set them with the goal of changing someone else’s behavior. And as you already know, changing someone else’s behavior is impossible. Just consider how hard it is to change our own even when we know it needs to change. Everyone is behaving based on their own programming, beliefs, ego and wounds. Setting a boundary while hoping to change someone else’s behavior is fighting a losing battle. Because they have to make choices in their own mind, based on their own beliefs, about what they will do when you enforce a boundary.
I invite you to see boundaries as simply setting the standard and expectation of how you will allow yourself to be treated. It is training others how you expect to be treated. And training yourself on how you will respond to broken boundaries. It is not a goal to change somebody else’s behavior. The most you can do is enforce the boundary. It’s so important that you make your boundaries about you and not anyone outside of you. We never want to put the power in someone else’s has to affect our old peace and well-being.
It’s the plan of what you will do if they continue to do something that impacts the highest version of you. So, let’s say you decide to tell your ex that he’s no longer allowed to call the kids after 8 p.m. at night. One choice is that you continue to answer the phone at 8 p.m. at night. You fight to convince them with your words to change their behaviour. We know that never works. So your peace of mind is compromised as you try to control his behavior. And because fighting won’t change him, you can change your response to him instead. Rather than make the boundary about them, you make the boundary about your response. Meaning, what you will do if the boundary is not kept.
So in this example you could choose not to answer the phone after 8pm and eventually they’ll give up.
Here’s another example. You set a boundary with one of your friends that you no longer want to retell the story of your divorce. So you realize it keeps you stuck in anger so you’d prefer not to rehash it. And then every time you speak to that friend, she brings it up. You have two choices… you make the boundary about them and continue the conversation. And remind them again and again that you don’t want to talk about it while trying to control their behaviour. Or choice two, after they repeatedly disrespect your boundary, you can change the subject, hang up the phone, leave the room. You are so much more empowered and in control when you make your boundaries about your plan of action. About what you will do to follow through with your boundary. We can’t leave our boundaries up to someone else because that’s completely out of our control. You’ve probably noticed on this podcast we are focusing on the only thing that we can control, our inner world.
Ultimately you always have a choice of who you keep in your quality circle. And I understand you may be thinking, but what if it’s my family disrespecting my boundaries. You have control of how often you’re with them and the conversations you have.
Staying true to your boundaries is your own personal commitment to yourself. It’s not about someone’s commitment to you. This is why I do so much work with women on self-love. When you return to self loving you, setting boundaries is easy. Because when you have reconnected to your unconditional self-love, you will protect it with all of your might. And how do I know? Because it’s instinct. Think about your child or a parent, how instinctual is it to protect them from others. That return to you is returning to that innate unconditional self-love. You will instinctually protect yourself, the closer you get to that truest version of you. In the meantime, honouring your own boundaries is the way to honour your relationship with you.
All right let’s dive into the final step which is to release the resistance to setting a boundary. Now that we know that boundaries are about you. And that boundaries should be set based on your true needs not on the conditioning of Lifetime. It’s time to release the beliefs that get in the way of you actually set the boundary.
As you probably already know, to release the resistance to setting boundaries, you begin my making a list of the fears that you have about setting boundaries. Common fears that I hear include: I will lose them; they will think I am selfish; they won’t love me’ I can’t handle a reaction.
Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to accept all kinds of behaviours. We’ve been told that we are responsible for other people’s emotions. We’ve heard the messaging that prioritizing ourselves selfish or unkind. Frankly, we haven’t learned to set our own boundaries and be true to ourselves. So we have to ultimately choose that for ourselves. And be willing to push through the discomfort releasing the lifetime of conditioning. Remember just because we’ve been told these things doesn’t make them true.
So brainstorm a list of beliefs that say you can’t set boundaries. Including what do you believe will happen if you do.
When you have all of those thoughts down on paper I want you to poke holes in them and provide evidence against them. This is how you reprogram your mind. For those of you who haven’t heard of my love processed I want you to head back to episode number one where I tell you all about it.
So take each thought that makes you resist setting your boundaries, and ask what else is possible. How could someone else see this.
You’re allowing the subconscious mind to see that boundaries are a gift you give to you. That boundaries may be needed for moving forward and being the best version of you. And that boundaries are what we set when we love ourselves. Show your mind the journey that you are on.
All right, let’s dive in to this week’s reflection questions …
What is one boundary that I have been putting off because I am scared of the outcome?
What beliefs do I have about what will happen that is creating the fear or the resistance in creating the boundary? What meaning have you attached to setting boundaries?
And because you have to act your way through fear not think you’re way out of it, the final question is what small action can I take today to set that boundary? Even if you don’t tell the other person what can you do to take a step in the direction of setting that boundary? It could be that you simply write down your plan of action if the other person doesn’t respect the boundary when you set it.