"You cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of another person's feelings." -Melody Beattie
This quote was a theme for my yoga class last week and I also shared it on Facebook. The response to this quote off line has been incredible, so I think it’s worth exploring a bit further.
When I first read that quote, I felt really uncomfortable and immediately thought “but it’s important to take care of other people’s feelings.” I smiled as I realized what I said to myself because I have this conversation often with my clients, we cannot take care of others if we don’t first take care of ourselves. It is impossible to serve others when we are depleted, sure we may be able to do some things for other people while running ourselves ragged, but there is a limit. Once we reach that limit or surpass it, we’re not really benefitting the other person and we’re certainly not benefitting ourselves.
Putting ourselves first may initially feel selfish, however I invite you to practice this, put yourself first and honor your boundaries, then notice how much better you’re able to care for others and how much better you feel. Start with a seemingly small boundary, perhaps no social media or email while you eat. That boundary requires you to take a brief electronic break in order to refuel and hopefully take a few deep breaths. With your new focus on taking care of yourself by mindfully eating, you will hopefully find you’re better able to focus and deal with others in a more positive and proactive way after your meal.
When we value another person’s feelings over our own boundaries, we set ourselves up for disappointment and strife. This isn’t to say that we should go through life with no regard for others. Rather, let’s strive to use our personal boundaries as a way to be of even more service and to provide even more support to those we come in contact with. Personal boundaries as a means to living authentically, to empowering ourselves and to showing up in ways that allow us to be supportive not only for ourselves, but for others too - now that’s worth practicing.
As always, I’d love to hear from you! How does this quote resonate with you? If you’re interested in support around creating balance, please check out my signature coaching program, Reset, Refuel & Rebalance.