[00:00:00] Hey, welcome to today's TLC. Whether you found this podcast on my website, through the emails I send, or simply from a friend. I'm glad that you've decided to add some TLC today. If you don't already know, my name is Stephanie and I call myself The Light Coach because I'm passionate about thinking, feeling, and living light.
[00:00:25] Mental and emotional health can often feel heavy or confusing, and my goal is to share knowledge with you to help change that.
[00:00:33] One of the areas that I find people have the most confusion—or honestly drama about—is boundaries. But don't worry, I got you. Today, I'm going to share three simple tricks to help you create useful boundaries.
[00:00:50] Before we jump into those tricks, let's get out of the way some of the myths about boundaries.
[00:00:56] *Myth number one:* boundaries are to control other people's behavior.
[00:01:03] You might be saying to yourself, I don't believe that myth.
[00:01:06] But I can't tell you how many times I have coached a client where they come to me, so sure that their boundaries are healthy, and when we dig, the true motivation is because they want to control someone else's behavior.
[00:01:19] And if that worked. I'd be on board because I'm pretty good at reading people and it would be awesome if I could set rules that would help them make me happy or feel safe. But one of God's greatest gifts to us is the gift of agency. And although that can be really frustrating at times, you really can't control what other people do.
[00:01:40] That leads right into *myth number two:* a boundary is an ultimatum or a threat.
[00:01:47] When people believe myth, number one (that a boundary is to control someone) the person on the other side of that relationship will often interpret it as an ultimatum or a threat. This has given boundaries a pretty bad name.
[00:02:02] I saw this time and time again when I was helping loved ones of people caught in addiction. They would get really clear on what safety looks like and then present that to their significant other and expect them to follow their plan.
[00:02:17] Although, that sounds nice on paper, it can really damage relationships when we approach boundaries this way. It ends up pushing you away from the people around you and leaves you more isolated.
[00:02:30] *That leads us to myth number three:* boundaries are to protect you from other people.
[00:02:37] Before I jump into why this is a myth, I first want to validate you for just a minute. I totally understand why you might be feeling like you want to push somebody away. Or push somebody out of your life. There are so many stories that I have heard that have brought me to tears, because of the neglect, the abuse, and the traumatic experiences that so many people have been through in their lives. And you might be one of those people.
[00:03:08] So first I want to honor you, honor that pain that you may have experienced.
[00:03:14] Naturally when we feel hurt, we want to push people away so that we can create a sense of safety. But here's the problem with this myth, if pushing someone away is what's creating safety, then what happens when they don't honor that boundary? We end up feeling like there's nowhere safe to go.
[00:03:38] And that can be a really overwhelming and helpless feeling. So, I don't want you to end up in that place. I don't want you to believe these three myths:
[00:03:48] *1) That we can control other people's behaviors, 2) that there needs to be an energy of ultimatum or threat, 3) or that we need to push people away so that we can have safety...*
[00:03:57] because this approach to boundaries leaves us feeling even more out of control.
[00:04:04] So what's the alternative.
[00:04:06] _Luckily, it's a lot simpler than all that mess._
[00:04:11] Here are those three tricks that you've been waiting for:
[00:04:14] *Trick number one: a useful boundary will always focus on you. *
[00:04:20] The only thing that you can ever control is yourself, so you have to start by focusing there. There's a really simple formula that will help you implement this trick.
[00:04:32] _Anytime you're creating a boundary. Outline it like this: _
[00:04:37] _If __________ happens, then I will __________. _
[00:04:42] That's it. That's the formula for a useful boundary.
[00:04:47] This approach brings the focus back to you and what you actually have influence on:_ what you do._
[00:04:54] It also gives you a plan so that you don't feel stuck or overwhelmed when something happens that might feel a little unsafe or unloving to you.
[00:05:05] Now I want you to zoom out for just a minute, because oftentimes in mental and emotional health, we start talking about boundaries and we get really focused on ourselves. And it is important that we create a safe space that we feel like we can thrive.
[00:05:20] But, if you get really honest, I think deep down, you really also care about the people who are around you. That you love them and you want to share your light with them along the way.
[00:05:32] You might be thinking to yourself, "wait a minute, Stephanie, you just told me that trick one is to focus on me." And that's true, but like most things in life there's two sides to this coin. The first side is focusing on you and what you can control: yourself.
[00:05:52] The other side is *trick number two: useful boundaries are full of love. *
[00:05:59] Love is the most powerful motivator that anyone can have. When you feel love, you'll show up in a way that honors what you value; in a way that is kind to yourself and to those around you.
[00:06:14] Remembering this trick will help you clean up the mess about trying to control someone else or making it a threat that isolate you from them. When you remember your love for yourself and for them the boundaries will be clear, simple, and kind.
[00:06:33] This trick also helps avoid one of the main mistakes that people make with boundaries: making a boundary in the moment. Reactive boundaries usually don't end well.
[00:06:45] The whole point of a boundary in the first place was to help you live your best life; to create space for your love and your light to grow; to actually have the results that you were hoping for in the first place.
[00:07:02] That leads us right into *trick number three: check the results of your boundary. *
[00:07:09] It's so easy for us to want someone to tell us what boundary we need to set or whether our boundary is a "healthy one." But really the best way to know is to just see what it's helping create in your life.
[00:07:24] Do you feel that peace when you think about your boundary? Are you feeling like the boundary you've set is bringing you closer to who you want to be and closer to the people that you love?
[00:07:37] Remember, these are results for you. Not someone else's behavior change. A result of an unhealthy boundary I might be that you feel frustrated because you're trying to control something that you can't control. Or maybe you're feeling isolated because it's pushing you away from other people. Look at the results, the boundary is creating in your life.
[00:08:03] Because you know what? It really doesn't matter what the textbooks say or what best practices are around boundaries. If it's not useful to you, then drop it.
[00:08:13] You get to decide what your journey looks like.
[00:08:18] No matter what anyone says (me included) the tips and the tricks and the tools—they're all just options for you to find what fits for your life. So be mindful when you look at boundaries. There is no perfect way to do it. These are just simple reminders to help you along the way.
[00:08:42] Now that you know, some of the myths and the tricks about boundaries, I hope you will look at your life and find places that boundaries will be useful to you. Because they can feel very empowering when you keep these in mind.
[00:08:56] As you were exploring your boundaries, *there are two different types of boundaries that you can set: internal and external boundaries.*
[00:09:06] An internal boundary is what's going on inside of you—in your mind and in your heart. An external boundary is how you're going to interact with the things outside of you (externally).
[00:09:22] Remembering to distinguish between those two things can really help you explore the different ways that you can set a boundary.
[00:09:29] Okay, so now let's zoom out for a second, because if you remember at the beginning of this episode, my whole goal was to take boundaries and break it down into a way that felt simpler and more doable for you.
[00:09:44] *So I have boiled down everything that I taught you about boundaries today into one simple word: *_useful_.
[00:09:54] When you are thinking about boundaries, remember that they need to be focused on you and they need to be full of love and the result will be useful. _"YOUs-FULL."_ That word encompasses everything that I shared.
[00:10:13] Because that will make boundaries useful to you and they will be useful to those around you. Internally and externally.
[00:10:23] *Let's look at some examples of "YOUs-FULL" boundaries.*
[00:10:27] A really great place to practice boundaries is when you are driving in traffic. A lot of people let their minds in their hearts be kind of reactive in traffic and that is a place where we can have both internal and external boundaries that will be useful.
[00:10:43] _For example, an internal boundary will look like this:_ if someone cuts me off in traffic, then I will purposely give myself space to feel fear or frustration without allowing my mind to jump to judgment, blame, or storytelling. Taking time beforehand to commit to yourself that that's how you're going to show up will then allow you to hold external boundaries.
[00:11:15] _Here's an example of an external boundary in traffic:_ if someone cuts me off, then I will not use my body or my car to act unkindly to anyone else.
[00:11:28] Notice that both the internal and external boundary was all focused about what you can do and not about anybody else.
[00:11:38] _Let's take another example that's maybe a little bit more charged:_ a child comes home after curfew.
[00:11:44] Remembering the myths and the tricks that I shared to create "YOUs-FULL" boundaries, what would be a boundary that you could put in place in this situation?
[00:11:57] If you can pause the episode and think through an internal or external boundary that you could put in place.
[00:12:04] Hopefully you took a moment to think through some different options. And, honestly, I hope what you came up with is different than what I share. Because that will help you see that there really is no perfect way to put down a boundary.
[00:12:17] Here are some boundaries that I thought might be "YOUs-FULL" in this situation.
[00:12:22] _An internal boundary in response to curfew might look like this:_ if my child comes home after our set curfew time, then I will stay in the moment and not make it mean anything about our relationship or my parenting. Notice that that invites me to be in charge of my mind and not make the situation bigger than it needs to be.
[00:12:47] _An external boundary may look like this: _if my child comes home after curfew, then I will take the keys to the car and give them back after a certain amount of time or after I see behaviors that earn that trust back.
[00:13:04] An important thing to note here is that whatever consequence you choose in a situation like this is not motivated from control, but to honor the value that created the boundary in the first place.
[00:13:19] The result of those types of boundaries we'll then give more of a connected, safe, nurturing place for your child to learn and grow.
[00:13:28] All right, let's do one last example to help you know how to create useful boundaries.
[00:13:34] A lot of the women that I have worked with want to talk about boundaries for their spouse. Boundaries with a spouse can feel a little bit trickier and have a little bit more drama because there's no parent child relationship. A loving, connected relationship with your spouse means you are equal partners.
[00:13:55] So, how do you put down boundaries when you are treating your partner as an equal?
[00:14:01] Well, if you remember to make them YOUs-FULL—about you and full of love—then they will give you useful results.
[00:14:10] _Here's an example_ where the same core frustration sounds something like this: _"When I'm talking to my husband and he's not really interested, he'll pick up his phone and start checking it while I'm talking to him. How can I set down a boundary that will make him talk to me?"_
[00:14:26] Now first did you catch the myths in that sentence?
[00:14:30] Inherent in the question was how to control the husband. Despite what we may believe, our goal is actually not to control our husbands.
[00:14:41] Our goal is to show up authentic to the light inside of us. So instead of trying to control him, what could be a useful boundary in this situation?
[00:14:51] _Here's an option for an internal goal:_ when my husband checks his phone while we're talking, then I will say some affirmations in my mind before responding to him. This boundary will help you get to a place of love before you speak.
[00:15:09] Here are some examples of affirmations you could repeat:
[00:15:13] _I am in charge of my experience. _
[00:15:17] _I want to feel connected to my husband because I love him. _
[00:15:21] _I have the right to share my feelings with love. _
[00:15:25] _My husband is not in charge of my feelings. I am. _
[00:15:30] These empowering statements can help bring you back to focusing on the type of wife you want to be.
[00:15:38] _Then, an external boundary could look like this:_* *when my husband checks his phone while I'm talking to him, then (with a clear heart and mind) I will invite him to put his phone down or ask him if there's a better time that we can chat.
[00:15:56] Notice that a simple invitation like that sets you both up for success. Blame, resentment, frustration, control, doesn't get you the results in your relationship that you're hoping for. You're wanting to connect with your spouse. That's why you're feeling frustrated. You don't feel like they're available to connect with you.
[00:16:17] Lecturing him or fighting him in that moment will not get you that connection. It will not give you _useful results—_ results that come from boundaries focused on what you really actually can control. And this is freeing my friend. Because when you use useful boundaries, you have so much power. You stop trying to control the people around you. You are focused on what you can influence and you give the responsibility of other people's actions back to them.
[00:16:53] You don't have to change anything about what anyone else is doing. I promise you, as you practice useful boundaries, you will invite a light into your relationships that will transform your life.
[00:17:09] *Here's today's TLC:* find ways to simplify your life with useful boundaries.
[00:17:17] This could look like dropping boundaries that aren't useful and starting fresh by simplifying your relationship with boundaries. It truly will revolutionize your relationships in your life. With you and with those around you.
[00:17:33] You've got this, my friend. Mental and emotional health really doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can practice this one simple boundary at a time. Just one.
[00:17:45] As you do, it will ripple through your life in ways you don't even know are possible.
[00:17:51] Keep shining my friend. I believe in you.
[00:17:55] If you want to learn more about how to think light, feel light and live light, then hop on my website, www.thelightcoach.com to schedule a free intro session and explore what's possible for you. I promise you it'll be an adventure that you will never forget.