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“Yes” Doesn’t Count if you can’t say “No” – Why Clear Boundaries are Important in Intimate Relationships

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I found this over at Psychology Today:

Most people think of an ideal romantic relationship as a union of two inseparable beings forged into one heart, one mind, and one dream. If either partner has a conflicting desire, he or she too often does not express it. They consciously or unconsciously choose to protect the fantasy of perfect compatibility, but may not realize the limitations that are wedded to that decision.
Eventual conflicts are not as noticeable early when relationships are new. The joy of new discovery and lustful connection often eclipse any disagreements that might arise. Newly-in-love partners too often do not want to know anything about each other that could threaten the perfection they cherish. Both may choose to leave well enough alone even if the result is incomplete or inauthentic communication. In the void of unexpressed conflicts, the partners often want to maintain the illusion of a perfect match.

“He finishes my sentences before I even know what I’m going to say.”

“She anticipates what I want before I tell her.”

“We agree on everything. It’s amazing.”

“It’s so easy to be together. We love all the same things.”

Sadly, those constructed realities of perfect compatibility cannot sustain over time. People cannot feel genuinely loved if their partners are not aware of the other’s core feelings and desires. They can only keep renewing their love if they can face their conflicts openly and work through them.

That requires that both partners are willing to follow these six principles:

They are able to say what they need from their partners

They know what they are able to offer

They honestly share those thoughts and feelings

They listen to their partner’s needs without becoming defensive

They have or are willing to learn the skills to negotiate their differences

They respect each other’s conflicting desires

To make these principles work, partners must be clear from the beginning of their relationship to set clear boundaries that they both agree to honor. Boundaries are like the borders between countries. They can be barriers to communication and cooperation, or viable interfaces for exchanging ideas and resources.

When beautifully used in intimate relationships, they are symbolic lines of demarcation that help partners understand their differences while they seek whatever ways are necessary to authentically connect. Only the acceptance of those known similarities and differences can keep partners truly validating their mutual needs.

Healthy boundaries should be fluid and openly susceptible to changes by either partner during any time in their relationship. They hopefully know or are willing to learn what is personally important to them and make every effort to share those thoughts with each other. By working together over time, they learn to quickly recognize when they are in agreement, when they need to negotiate, and when they must turn down a request that could destroy their personal integrity.” Get more here: “Yes” Doesn’t Count if you can’t say “No” – Why Clear Boundaries are Important in Intimate Relationships | Psychology Today.

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Healthy Boundaries: A Good Practice

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Kristin Barton Cuthriell writes:

“Boundaries are those invisible lines that separate you from other people. When children grow up in families that practice healthy boundaries, these boundaries are typically passed down through generations. The same is true when individuals are raised in dysfunctional families that have no sense of healthy boundaries. These poor boundaries, too, are often passed down the generational line.

Poor boundaries are usually too rigid or too loose. Like a concrete wall, rigid boundaries keep people out. When a person is closed off with rigid boundaries, they do not allow themselves to become vulnerable, which makes true intimacy impossible.

People with loose boundaries have little fence or no fence at all. The separation between self and others is blurred. Individuals with loose boundaries do not have a clear sense of self. These people trust easily, disclose too much, have a difficult time setting limits, and often become enmeshed with others.

Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries. If you are aware that your personal boundaries are either too loose or too rigid, you can learn healthy boundaries.

The first step to change is recognizing that change is needed.  What you do not acknowledge, you do not change.

What is a healthy boundary? Take a look.” Get more here: Healthy Boundaries: A Good Practice – Let Life in Practices.

codependent no more

A Better Way

The following is an long excerpt from Melody Beattie’s book ‘Codependent no more’ that I stumbled across in my morning reading today:

DETACHMENT

It (detachment) is not detaching from the person whom we care about, but from the agony of involvement. -Al-Anon member

When I was trying to choose the topic for the first chapter in this section of the book, many subjects competed for first place. I chose detachment not because it is significantly more important than the other concepts. I selected it because it is an underlying concept. It is something we need to do frequently, as we strive to live happy lives. It is the goal of most recovery programs for codependents. And, it is also something we must do first-before we can do the other things we need to do. We cannot begin to work on ourselves, to live our own lives, feel our own feelings, and solve our own problems until we have detached from the object of our obsession. From my experiences (and those of others), it appears that even our Higher Power can’t do much with us until we have detached.

Attachment

When a codependent says, “I think I’m getting attached to you,” look out! He or she probably means it. Most codependents are attached to the people and problems in their environments. By “attachment,” I don’t mean normal feelings of liking people, being concerned about problems, or feeling connected to the world. Attachment is becoming overly-involved, sometimes hopelessly entangled.

Attachment can take several forms:

  • We may become excessively worried about, and preoccupied with, a problem or person (our mental energy is attached).
  • Or, we may graduate to becoming obsessed with and controlling of the people and problems in our environment (our mental, physical, and emotional energy is directed at the object of our obsession).
  • We may become reactionaries, instead of acting authentically of our own volition (our mental, emotional, and physical energy is attached).
  • We may become emotionally dependent on the people around us (now we’re really attached).
  • We may become caretakers (rescuers, enablers) to the people around us (firmly attaching ourselves to their need for us).

The problems with attachment are many. (In this chapter I will focus on worry and obsession. In following chapters I will cover the other forms of attachment.)

Overinvolvement of any sort can keep us in a state of chaos; it can keep the people around us in a state of chaos. If we’re focusing all our energies on people and problems, we have little left for the business of living our own lives. And, there is just so much worry and responsibility in the air. If we take it all on ourselves, there is none left for the people around us. It overworks us and underworks them. Furthermore, worrying about people and problems doesn’t help. It doesn’t solve problems, it doesn’t help other people, and it doesn’t help us. It is wasted energy.

“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a fact, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system,” wrote Dr. Wayne W. Dyer in
Your Erroneous Zones.

Worrying and obsessing keep us so tangled in our heads we can’t solve our problems. Whenever we become attached in these ways to someone or something, we become detached from ourselves. We lose touch with ourselves. We forfeit our power and ability to think, feel, act, and take care of ourselves. We lose control.

Obsession with another human being, or a problem, is an awful thing to be caught up in. Have you ever seen someone who is obsessed with someone or something? That person can talk about nothing else, can think of nothing else. Even if he appears to be listening when you talk, you know that person doesn’t hear you. His mind is tossing and turning, crashing and banging, around and around on an endless race- track of compulsive thought. He is preoccupied. He relates whatever you say, no matter how unrelated it actually is, to the object of his obsession. He says the same things, over and over, sometimes changing the wording slightly, sometimes using the same words. Nothing you say makes any difference. Even telling him to stop doesn’t help. He probably would if he could. The problem is he can’t (at that moment). He is bursting with the jarring energy that obsession is made of. He has a problem or a concern that is not only bothering him-it is controlling him.

Many of the people I’ve worked with in family groups have been that obsessed with people they care about. When I asked them what they were feeling, they told me what the other person was feeling. When I asked what they did, they told me what the other person had done. Their entire focus was on someone or something other than themselves. Some of them had spent years of their lives doing this-worrying about, reacting to, and trying to control other human beings. They were shells, some- times almost invisible shells, of people. Their energy was depleted- directed at someone else. They couldn’t tell me what they were feeling and thinking because they didn’t know. Their focus was not on themselves.

Maybe you’ve been obsessed with someone or something. Someone does or says something. A thought occurs to you. Something reminds you of a past event. A problem enters your awareness. Something happens or doesn’t happen. Or you sense something’s happening, but you’re not sure what. He doesn’t call, and he usually calls by now. He doesn’t answer the phone, and he should. It’s payday. In the past he always got drunk on payday. He’s only been sober three months. Will it happen again today? You may not know what, you may not know why, and you’re not sure when, but you know something bad-something terrible-has happened, is happening, or is about to happen.

It hits you in the stomach. The feeling fills you up-that gut-twisting, hand wringing anxiety that is so familiar to codependents. It is what causes us to do much of what we do that hurts ourselves; it is the substance worry and obsession feed upon. It is fear at its worst. Fear usually comes and goes, leaving us in flight, ready to fight, or just temporarily frightened. But anxiety hangs in there. It grips the mind, paralyzing it for all but its own purposes-an endless rehashing of the same useless thoughts. It is the fuel that propels us into controlling behaviors of all sorts. We can think of nothing but keeping a lid on things, controlling the problem, and making it go away; it is the stuff codependency is made of.

When you’re obsessed, you can’t get your mind off that person or that problem. You don’t know what you are feeling. You didn’t know what you were thinking. You’re not even sure what you should do, but by God, you should do something! And fast!

Worrying, obsessing, and controlling are illusions. They are tricks we play on ourselves. We feel like we are doing something to solve our problems, but we’re not. Many of us have reacted this way with justifiably good reason. We may have lived with serious, complicated problems that have disrupted our lives, and they would provoke any normal person to become anxious, upset, worried, and obsessed. We may love someone who is in trouble-someone who’s out of control. His or her problem may be alcoholism, an eating disorder, gambling, a mental or emotional problem, or any combination of these.
Some of us may be living with less serious problems, but they concern us anyway. People we love or care about may have mood swings. They may do things we wish they wouldn’t do. We may think he or she should do things differently, a better way, a way that we believe wouldn’t cause so many problems.

Out of habit, some of us may have developed an attitude of attachment-of worrying, reacting, and obsessively trying to control. Maybe we have lived with people and through events that were out of control.

Maybe obsessing and controlling is the way we kept things in balance or temporarily kept things from getting worse. And then we just kept on doing it. Maybe we’re afraid to let go, because when we let go in the past, terrible, hurtful things happened.
Maybe we’ve been attached to people-living their lives for and through them-for so long that we don’t have any life of our own left to live. It’s safer to stay attached. At least we know we’re alive if we’re reacting. At least we’ve got something to do if we’re obsessing or controlling.

For various reasons codependents tend to attach themselves to problems and people. Never mind that worrying isn’t solving anything. Never mind that those problems rarely have solutions. Never mind that they’re so obsessed they can’t read a book, watch television, or go for a walk. Never mind that their emotions are constantly in turmoil over what she said or didn’t say, what she did or didn’t do, or what she will do next. Never mind that the things we’re doing aren’t helping anyone! No matter what the cost, we will hang on.
We will grit our teeth, clutch the rope, and grab more tightly than ever.

Some of us may not even be aware we’ve been holding on so tightly. Some of us may have convinced ourselves we have to hang on this tightly. We believe there is simply no other choice but to react to this particular problem or person in this obsessive manner. Frequently, when I suggest to people that they detach from a person or problem, they recoil in horror. “Oh, no!” they say. “I could never do that. I love him, or her, too much. I care too much to do that. This problem or person is too important to me. I have to stay attached!”

My answer to that is, “WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO?”

Detachment

I’ve got news-good news. We don’t “have to.” There’s a better way. It’s called “detachment.” It may be scary at first, but it will ultimately work better for everyone involved.

Exactly what is detachment? What am I asking of you? (The term, as you may have guessed, is more jargon.)

First, let’s discuss what detachment isn’t. Detachment is not a cold, hostile withdrawal; a resigned, despairing acceptance of anything life and people throw our way; a robotical walk through life oblivious to, and totally unaffected by people and problems; a Pollyanna-like ignorant bliss; a shirking of our true responsibilities to ourselves and others; a severing of our relationships. Nor is it a removal of our love and concern, although sometimes these ways of detaching might be the best we can do, for the moment.

Ideally, detachment is releasing, or detaching from, a person or problem in love. We mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically disengage ourselves from unhealthy (and frequently painful) entanglements with another person’s life and responsibilities, and from problems we cannot solve, according to a handout, entitled “Detachment,” that has been passed around Al-Anon groups for years.

Detachment is based on the premises that each person is responsible for himself, that we can’t solve problems that aren’t ours to solve, and that worrying doesn’t help. We adopt a policy of keeping our hands off other people’s responsibilities and tend to our own instead. If people have created some disasters for themselves, we allow them to face their own proverbial music. We allow people to be who they are. We give them the freedom to be responsible and to grow. And we give ourselves that same freedom. We live our own lives to the best of our ability. We strive to ascertain what it is we can change and what we cannot change. Then we stop trying to change things we can’t. We do what we can to solve a problem, and then we stop fretting and stewing. If we cannot solve a problem and we have done what we could, we learn to live with, or in spite of, that problem. And we try to live happily-focusing heroically on what is good in our lives today, and feeling grateful for that. We learn the magical lesson that making the most of what we have turns it into more.

Detachment involves ‘present moment living”-living in the here and now. We allow life to happen instead of forcing and trying to control it. We relinquish regrets over the past and fears about the future. We make the most of each day.

Detachment also involves accepting reality-the facts. It requires faith-in ourselves, in God, in other people, and in the natural order and destiny of things in this world. We believe in the rightness and appropriateness of each moment. We release our burdens and cares, and give ourselves the freedom to enjoy life in spite of our unsolved problems. We trust that all is well in spite of the conflicts. We trust that Some- one greater than ourselves knows, has ordained, and cares about what is happening. We understand that this Someone can do much more to solve the problem than we can. So we try to stay out of His way and let Him do it. In time, we know that all is well because we see how the strangest (and sometimes most painful) things work out for the best and for the benefit of everyone.

Judi Hollis wrote of detachment in a section on codependency in her book, Fat Is a Family Affair. There she described detachment as “a healthy neutrality.”

Detaching does not mean we don’t care. It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy. We stop creating all this chaos in our minds and environments. When we are not anxiously and compulsively thrashing about, we become able to make good decisions about how to love people, and how to solve our problems. We become free to care and to love in ways that help others and don’t hurt ourselves.

The rewards from detachment are great: serenity; a deep sense of peace; the ability to give and receive love in self-enhancing, energizing ways; and the freedom to find real solutions to our problems. We find the freedom to live our own lives without excessive feelings of guilt about, or responsibility toward others. Sometimes detachment even motivates and frees people around us to begin to solve their problems. We stop worrying about them, and they pick up the slack and finally start worrying about themselves. What a grand plan! We each mind our own business.

Earlier, I described a person caught in the entanglement of obsessions and worry. I have known many people who have had to (or have chosen to) live with serious problems such as an alcoholic spouse who never sobered up, a severely handicapped child, and a teenager he!!-bent on destroying himself through drugs and criminal behavior. These people learned to live with, and in spite of, their problems. They grieved for their losses, then found a way to live their lives not in resignation, martyrdom, and despair, but with enthusiasm, peace, and a true sense of gratitude for that which was good. They took care of their actual responsibilities. They gave to people, they helped people, and they loved people. But they also gave to and loved themselves. They held themselves in high esteem. They didn’t do these things perfectly, or without effort, or instantly. But they strived to do these things, and they learned to do them well.

I owe a debt of gratitude to these people. They taught me that detachment was possible. They showed me it could work. I would like to pass that same hope on to you. It is my wish that you will find other people to pass that hope on to, for detachment is real and thrives with reinforcement and nurturing.

Detachment is both an act and an art. It is a way of life. I believe it is also a gift. And it will be given to those who seek it.

How do we detach? How do we extricate our emotions, mind, body, and spirit from the agony of entanglement? As best we can. And, probably, a bit clumsily at first. An old A.A. and AI-Anon saying suggests a three-part formula called “HOW”: Honesty, Openness, and Willingness to try.

In the chapters ahead, I will discuss some specific concepts for detaching from certain forms of attachment. Many of the other concepts I will discuss later will lead to detachment. You will have to decide how these ideas apply to you and your particular situation and then find your own path. With a little humility, surrender, and effort on your part, I believe you can do it. I believe detachment can become a habitual response, in the same manner that obsessing, worrying, and controlling became habitual responses-by practice. You may not do it perfectly, but no one has. However, and at whatever pace, you practice detachment in your life, I believe it will be right for you. I hope you will be able to detach with love for the person or persons you are detaching from. I think it is better to do everything in an attitude of love. However, for a variety of reasons, we can’t always do that. If you can’t detach in love, it is my opinion that it is better to detach in anger rather than to stay attached. If we are detached, we are in a better position to work on (or through) our resentful emotions. If we’re attached, we probably won’t do anything other than stay upset.

When should we detach? When we can’t stop thinking, talking about, or worrying about someone or something; when our emotions are churning and boiling; when we feel like we have to do something about someone because we can’t stand it another minute; when we’re hanging on by a thread, and it feels like that single thread is frayed; and when we believe we can no longer live with the problem we’ve been trying to live with. It is time to detach! You will learn to recognize when detachment is advisable. A good rule of thumb is: You need to detach most when it seems the least likely or possible thing to do.
I’ll close this chapter with a true story. One night about midnight my telephone rang. I was in bed and wondered, as I picked up the receiver, who was calling me at that hour. I thought it had to be an emergency. In a way it was an emergency. It was a stranger. She had been calling various friends all evening, trying to find some kind of consolation. Apparently, she hadn’t been able to find it. Someone had given her someone else’s phone number, that person had given her someone else’s phone number, and the last person had suggested she call me.

Immediately upon introducing herself, the woman exploded in a tirade. Her husband used to go to Alcoholics Anonymous. He had separated from her, and now he was seeing another woman because he wanted to “find himself.” Furthermore, before he left her, he had been acting really crazy and didn’t go to meetings. And she wondered, isn’t he acting crazy now by dating a woman who is that much younger than him?

I was speechless at first, then found it hard to find a chance to talk. She went on and on. Finally she asked, “Don’t you think he’s sick? Don’t you think he’s acting crazy? Don’t you think something should be done about him?”

“That could be,” I replied. “But obviously I can’t do it, and neither can you. I’m more concerned about you. What are you feeling? What do you think? What do you need to do to take care of yourself?”

I shall say the same thing to you, dear reader. I know you have problems. I understand that many of you are deeply grieved over, and concerned about, certain people in your lives. Many of them may be destroying themselves, you, and your family, right before your eyes. But I can’t do anything to control those people; and you probably can’t either. If you could, you probably would have done it by now.

Detach. Detach in love, or detach in anger, but strive for detachment. I know it’s difficult, but it will become easier with practice. If you can’t let go completely, try to “hang on loose.” Relax. Sit back. Now, take a deep breath. The focus is on you.
Stuff from the old EOR

Detachment is…

  • Ability to allow people, places, or things the freedom to be themselves.
  • Holding back from the need to rescue, save, or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional, or irrational.
  • Giving another person “the space” to be him or herself.
  • Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
  • Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
  • Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
  • Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
  • Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
  • Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern, and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing, or controlling.
  • Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
  • Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on to beyond a reasonable and rational point.
  • Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
  • Ability to allow people to be who they “really are” rather than who you “want them to be.”
  • Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

In order to become detached from a person, place, or thing you need to:

  1. Establish emotional boundaries between you and the person, place, or thing with whom you have become overly enmeshed or dependent on.
  2. Take back power over your feelings from persons, places, or things which in the past you have given power to affect your emotional well being.
  3. “Hand over” to your Higher Power the persons, places, and things which you would like to see changed but which you cannot change on your own.
  4. Make a commitment to your personal recovery and self-health by admitting to yourself and your Higher Power that there is only one person you can change and that is yourself and that for your serenity you need to let go of the “need” to fix, change, rescue, or heal other persons, places, and things.
  5. Recognize that it is “sick” and “unhealthy” to believe that you have the power or control enough to fix, correct, change, heal, or rescue another person, place, or thing if they do not want to get better nor see a need to change.
  6. Recognize that you need to be healthy yourself and be “squeaky clean” and a “role model” of health in order for another to recognize that there is something’ , wrong” with them that needs changing.
  7. Continue to own your feelings as your responsibility and not blame others for the way you feel.
  8. Accept personal responsibility for your own unhealthy actions, feelings, and thinking and cease looking for the persons, places, or things you can blame for your unhealthiness.
  9. Accept that addicted fixing, rescuing, enabling are’ , sick” behaviors and strive to extinguish these behaviors in your relationship to persons, places, and things.
  10. Accept that many people, places, and things in your past and current life are “irrational,” “unhealthy,” and “toxic” influences in your life, them honestly for what they truly are, and stop minimizing their negative impact in your life.
  11. Reduce the impact of guilt and other irrational beliefs which impede your ability to develop detachment in your life.
  12. Practice “letting go” of the need to correct, fix, or make better the persons, places and things in life over which you have no control or power to change.

Source: Detachment – Cyber Recovery Social Network Forums – Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help/Support

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Family Buttons

Melody Beattie writes:

“I was thirty five years old the first time I spoke up to my mother and refused to buy into her games and manipulation. I was terribly frightened and almost couldn’t believe I was doing this. I found I didn’t have to be meant. I didn’t have to start an argument. But I could say what I wanted and needed to say to take care of myself. I learned I could love and honor myself, and still care about my mother – the way I wanted to – not the way she wanted me to.” –Anonymous

Who knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Who, besides family members, do we give such power?

No matter how long we or our family members have been recovering, relationships with family members can be provocative.

One telephone conversation can put us in an emotional and psychological tailspin that lasts for hours or days.

Sometimes, it gets worse when we begin recovery because we become even more aware of our reactions and our discomfort. That’s uncomfortable, but good. It is by beginning this process of awareness and acceptance that we change, grow, and heal.

The process of detaching in love from family members can take years. So can the process of learning how to react in a more effective way. We cannot control what they do or try to do, but we can gain some sense of control over how we choose to react.

Stop trying to make them act or treat us any differently. Unhook from their system by refusing to try to change or influence them.

Their patterns, particularly their patterns with us, are their issues. How we react, or allow these patterns to influence us, is our issue. How we take care of ourselves is our issue.

We can love our family and still refuse to buy into their issues. We can love our family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control, or produce guilt in us.

We can take care of ourselves with family members without feeling guilty. We can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. We can set the boundaries we need and want to set with family members without being disloyal to the family.

We can learn to love our family without forfeiting love and respect for ourselves.

Today, help me start practicing self care with family members. Help me know that I do not have to allow their issues to control my life, my day, or my feelings. Help me know it’s okay to have all my feelings about family members, without guilt or shame.

Source: Detachment – Cyber Recovery Social Network Forums – Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help/Support

Go to the source for additional self-care thoughts on attachment and detachment.

storify

Just in case you missed this for 7/2/2012

  1. Maybe you know the drill here, maybe you don’t. Every day I share the best of what I find in my Google Reader that day. It’s amazing to me that even though I pull content from all over the internet, frequently it seems the Universe is acting in concert to emphasize a particular lesson. Today’s lesson? Starting over. Beginning. Letting go. Here’s the best of what I found this morning…
  2. “It’s easy to get lost in endless speculation. So today, release the need to know why things happen as they do. Instead, ask for the insight to recognize what you’re meant to learn.”

    - Caroline Myss

no trespassing

How to Create Healthy Boundaries

“An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.” Harriet Lerner

Setting boundaries is essential if we want to be both physically and emotionally healthy.

Creating healthy boundaries is empowering. By recognizing the need to set and enforce limits, you protect your self-esteem, maintain self-respect, and enjoy healthy relationships.

Unhealthy boundaries cause emotional pain that can lead to dependency, depression, anxiety, and even stress-induced physical illness. A lack of boundaries is like leaving the door to your home unlocked: anyone, including unwelcome guests, can enter at will. On the other hand, having too rigid boundaries can lead to isolation, like living in a locked-up castle surrounded by a mote. No one can get in, and you can’t get out.

What Are Boundaries?

The easiest way to think about a boundary is a property line. We have all seen “No Trespassing” signs, which send a clear message that if you violate that boundary, there will be a consequence. This type of boundary is easy to picture and understand because you can see the sign and the border it protects. Personal boundaries can be harder to define because the lines are invisible, can change, and are unique to each individual.

Personal boundaries, just like the “No Trespassing” sign, define where you end and others begin and are determined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others. Personal boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behavior, and interaction are acceptable.” Get more here: How to Create Healthy Boundaries « Positively Positive.

six {more} strategies for staying sane

Gemma Stone writes:

Last week, I chatted about the six strategies I use daily to help me from slipping into the darkness of mental health struggles. I actually use twelve strategies daily (I try, anyway). Here are the other six ::

Media. I am super strict with the type of media I expose myself to. I went on a negative media fast a few years ago, and it made all the difference.

Giving. I focus on giving throughout the day. A smile, a cup of coffee, passing on a book, sending a loving e-mail, writing a thank-you card, making a donation. Giving feels good.

Fun. My “purpose” is to have fun inspiring myself and others to live from love rather than fear. I tried living my purpose without the fun part and, well, it was no fun. So now I make plans for fun and giggles.

Boundaries. Saying “no” to what doesn’t deeply matter means I get to say “yes” to what does. Life is full, right? I know now that if I’m going to live fully, it means I have to set boundaries that honor who I am and the life I want to live.

Nature. Every day I chill with Mother Nature. It takes the edge off.

Self-reflection. When stuff comes up, I let myself get into it. If I don’t, I know it comes up in another (much less desirable) way. I feel what I am feeling and explore why I’m feeling that way

That’s it! My twelve secrets to staying sane.

Remember, there is so much to know and so much truth to discover. The direction my feet take and what speaks to my heart may not be right for you. I share my spark of truth with you to guide you through the dark, but not to tell you what to see.

Love,

via six {more} strategies for staying sane.

I feel more sane already…

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Figuring out God’s will

Melody Beattie writes:

It was a stressful time in my life. I didn’t know what to do. I had pressing business decisions to make, and painful relationship issues to face. Everything felt like a mess.

I gathered up a few favorite books, the Bible, a journal, and some clothes. Then I headed for the mountains, a resort that was a favorite place of mine to hide out in and gather my thoughts.

I told myself, “I’m going to stay in there. Write in my journal. Pray. And meditate. I’m not coming out until I know what to do.”

After forty-eight hours of writing about my problems, praying about my problems, and meditating about my problems, I remembered something a friend had said to me.

“What are you doing?” he had asked.

“I’m trying to surrender to God’s will.”

“No you’re not, you’re trying to figure it out.”

Within six months, each of the problems I was wrestling with worked themselves out. I was either guided into an action that naturally felt right at the time, or a solution came to me. The immediate solution to each problem was the same: let go. Just surrender to the situation taking place. Sometimes, what we need to do next is surrender.

If you don’t like the word surrender, try calling it making peace.

God, help me surrender to your will, especially when I don’t know what to do next.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 25, 2012.

storify

Just in case you missed this for 6//25/2012

  1. “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”

    - John C. Maxwell

  2. It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
    —Ursula K. LeGuin
  3. A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.
    –Confucius
  4. Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it–immediately.
    –Stephen Covey
  5. Left to itself, nature takes ordinary garbage and transforms it into useful nutrients that help sustain life. It’s usually poor human action that makes garbage a problem.

    Our mental and emotional garbage takes the forms of bad memories, festering resentments, and useless regrets. We waste time berating ourselves and others about bad decisions and experiences that are behind us.

    The magic of the 12 Step program is that we can use it to transform this mental garbage into useful experience. A past mistake can become as asset when we share it with others. Pain and suffering can teach a lesson that helps all of us to grow. By forgiving others, a resentment can be turned into a friendship.

    I’ll resolve today not to worry about garbage any longer than it takes to identify it and release it to my Higher Power for transformation.

  6. Quote: When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself.
    —Louis Nizer

    It’s so easy to blame others. Others are always making mistakes we can hide behind. That’s what blame is—hiding. When we blame others for our mistakes, we’re trying to hide our character defects.

    It’s nobody else’s fault that we act the way we do. It’s our fault. We’re responsible for our actions.

    And with the help of our Higher Power, we can change. We can turn over our character defects. Over time, we’re not afraid to learn about ourselves—even the parts we don’t like—because we want to know ourselves better.

    Prayer for the Day: I pray for help in facing my character defects.

    Action for the Day: I’ll think about the past week. I’ll list times I’ve used blame to hide from reality.

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Charity

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

Melody Beattie writes:

We need healthy boundaries about receiving money, and we need healthy boundaries about giving money.

Some of us give money for inappropriate reasons.

We may be ashamed because we have money and don’t believe we deserve it. We may belong to an organization that uses shame as a form of control to coerce us out of our money that the organization wants.

We can get hooked into giving money to our children, family members, or friends because we have earned or un­earned guilt. We allow ourselves to be financially black­mailed, sometimes by the people we love.

This is not money freely given, or given in health.

Some of us give money out of a sense of caretaking. We may have exaggerated feelings of responsibility for others, including financial responsibility.

We may be giving simply because we have not learned to own our power to say no when the answer is no.

Some of us give because we hope or believe people will love us if we take care of them financially.

We do not have to give money to anyone. Giving money is our choice. We do not have to allow ourselves to be victimized, manipulated, or coerced out of our money. We are financially responsible for ourselves. Part of being healthy is allowing those around us be financially responsible for themselves.

We do not have to be ashamed about having the money that we earn; we deserve to have the money we have been given — whatever the amount, without feeling obligated to give it all away, or guilty because others want what we have.

Charity is a blessing. Giving is part of healthy living. We can learn to develop healthy boundaries around giving.

Today, I will strive to begin developing healthy boundaries about giving money. I understand that giving is my choice.

via June 25: Charity | Language of Letting Go.