How do you get an agreement on a boundary? Boundaries don’t exist unless you have an agreement. Otherwise, it’s just information you’ve given somebody about what you desire and/or an ultimatum. This is part three in a series of how to make healthy and strong boundaries that work for everyone in your life. Today I’m going to talk to you about getting agreement.If you’ve listened to the past two podcasts, then you know that I’ve had you check out what is not working for you in part two, and begin to get articulate in the fact of what is it that’s not working? Someone’s late or getting work emails on the weekend, or maybe it’s something your kid is doing or the way they’re talking to you that you need to solve, or maybe it’s an agreement with your husband on what you’re going to do around the house. Maybe even it’s a boundary you’re setting with yourself about something that you’re not going to do. Boundaries are self-care. It’s something that you need to do to take care of yourself. In part two of this podcast, I recommended that you discover what it is that you truly want. We want you to feel good about the boundary and be able to be open in your internal guidance system in order to ask for it. If you don’t know what your internal guidance system is, go to zeninamoment.com, where I walk you through an exercise to feel your internal guidance system…It’s something you can actually physically feel…and I tell you more about what it is and how to use it there.
In the meantime, if you have been studying this, you know that what I’m talking about is feeling open inside, feeling a relaxed sense of self between your throat and your upper solar plexus area, that place being calm and centered. Once you’ve discovered what it is that you need, what you’re going to ask for, and you are open about it, the key is now to go and have a conversation with the person or people that you need to set the boundary with. Here’s the thing. You need to number one, state what it is that’s happening. It may look like, “Hey, I’m noticing that you are sending me work emails on the weekends, and I have a policy that I don’t work when I’m with my family. I would appreciate it very much if you would hold the emails until either Sunday night or deliver them on Monday morning, because it’s something that I don’t even want to be having in the back of my mind. I want to be completely present with my family. I have just been noticing that you have been sending a lot of work emails. I understand that you like to work on the weekends. That’s great, but it doesn’t really work for me. I’d like to know if you would be able to please either send them all on Friday or on Monday,” whatever it is that works for you.
For me, I am good getting them on Sunday night, because I’m already getting ready to go back into work mode. For me personally, I’m good with getting some emails on Sunday night so I can start getting back into my groove. If that doesn’t work for you, maybe it’s Monday morning. My point is this: you got to figure out what’s going to work for you. Another one could be setting a boundary around gas in the car. It’s like, “Hey, sweetheart, I noticed that you are not putting gas in the car. You’re bringing it home, and the tank is almost empty.” Then on Monday morning as I’m heading off to work, I have to stop and fill up with gas in order to take off. That extra seven or eight minutes that I have to put into that is actually causing me a big problem with traffic. I want to make a request of you to please notice where the car is fuel-wise before you bring it home, and please try to more often fill it up for me. I’d like that.”
Here’s the thing. A boundary doesn’t exist unless you get agreement from the other person. You can’t hold somebody to something if they don’t agree to it. You can’t just state this. You have to say, “Will that work for you? Does that work for you?” The other thing is you have to be open to them countering it. They may have a reason why they can’t comply with your boundary. Then you go into negotiation about what’s going to work so that it works well for both of you. Now, just because it opens your IGS, don’t get hooked up on having to have it your way. You getting to an opening is a place where you start the conversation. Someone may be really easy like, “Yeah, that’s no problem. I hadn’t thought about it. I love working on the weekends. I’m busy in the office all week long. I love getting stuff done. Hadn’t thought about it. I will save all my emails and send them off to you on Monday morning. That works great for me.” Or they say, “I like to know that I get this stuff done. I’m checking stuff off my list on the weekends. Is it possible at all that you create a folder on your desktop to where they just automatically go there, and I can still send you emails on the weekend?” You may say, No, that doesn’t work for me, because I see that folder piling up of emails coming in, and it still stresses me out and takes me away from being present with my family.” You go back and forth until you figure out what works for both of you.
Now, the reason why it’s really important to get agreement is because if you haven’t gotten agreement, if the boundary is broken, you can’t hold them to it. You can’t just tell somebody, “Hey, I told you to put gas in the car,” or “Hey, I told you not to send emails.” They’re like, “Yeah, well, I didn’t agree to that.” You have to have an agreement. If they do, you’re like, “Honey, I noticed this morning again that you didn’t fill the car up with gas. I had to stop again, and it made me have trouble getting through traffic, that extra eight minutes. I’m pushed to get out the door as it is with the kids and everything. What can we do to have you remember doing that?” Your husband or your wife may go, “D’oh! Right. I got to do that. I need to make that happen.” It may take a couple times of reminding…People are habitual creatures…but you have something that you both agreed upon to go back to.
The key here is getting agreement and feeling good about it with both of you. This is just a way to communicate. I want to encourage you that… If you listened to the last podcast, part two, and you found a few things in your life, and you’ve been able to look and see what you really, truly want, I want to encourage you to…You can even start a boundary journal…start clearing these things out, cleaning up places where your boundaries have been maybe sloppy, where you’re having conversations in your head about people, or you’re frustrated, you’re angry, but you’re not saying anything. When we don’t set our own healthy boundaries, we lose intimacy in our life. We lose our sense of self and authenticity. We isolate ourselves from the people around us, because we’re upset with them. We have withholds. We have things that we’re withholding from them. Those withholds show up as having a charge or a trigger when we see them. We start getting frustrated or upset. We snap.
There’s ways in which if we don’t hold healthy boundaries with our children, we aren’t teaching them how to have healthy boundaries. We are not teaching them how to communicate. It’s interesting but we are a herd type mentality. By you starting to use this process, what I’ve noticed from my students, years and years and years of working with students, the people around them begin to have these conversations and set healthy boundaries. Things that are underneath the surface that are icky start coming up. They bubble up, and they get solved. You’re happier. You have less stress, and frustration, and irritation. You have a deeper level of love, and intimacy, and caring, and respect from the people that you have in your life that are close to you. I think healthy boundaries creates more love. It doesn’t create more disconnection; it creates more connection and love. It creates more enjoyment of working together as a team. I can’t encourage you enough to work on boundaries.
Now, if you have something that you’d like to share with me, if you have a question that you want me to work…a coaching question if it’s a simple one I can use. I’ve got one coming next week from someone who wrote to me about a situation they’re in that I’ll be answering. If you have one, just let me know. Please go to zeninamoment.com. You can get to me through the contact page. I read every email that comes through, and I would love, love, love to do a podcast just for you. Please share this podcast. I enjoy doing it, and I love that people are beginning to come on board and share it. You can listen to us on iTunes. Please rate us there or on SoundCloud if you have an account there. Please give us a rating. It really helps us to be up in the search engine results so I can get to more people. I look forward to being with you next week. In the meantime, until I get an opportunity to be with you again, I am sending you love and blessings.