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Finding Beauty in the Pause

Finding Beauty in the Pause

The world is in a serious fight or flight mode as we experience the unfolding of this pandemic spread of the coronavirus. Panic ensues as we sit in our living rooms surrounded by what little hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes we could collect before they vanished. Eyes glued to CNN, waiting for our government leaders to make the next move. It’s like an intense game of chess. Sadly, we  know how completely unprepared  our healthcare system is for what is to come.

With each passing hour, things seem to be changing as more states go on lock down mandating people who are not “essential” to stay at home. Our heads are pounding with concerns about not having enough food or toilet paper. We race to the stores to find the shelves empty of even the basics which only heightens our anxiety of not being able to provide for our loved ones. Thoughts of scarcity quickly hijack our minds where thoughts of positivity and abundance should be living.

We talk quietly with our partner so our children don’t hear us … 

What if we can’t get the medical care we need if any of us get sick?

How will we pay our mortgage and keep up with the bills?  So many of us have had to close our businesses cutting off our only source of income for our families.

FEAR is seeping in…even those who practice positive psychology and mindfulness are on the breaking point.

I have been staying calm in the chaos for weeks. It wasn’t until yesterday, that I began to fall victim to  anxiety and the feeling of my chest beginning to tighten up. As I sat down to face my own emotions, I stopped and reminded myself to take a gentle pause, to breathe, to notice and to reflect on what I was feeling in that very moment.

I began to ask myself…

How can I be fully present and stay completely awake during this time?

How can I use positive mindset to reframe my negative thoughts and emotions?

Why did this Virus decide to appear now and what is it here to teach us?

So many of us who are empaths, light workers and intuitive healers have been feeling this life-changing energy shift coming for some time. And, I can say with a great deal of certainty, that I believe that this Virus is here for a reason. 

As a society, we have been suffering for far too long. We race around in our “busy” lives trying to do more, be more, earn more, always focusing on what we don’t have, rather than being grateful for what we do.

Perhaps the Virus is here as a much needed wake-up call?

To make us slow down and shake us to our core.

To show us that our current way of living and being is really what is making us all so sick.

Perhaps the Virus is here because it’s time to change the conversation?

To force us to stop, notice and reflect on what is truly important. To make more meaningful connections with one another.

To remind us how to be fully present and really listen.

Perhaps the Virus is here to reveal a better way to coexist with one another?

To force us to blow up old, ugly patterns of hate, bigotry, greed, impatience, and cruelty that have been lurking under the surface for far too long.

To urge us to replace those behavior with new ones?

To help us evolve and become a better world full of love and compassion?

I mean, how hard is it really to share the last package of toilet paper on the shelves with someone whose hands are empty? Or to call and check in on people who may be isolated and living alone? To reach out to a complete stranger with a gentle kindness and a smile?

I believe we are being asked to consider what it would be like to truly live in love and acceptance of one another.

To celebrate our individuality, our diversity, our freedoms?

To recognize the endless possibilities that exist when we choose to come together as one?

I believe in divine timing. This is about growth and expansion. I believe the Virus is offering us an opportunity. Perhaps it is here to help inspire us to find a new heart-centered way of being.

The world needs healing, The time is now. 

We are being called to rise up together and embrace one another with our collective wisdom, grace and compassion.  

As we welcome our new reality, this rebirth, I encourage you to find beauty in the pause.

Breathe, Rest, Read, Reflect, Play, Meditate, Connect and Re-Imagine what we want our world to be and be deeply grateful for the opportunity we’re being given to redesign it.

I believe, that together, we can find our way forward.

Jenn Gulbrand is a Woman’s Empowerment Ambassador, Wellnesspreneur, Intuitive Biz & Mindset Coach & Healer. She empowers women, in life’s transitions, to connect with their soul purpose and manifest freedom, flow and transformation to elevate in their personal and professional lives. She believes there are BIG universal energy shifts occurring and that women are being called to step up and serve the world through heart-centered businesses. Three years ago, she created SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio, and Empowerment, Education and Advocacy initiative – dedicated to the renewal of women in body, mind and spirit. As the Director of SheBreathes, she holds  space for women on the rise to practice self-care, engage in enriching educational programs, experience community, and be fully supported in their growth and healing. Jenn recently left the company she founded 21 years ago to put 100% of her energy into her light work. She is deeply humbled and honored to serve others and embrace positive change in the world.

Fill Your Workshop

Fill Your Workshop

SheBreathes Balance and Wellness workshops are a great way to get you in front of an engaged audience to share your expertise. These events can help you build your brand, spread awareness about your company and what you do. Your event helps you establish connections between you and your customers or community.

It’s up to each of the SheBreathes workshop leaders to build and attract their own audience to their event.  You have the unique advantage of inviting your own followers as well as encouraging the SheBreathes community to join the session.

But, as we all know too well, empty chairs can be a real bummer.

Here are 6 crazy simple things you can do to make sure that you have the audience you deserve for your next workshop, class, or other event.

1: Create a Flyer

Create a bold headline that clearly addresses the big problem you are offering to solve for the attendees. Include everything folks will need to know including: date, time, place, cost and how to register. Provide your phone number, email address, and website.

Make sure you are using your business branding (your logo, your colors, any taglines).  You will also want to use at least one image that will easily communicate what the event is about.

The simple action of boiling down the details of your event onto a concise one-page flyer will help you communicate the main thrust of the event to your audience.

Bring your flyer to spaces where your intended audience may frequent: Networking events, local coffee shops, local libraries, co-working spaces, and yoga studios.

2: Attend Other Networking Events

When you go to events, instead of handing out your business card, give people one of your flyers. it is a nice way to offer value to the conversation. You might say something like: “Yes, I have a card, but here, I’d love to offer you an invitation to my upcoming workshop.”

It will be to your benefit to attend as many events as possible during the few weeks prior to your workshop so that you will be able to reach lots more people.

3: Email Your List

This goes without saying – share program details with your current list. It’s helpful to create a branded third-party email (for example using MailChimp or Constant Contact) so that you can include your business branding and other links (to your website, a video or webinar, a helpful download, etc). If you have a good size list that’s great, if not, this will still supplement your networking efforts.

Consider creating a segmented list for this event so that you can communicate ore directly with your intended audience.

4: Call Prospects

Yup, if you know me at all, you know that talking on the phone is not where I experience the most ease in my job. But, here I am suggesting that if you are committed to having folks show up for your workshop, picking up the phone and having a chat will be a powerful tool for you.

Choose the most likely prospects you haven’t worked with yet. Maybe they weren’t ready for private sessions. With a shorter workshop, people can get a lot of information and support from you at a group rate. You might reach out to say something like, “I’m holding an event next month and I immediately thought of you. I know you’ve been thinking about working together, but I thought this would be an easy way for you to get some great value and a feeling for what it’s like to work together.”

You may decide to make special offer to some of your current contacts that they can bring a friend for half price. Or, perhaps, you offer them a bonus gift book, a free session, a report, etc).

5: Create Strategic Alliances

If you expect educational events to play a part in your marketing strategy, finding the right partner can be exactly what you need to take your events to the next level.

Check out complementary businesses and explore possible event partnerships. For example, if you’re a chocolatier and there’s a great wine shop down the street, consider co-hosting a red wine and chocolate tasting. Or, if you’re a job coach, consider co-presenting a seminar with a wardrobe consultant.

Partner up with them to reach out to their lists. Keep in mind,  this is an opportunity for them to add value to their community, too.  They might send out an email to their list with details to encourage registration. You may decide to offer an incentive for every person who registers as a result of the partner’s help.

You may even decide to reach out to current clients and colleagues to ask them to make referrals. Call or email them with a personal appeal to ask them to suggest two or three other folks they know who could benefit from your event content.

6: Use Your Digital Platforms

Make sure that you have a webpage, a Facebook event, registration page, or some other Landing Page that offers all the details about your event. It’s even better if you are able to capture registrant information directly from your online registration page.

Share the link to the information/registration page on ALL of your digital platforms. You won’t want to be spammy, but you will want the event to show up pretty much everywhere your audience consumes their media.  If you share on Facebook, post it on your business page first, and then share it via your personal Facebook profile.  Be sure to share it on any of the appropriate groups that you belong to, as well. Similarly, share it on LinkedIn from your personal profile, but also pop in to share it on any of the groups that you participate in. If it is appropriate to your brand, share it on Instagram, Twitter, Alignable, Google My Business, etc.  Think of all of the cyber-places that your audience spends time on and see what you can come up with to share.

I have found that it may be appropriate for you to send individualized, private messages through LinkedIn if the event calls for that type of communication. Folks seem to respond to these messages more than they do to emails.  Give it a try.

Bonus Tip: Go Old-School – Send Mail

Want to stand out?

Send a personalized letter or invitation directly into someone’s mailbox.

Paper.

Personalized.

Pretty.

Give it a try.

Miscarriage and Loss Remembered

Miscarriage and Loss Remembered

November 2, 2018 marks the 17th year anniversary of the morning I lost my twin boys, Enzo & Maxx, as a result of their pre-mature birth. For reasons, still unknown today, I went into labor 20 weeks into my pregnancy. That was a very dark day.  With my husband by my side, we tragically suffered 18 hours of labor knowing our boy’s lungs were not well formed enough to breathe on their own. We had already had 3 previous miscarriages 14-16 weeks into our pregnancies but this time we had flown thru the first trimester with flying colors and all signs pointed to parenthood. We sat in stillness that morning reflecting on the fact that the nursery at home was waiting in anticipation… with its’ John Lennon IMAGINE inspired theme designed with hope for our future together. Sadly, our boys would not be returning home from the hospital with us that day and our hearts were broken.

Miscarriage is defined as an unsuccessful outcome of something planned; failure, nonfulfillment, mismanagement.

Let’s be real.  Miscarriage is a word that makes people shudder.  It implies that something was “mis-managed” and leaves any woman who suffered this devastating loss, feeling shame and self-loathing. Questions and uncertainty ring in her mind about what she could or should have done differently.

In the days that followed, I was left empty, void, and forever wounded. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I did what most do when faced with tragedy. I grieved. I suffered a deluge of ridiculous responses like “things happen for a reason” and “it’s God’s will” and “you can try again” all the while stifling my impulse to scream at the top of my lungs with a battle cry.  I wept when I held other people’s babies and avoided any interactions with mothers-to-be. I dug deep.  I carried on.  It was not easy.

The following June, my husband and I traveled to Moscow, Russia to adopt our beautiful miracle of a daughter, who is truly the light of our lives. In the months and years to come, I dove back into my work, focused on being the best, most attentive helicopter Mom I could be, and directed my energy to the support and healing of others so I could eventually heal myself. Becoming a family through adoption was the best choice I ever made and I don’t regret one minute of that decision. My daughter is now 17 and maturing into one rock solid human.  I am proud of her every day. But the fact remains that one child does not replace another.

I have known many beautiful warrior women over the years who lost a child before it was born and suffered in silence. I want to raise awareness that the emptiness never leaves your heart. Women don’t only lose a baby when they deliver prematurely or “miscarry” – – they often lose their self-esteem and struggle to return to intimacy with their partner/spouse. Women who suffer miscarriage or loss during birth feel isolated, alone, and afraid to talk about their experience because it carries with it so much shame.

I choose to share my story, all these years later, because women are rising up, now more than ever before, and speaking their truth. We the female need to bond together to heal the planet one woman at a time. Let’s change the conversation and more importantly the stigma that surrounds “miscarriage” and honor all the mothers who have lost their children before they had the opportunity to watch them grow.

I am deeply blessed in that I was able to take our losses and turn them into love by becoming a mother to my daughter and later creating a sacred space for women to gather and lift one another up in healing. Rise up sisters and love on another. For it is your light that will turn the tide and create a more peaceful world in honor of Mother Earth.

Jennifer Gulbrand is a self-proclaimed Warrior Goddess and creator of SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio in Walpole, Mass., where all women are invited to breathe in balance, be inspired, and feel supported.

 

SheBreathes Sisters Last Memorable Books

SheBreathes Sisters Last Memorable Books

Do you often wonder what others are reading and why? I do. I am always interested in finding out what other people read and how it connects with their life. When a new title comes across my path, I am curious “what is that book about?” Often, it opens my eyes to a topic I haven’t thought about exploring before.

I love books! So, it was fascinating to read all the Game Changers’ interviews and learn about the last memorable books they recommend and why. I created this list to share with our tribe and I hope you find a title that inspires you or discover one that will raise you up. Enjoy!

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman – I loved the ancient magic and story of sisterhood ~Sonya Highfield

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.  It changed my life, helped me to find my purpose and changed the direction my life is heading! ~Elizabeth Phillips

How to Not Hate Your Husband After Kids. My marriage is so important and I wanted to learn strategies to be my best self for my spouse. ~Becky Bast

After the Locusts. Very encouraging book. ~Angela Callahan

The Great Alone.  This book was epic to many facets to this story.  The descriptions of the Alaskan Wilderness are so vivid, you almost feel like you are there.  Beauty, love, redemption, PTSD, patience, loyalty and the everlasting bonds of family and friends. ~Laurie Mills

The Untethered Soul. It was written in such a way as to remind me again how vast and unlimited I AM. ~Signe Nelson Ayochok

Getting Unstuck by Pema Chodron: It wasn’t about what I thought it would be about! It helped me to “learn to stay”, as she calls it. To be more present both in and out of meditation, and to let go of judgment. ~Devon Grilly

The last memorable book I read was Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Dr. Mark Hyman. While this may not be the inspiring book you were expecting me to call out, the entire time I was reading I kept thinking “Finally!” Dr. Hyman does an incredible job of debunking many of the lies and myths about food circulating the internet and health magazines. This book is the perfect balance of research backed facts and easy to read surprising information. I’ve had clients share some pretty crazy nutrition concepts they’ve both read and followed over the years. This book is everything I’ve ever wanted to convey to set the record straight about what you should eat or avoid for optimal health. ~Maggie Dion

Breakfast with Buddha, profoundness in simplicity. ~Beth McLacklan

There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I like Wayne Dyer’s writing style and the easy way he explains potentially complicated subjects. This book is a great reminder that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. When we shift our perspective to a spiritual one, we are able to apply the wisdom that is coming from our higher self which speaks to us through gut feelings, hunches, and intuitive insights. ~Susan Kapatoes

The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein – she speaks to me, this book is about creating your own life, we are always guided, our vibration attracts what we bring, surrender and be an instrument of love. Very inspiring! ~Heidi Wilde

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – I loved it because it focuses on how to live life in the present without clinging to “stories” of the past or fears of the future that prevent us from enjoying our lives and fully experiencing the world authentically through our 5 senses. ~Jenny Eden Berk

A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD. She has an amazing holistic insight into how medicine and prescription drugs have changed all our health, but especially women’s health.  I refer to her book daily in my practice as a way to help others take control of their emotional and physical health by making small lifestyles changes on a regular basis. ~Tina Rose

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. His candor and love for his profession and the people that came into his life were impactful. It was a bittersweet recent read as I got a glimpse into the life of a man who I hope has found peace. ~Vivien Roman-Hampton

A memoir on Coco Chanel, love her sense of style and she was her own authentic self. ~Karen Carter

Undoctored – Because I’m trying to reverse my health issues. ~Lauren Bortolami Robbins

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown! The title says it all. We need to let go and be present in acceptance of ourselves; as we are! It’s a book you can re-read over and over- and you will find something new that resonates with every reading. ~Mariana Sanford Maynard

The Woman In the Window. Strength. ~Nancy Safran

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It is a   scary world we live in now. I wish this book can be taught in middle school so children can realize that bullying can cause lasting damage and can change a person’s life. ~Kelly Hathaway

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was wonderful. I love that it discusses creating to create, not necessarily to make money or because you have a particular expectation. We’re all creative in our own way! Unleash that magic. ~Rachel Kaczynski

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – the main characters grew up in very trying times and in poverty, however, did not look at life that way and found joy and success despite these circumstances. ~Mary Dealy

The Separation by Tova Mirvis. It’s a memoir about how the author not only left her husband but her life of Orthodox Judaism. ~Beth Knaus

All Nicholas Sparks books are my favorites – love the escape, the drama, the passion, and that you never know what the ending will bring. ~Julia Peneda

Evolve Your Brain, Joe Dispenza. This is not an easy read as it is very scientific but due to a severe accident I experienced in October of 2017 and my continuing recovery, I was studying the brain to body connection and how I could assist my recovery in ways outside the norm. It’s all about creating new neuronal connections and with my background as a physician, I even found it hard to read. BUT, the information is invaluable. On a lighter note, I am reading John Holland’s Bridging Two Realms which is about assisting the layperson on how to see the connections with their loved ones in spirit. As I teach workshops on the subject, I love learning anything possible so I can help others. ~Dr. Cathy Ripley Greene

Entangled in Darkness, Seeking the Light. It’s about transformation/healing. ~D’Anne Olsen

The Energy Bus – a major dose of positivity!  Very inspiring, especially in a negative world. ~Therese Nicklas

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund.  The prose in this book is so descriptive. The author describes every experience in such detail that we can truly experience what she is telling us. This book is a wonderful reminder to take note of even the tiniest details in our everyday life. ~Susan Finn

Love, Anthony. I have an autistic son, and this book displayed a deeper meaning of autism in a beautiful way. ~Kristen Cillo

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie. Well, I love cats. And I love spirituality and am especially intrigued by Buddhism. Put them together and it’s peanut butter jelly time! ~Elvia Roe

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Ruben.  A huge light bulb went on for me once I better understood myself as an Obliger, one who would always commit to meeting the expectations of others, often sacrificing the commitment or expectations for myself.  This allowed me to pause and ask my true intentions and goals. ~Carrie Vinson

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff. I was surprised that I absolutely loved it! It took my surprise how much I learned reading it. ~Maria Salomão-Schmidt

Attached. A true game changer when it comes to the ways in which we grow up and form attachment styles. There are 3. Highly recommend this book. ~Brooke Snyder

Telma Sullivan is a Career Development Coach and Librarian of SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio.

 

tWERK That Energy

tWERK That Energy

When we hold the idea that the movement of the energy may NOT create the outcome exactly as desired, or envisioned, it will take the pressure off needing to excel at everything you do and give you the freedom to just keep moving that energy in the direction of your dream.

This is how it works!

Knowing that you are putting something in motion that will eventually get you where you want, gives so much more space to the journey, maybe even allows you to have some fun with it. It’s not the success or failure going towards each goal, it is the fact that you don’t stop the energy flow towards it. The movement of your energy is the way to making things happen in your life. That means if you only move the energy for a little while and then stop (give up), guess what, whatever you want will not happen, the only way to have the outcome you long for, is to keep working that energy towards it.

Often, I have people tell me that they are feeling stuck and don’t know what to do. They know what they want but don’t know how to go about getting it. For example, pick something that you know for sure that you want in your life, start small and START NOW, it doesn’t have to be a huge thing, just pick something and put your effort into. Let’s say you want to shed 5 pounds, I bet you all know theoretically how to do it, I realize,  so much gets in the way of this, mainly, it is thoughts about why you can’t have it, or the reasons why once you mess up, it’s time to quit after all your failed attempts. It’s NOT that you can’t do it, it’s because of the quitting.

Quitting stops the energy dead in its tracks.

Our thoughts can be our own worst enemies. Soooo while you are figuring out how to tame those gremlins running around your head…get up, get going and start moving the energy. Let those notions that “I can’t”, be there for now, the ones that say you are not ready even though you know you want it. And start going after what you want, without letting ANY of the failures stop you. That’s all you need to do. Easy breezy, right? I know it is simple yet not easy, as you do this, you will learn great things about yourself because your mind will do its best to convince to you to stay where you are because even though you may be miserable, you know this miserable place and its safer than going into the unknown. Yeah crazy, that’s how we roll as humans.

If you really need some help to refocus….check out the September Edition of Me, Myself & I Podcast HERE, to help you clear your energy and relax. We all need a little help sometimes. (photo posted below is what atypical in person  hypnotherapy sesh looks like, TY Sweet Reverie Photography for capturing the moment xo).

Keeping it simple, so that you can start to make this dream you have become a reality.

Here’s the breakdown if you are a scroller….

1. Pick one thing you know for sure you want.

(keep it easy for now, think of this as your training wheels, you will soon enough be taking on bigger and more challenging things. Baby steps)

2. Next and final step start moving and continue to take action towards your goal.

(even if you get no’s (and fail alot) along the way, realize that the movement of energy is the main ingredient for turning your life in the desired direction you want)

When you start moving the energy, just keep moving towards the goal, repeating to yourself continually, I am moving the energy and I’m not going to stop until I achieve the goal. You WILL start living a different life. I can promise it will happen.

I’d love to hear how this works for you when using this classic energy in motion theory as you apply it to your life, reach me at lynell@lynellmasterson.com. Be forewarned friends, following these steps may produce miracles.

And if you want more, check out Nell at Night September Edition All About Energy, right HERE

3 Reasons Boundaries Are the Foundation for Happiness

3 Reasons Boundaries Are the Foundation for Happiness

This month, the Life on Fire community is reading Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown. I talked about the book club and why this book means so much to me in my first ever video post – check it out!

In the book, Brené talks about the acronym BRAVING (Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgment, and Generosity) as the key to building trusting relationships with ourselves and others. In order to find the courage to stand alone when needed, we must develop this trust. So this month, my blog will be dedicated to looking at each of these principles in greater detail. I will explain my take on the concepts and introduce tools for using each on in our daily lives. I am strongly committed to empowering women and men to live their most authentic lives, and the BRAVING framework is a darn good place to start.

Boundaries

What are boundaries?

“Boundaries—You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.” ― Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Do you remember your elementary school playground? Perhaps you played the game: Red Light, Green Light- our first encounter with setting and communicating boundaries. Personal boundaries are like our own traffic lights that say when to go, stop, or slow down. Just like the traffic lights we use to drive through intersections without crashing into other cars, our boundaries allow us to operate safely in the world. A clear and understandable system helps everyone to feel safe and secure while interacting.

Work:

At work, this can look like having clear expectations for you and your co-workers that when someone is working with the door closed to their office, they are not to be disturbed unless it’s a true emergency. It hopefully includes clear messages throughout your company about what the boundaries of harassment look and sound like, plus a clear chain of response in case of violation. It might mean letting your chatty cubicle-mate know that when you have headphones on, you’re trying to focus on a task and will talk to them later during a break.

Home:

At home, boundaries can mean having a chore schedule that clearly assigns which chores are done by whom and when. It could mean letting your partner or children know that when you’ve had a stressful day at work, you need half an hour of quiet alone time to recoup and will play with them afterwards. It could be an agreement that you won’t enter your teenager’s room without permission as long as they keep it reasonably clean. Perhaps you set limits with your friends so that they know not to ask you to go out drinking on weeknights, but that you’d be all-In for a wine and paint night on Saturday.

I think of boundaries as the manual for how to interact with each other peacefully.

 

3 Reasons Why Boundaries are the Foundation for A Happy Life

1. Prevent Resentment

When I was in my 20s, it seemed like every time I had a conversation with someone, I heard about another person getting married or having children. Now that I’m 40, it’s turned into who’s getting divorced next? Resentment at the core of every relationship turned sour, whether they are intimate relationships, friendships, or working relationships. Whatever the ultimate cause of a divorce or someone quitting their job is the “final straw”, but there is usually a whole heap of hay bales underneath. Having clear and consistent discussions about your needs is required to stop resentment before it starts. The little things that irk you are tiny boundary violations that over the long haul becomes death by a thousand cuts. If someone is doing something that continually bugs you because they didn’t take your objection seriously the first five times, schedule a serious chat with them. Explain that your relationship is too important to be eroded by resentment, and ask if they can really listen and respond to your needs.

2.   Eliminate Loneliness

sad woman
Loneliness is a health risk.

Imagine how much more compassion and understanding we would have for each other as a whole if we knew each others’ boundaries! With new studies showing that more than half of all Americans say no one really knows them, it’s time to improve our communication. Humans are a social species, and doctors are declaring our collective loneliness a health crisis. According to Forbes, an “…analysis of 70 studies found that loneliness, isolation, and living alone all had a significant effect on a person’s risk for early death. The researchers suggested that the impact was similar to the effect that obesity has on mortality rates.” (Forbes, 2017). If our tendency is to isolate because we fear speaking up about our limits, we are actually putting ourselves at risk of early death. Just having friends and going to social events doesn’t mean you aren’t lonely. To make real connections we have to have that feeling of safety, which comes back to having clear and consistent boundaries.

 

 

“More than half of survey respondents — 54 percent — said they always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well.”  ― Rhitu Chatterjee, “Americans Are A Lonely Lot, And Young People Bear The Heaviest Burden”. May 1, 2018 npr.org

Healthy boundaries are a safety net for bold exploration. Photo by Martin Cehelsky on Unsplash

3.   Boldly Go

Decades of parenting research has demonstrated that when limits are clear and consistent, they feel more empowered to explore and take healthy risks that help them grow. There is freedom in knowing exactly where the lines of the sandbox are. How much more productive would your work day be if you had clear understandings of your boss’ and coworkers’ boundaries and expectations? I think we’ve all had that boss where the office had to tiptoe around, never sure about what was going to set him/her off today, right? It’s emotionally draining, and it certainly doesn’t encourage creativity or innovation. Knowing that you and your BFF have a method for clearing grievances without shame or judgement is a ticket to lifelong friendship and more open, honest sharing. It’s a wonderful paradox that knowing the limits creates the most freedom.

 

Tools for Creating and Maintaining Boundaries

Sitting on the ground in a beautiful nature scene is wonderful, but not required.
Meditation

Use a guided meditation to visualize your energetic boundaries. Recognize that you are connected to all living things on Earth, and they are connected to you. Also know that you are your own entity, and imagine a bubble or forcefield surrounding you that allows you to safely interact with the world. Use affirmations like: “I am strong in my power. Power with others, Power to create.” Meditations in apps like Calm or Stop, Breathe, & Think that are compassion building or loving kindness meditations also help to reinforce boundaries. If boundary violations are stressing you out in the moment, use some of the tactics here in my article on mindfulness for real life.

Know Your Values

In order to communicate our boundaries, we need to have a complete understanding of what they are and why they’re important. Not in a general way, but specifically to YOU – what are your values and how might someone unknowingly violate them? For me, Authenticity is a core value, and if someone is holding back parts of themselves, I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know that to trust others, I would much prefer brutal honesty to sugar coating or speaking in circles as an effort to be “nice” about criticism. Perhaps your strongest value is Family, so a surefire way to start building resentment at work is when HR gives you crap about taking time off to go to the school play or a wedding. Get reflective and make a list of the things you value most, and use them to identify areas where you need to set clear boundaries.

Write a script

What will you say to communicate your boundaries ahead of time, when starting relationships? What will you say when someone crosses your boundaries? Pre-planning what you will say allows you to thoughtfully respond to situations, rather than reacting or retracting. If this causes a lot of anxiety for you, I strongly recommend using something like Tim Ferriss’ “Fear Setting” tactics. Go through your values list and write out ways to communicate your values to others. Identify scenarios that are likely to push your boundaries and create responses that you’d feel good about saying. Practice them out loud with a compassionate friend, therapist, or a coach. You’ll feel much more confident in the moment!

Have a tactic to share or thoughts to add? Disagree with my analysis? Please leave a comment below!

Note: I am not an affiliate for any of the people or things that I linked to in this article. They are just resources that I really treasure and like to share with others!

Article from Devon Grilly