My dog does a great job at doing her own thing and doing what works for her. Sometimes, I wish I had her “go with the flow” attitude (alright, it’s more like most times). Chrissy goes to her sitter’s house at least once a week, and we often joke that she is a diva. In reality, she has some really good boundaries! Chrissy definitely does what works for her especially when it comes to playing with other dogs.
Chrissy likes to set her own rules (even at home) in terms of determining when she will play and what that play time will look like. For example, when she is at her sitter’s house, if other dogs approach her to play she would usually turn away as if she’s saying “yeah…that’s a no for me.” However, a few minutes after, she may join the other dogs to play. Sometimes when I am trying to figure out life plans and find myself comparing my situation to others I try to think about how Chrissy goes about her life and how I can focus on what is best for my needs.
Sometimes, it’s important to do what works for you because you know yourself best. One of the areas I have been paying closer attention to is the way I take care of myself. This is one area of my life where I have to do what works for me. Over time, my circumstances have changed (and I suspect will continue changing) and it makes sense that the ways I take care of myself will also change. When I do what works for me in terms of taking care of myself, I give myself permission to listen to my body and to trust that I know my needs. I also have to remind myself that it is okay for self-care practices to change over time and across various situations in life. If I adopt Chrissy’s “go with the flow” attitude, then I can go with the flow of life and do what works for me in that moment. How wonderful that will be!
How are you taking care of yourself? Do you know what works best for you?
“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely.” [Alexandra Elle]
A few weeks ago, I noticed my anxiety levels increased as I mentally prepared for an event. I had many “what if” anxious thoughts and found it difficult to self-soothe or believe that things will be okay. I struggled with being okay with the things I could not change and tried to remind myself of how fortunate I would be to experience the event. I also decided to come up with several “plan b” options in case any of the “what ifs” actually happened. While this took up a lot of emotional energy, I felt some comfort knowing that I had a plan – whether my plan would be successful didn’t matter. I just needed to know that I could create other options and that was enough for self-soothing.
How many times have you said yes to others when you really wanted to say no? I often have an internal dialogue about what I “should” be doing for others and for myself. I think this has been an internal dialogue for as long as I can remember and I know I am not alone in this. When it comes to making decisions, sometimes it’s easy to just say yes to things, opportunities, people, and experiences without fully thinking things through or thinking about your needs. Most times, I think this comes from a genuine desire to be helpful and sometimes, it can be out of a need to prove something to others or to ourselves.
I’ve been a fan of boundaries for a long time and the older I get, I value boundaries even more. That doesn’t mean that I never struggle with boundaries (trust me…I do!), however, over the years I have become a little more comfortable about navigating those internal dialogues. Last year, I read an incredible book by Nedra Tawwab, a licensed therapist and author of Set Boundaries, Fine Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself and it was essential for my own growth and development around setting boundaries. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about boundaries or need a little reminder. In Nedra’s book, you learn more about the importance of setting boundaries and the six types of boundaries:
According to Nedra, boundaries are “expectations and needs that help you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. Expectations in relationships help you stay mentally and emotionally well. Learn when to say no and when to say yes is also an essential part of feeling comfortable when interacting with others.”
How would you define boundaries? Do you struggle with saying yes when you really should say no? Where do you need to set boundaries in your life today?
As you navigate boundary setting, be kind to yourself.
“the root of self-care is setting boundaries: it’s saying no to something in order to say yes to your own emotional, physical, and mental well-being”
A while back I wrote about what my dog teaches me about mindfulness and she is still a very good teacher. She still takes her time to sniff every leaf and go around every tree to sniff even if we walk the same path three times a day! She definitely understands what it means to go about life with a beginner’s mind – every day, every walk, is a new experience.
I recently wrapped up an incredible week at a summer research institute. It was transformative and inspiring and it also brought up a LOT of unsettling thoughts and emotions. The theme for the week-long institute was “othering, belonging, and becoming” and right now, I think that topic is more relevant than ever before.