Boundaries give freedom, choice, respect, authenticity and safety.
For me balance is a continuous fine tuning, that goes on to allow me to feel happy, comfortable, and have a clear sense of efficacy, good self esteem and self respect. Boundaries enable me to have the capacity to love myself , my family and others, and joyfully support the other people with whom I work . Without clear boundaries I could not have balance!
It has taken me a long time to make this a conscious choice: to take total responsibility for myself. I often found it easier to transfer blame to other people for taking away my choices, happiness and independence! You may feel trapped in certain situations but even where that’s the case there is the possibility of change for everyone. We sometimes find ourselves caught up in relationships/jobs that sap our energy, involve endless stress and we feel pushed into a corner of despair. This desperation creates a loss of hope and possible illness, but it can eventually, also push us into making dramatic changes to our situation which then gives back our sense of control and hope. If things are bad enough you will get out of it however difficult this may feel. I had to make extremely hard choices, many times in my life which sometimes involved things becoming much worse before I could expect or achieve a tangible improvement, but regaining your freedom of choice is very empowering. To do the right thing for yourself can be really challenging and calls for determination and courage!
I now know I am the only person who can really look after myself – no one else is ultimately responsible. Sounds so simple but expecting other people to make you happy causes so much heartache!
Many of my clients are pivotal in their family’s lives, work extremely hard, run businesses and care for their loved ones. For many coming here for a retreat is the first time they have chosen to come away by themselves. A retreat is an escape, from practical responsibilities and pressure. One of the main things we focus on at our Retreats is balance: in what we eat, how we feel, what we do etc. I find balance and boundaries go together very comfortably.
Once I set boundaries for myself life ran more smoothly. To have lodgers or guests in your home requires boundaries for sure. A family home changing into a retreat just wouldn’t happen without them. Clarity goes hand in hand with boundaries as does flexibility! Nothing too rigid, but it really helps if you think through what you do, and where there is a little discomfort, where you feel impinged on or your life is somehow compromised too often. Ensuring intimate familyspace time and open house is all about balance.
Being all things to all people isn’t feasible. Delegation is a helpful way forward, as is saying No! Hard at first but with practice it gets easier. It enables you to say Yes to the events/people that you really are chosing to have in your life!
We all need space to be by ourselves. Space to recharge our batteries; review our lives and decisions we have made. Time to be empty, to let go. Make space for space. At first space can be a little scary as you have time to really feel any pain in your life rather than avoid it being busy. But sitting with the painful feelings will help you observe and make better decisions. This then allows you to be engaged in life in a healthy, balanced way. Space helps you decide on your priorities for the year, month or week and ensure they are honoured.
This helps decision making:
- What is it that you really want and need?
- What do you love to have in your life?
- What brings joy to you?
- What makes you smile and feel worthwhile?
- How can you change your life to ensure this is a priority?
It may need some tweeking. Little by little is fine, no need to go all or nothing. This allows leeway for mistakes, indulgences or sudden unavoidable events that happen to all of us. This allows us to be human and not perfect. Balance encompasses all of this; perfectionism does not and causes unhealthy levels of stress!
Helping others to help you is really important too. Many people never like to ask for help but prefer to give it, and feel very uncomfortable receiving. Lots of people in their lives would love to help but don’t realise the help is wanted or needed. People can’t mind- read so if you feel overwhelmed or cross, let others know. Share the problem out don’t just shoulder it and feel disgruntled. Far better to be honest in a kind and loving way. It is not a failure to ask for assistance!
Key Tips for finding balance in your life:
- Set realistic boundaries on your availability, time and energy expenditure
- Express your needs as they are equally important as other peoples needs
- Define what is most important in your life by looking at what you love and must have in your life
- Clarify what you do not want in your life
- Recognise that every decision you make is a choice
- Your happiness is your responsibility, find ways to ensure you are happy