We are continuing with cognitive reframes this week. As a reminder, a cognitive reframe is a shift in mindset so you can approach situations from a new perspective. The ones that I will share with you are small shifts you can make in common approaches we have to things that will hopefully have beneficial impacts for you.
I’ve talked about transitioning from focusing on to-do lists to asking yourself what needs your presence and stepping away from black-and-white/right-and-wrong thinking to asking yourself what is true and beautiful. This week we look at boundaries.
If you aren’t one yourself, there’s a good chance that you know a people pleaser. Someone who puts everyone’s needs before their own and rarely stands up for themselves. They struggle to say no to things and often find themselves with plates far too full.
There’s no problem with being a person of service who finds joy in helping others, but if you find yourself burnt out or consistently overwhelmed with what you take on to help others, then this message may be for you.
I was an unhealthy people-pleaser for quite some time. When it came to setting boundaries, there was far too much worry and anxiety over letting people down that I rarely set them. I would rather burden the far-too-heavy load than encounter someone’s reaction when I told them no.
But, I once came across a quote by Prentis Hemphill that changed my approach to boundaries. Prentis says that boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.
Ah, so all the times we spend people pleasing we are doing a great job at loving others, but a poor job of loving ourselves.
Now, self-love can be a journey in and of itself. But, once you obtain self-love I have found that keeping Prentis’ quote in mind provides much more freedom in setting and withholding boundaries with others. No longer do I feel like I am letting others down when I say no, rather I am finding that sweet spot where I am loving both me and them simultaneously.
If you are a person who struggles to set and uphold boundaries, I encourage you to remind yourself of this quote next time an opportunity arises to set a boundary. Those around you are certainly worthy of love, but, you, too, are also worthy of love and care. May you find the sweet spot with boundaries that allows you to love both others and yourself simultaneously.
Kylie Larson, MA, LPC