A Lesson in Boundaries

Dear Molly,

I need time alone, but I’m always with people.  Between my friends, my family, my work, etc. I barely get five minutes to myself.  I don’t know how to allow myself this space when so many people need me.  What do you recommend?

Breathing Badly in Belize

Dear Breathing Badly in Belize,

I’m glad you’re wanting to take some time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Start by knowing that’s true.  It will help with any guilt you might feel as you wean yourself away from constant stimulation and allow yourself some relaxation and enjoyment.

What do you need the most?  Space to breathe? Time to read?  A hot bath?  A nap??

Decide how you’d like to spend your alone time.  It will inspire you to create the space.

Once you’ve decided how you’d like to spend the time, pick a block of time that feels reasonable for you to start (Give yourself at least 10 minutes!).  Then you can do one of two things:

Let people know that’s your time, and you can’t/won’t be interrupted (and hold true to it!)

Guard it with your life and don’t feel the need to explain at all.  If you feel pressured, just call it a ‘meeting.’  That’s as much as anyone needs to know.

Enjoy your ‘meetings!’ (wink, wink)

If anyone gives you grief, know it’s because they grew to lean and depend on you too much – maybe even took you for granted.  Their lack of acceptance of your newfound space  is their own discomfort their needs are not being fully tended to – in which case you can teach them how to create ‘meetings’ for themselves too.  Then they won’t need you so much, and you can, I don’t know….enjoy each other.  🙂

Be an example of self-care.  You’ll learn good boundaries while teaching them too.




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