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Going back to Boundaries – the first “ahas” I learned.

If you read my January blogs, you’ll recall that I found a class called Boundaries that changed my approach to life. First, it made me recognize how my past behaviors had sabotaged my self-image. Next, it guided me on how to make changes. The biggest “aha” was that it all starts in our thoughts that become FAB – Feelings become Attitudes from which Behaviors follow.

The next eight weeks changed my world with “aha” moments. Here are the first four…

Stop saying “I’m sorry.” In my past, I took responsibility for anything around me that went wrong. As a result, I said “I’m sorry” too often and apologized whether or not I caused the problem.  Boundaries made me realize I had to stop saying “I’m sorry” unless I was responsible for it. I have a choice – be pitiful or powerful. Apologizing for others makes me pitiful. Apologizing for what I do makes me powerful.  Boundaries taught me how to distinguish the difference and changed me from a victim to a victor.

The problem is a symptom – not the problem. There are clinical and relational symptoms. For example, I had allergies, ate too much, and often felt overwhelmed. Not having boundaries with established consequences gave ‘boundary violators’ free access to me. All of these were symptoms of a problem. In order to deal with them, I had to dig deeper to find the root cause of the problem.    

Don’t be a slave to others. This is when you give your power to others. Someone makes a comment that is less than positive to you. Instead of determining if what they said is correct, you take their word for it and assume they are right. It makes you feel guilty for what you did; then shameful for who you think you are. There’s no reason why they should have that power and you need to take it back. In other words, you need to have the freedom to love yourself. At the same time, you give others the freedom to love as well. Whether they love or decide not to love is their responsibility, not yours.

Learn to respond instead of react. Here’s where the laws of Boundaries really come into play. There is a difference between hurt and pain. For example, when I say “no” to you, I may be hurting you…but I’m not harming you. It’s important that we respect each other’s freedom to say “no.” 

And it’s OK to feel pain because pain teaches us. We have to own the problems that are ours and not “be right” all the time. The need to defend ourselves makes us react and too often does more damage. I realized I had to be humble in order to change. I had to stop blaming others for the problems in my past. Boundaries taught me how to pause and take the time to think…then respond instead of react.

All this happened in just the first four weeks of the class and as you can see, each week was an “aha” I needed in order to progress into the life I now have. Next week I’ll give the next four and tell you about how Boundaries at Central is expanding.

In the meantime, I know this is a lot of information in a short blog. If anything you read here strikes a chord and you’d like to talk about it, let me know.


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