Alright, so we had a special edition newsletter, and before that we were exploring personal wants and needs and starting to express them, also shining the light on self-full Vs, selfish. Now we’re going to get even deeper into it. We’re really going to get into the muck of it.
Ready for it?
The “B” word.
Did you stop reading? Does this sound to hippy dippy now?
Pffft who needs boundaries.
Actually we all do. Some folks have them, and that’s rad. Most of my clients though… They’ve struggled with them. Putting others first at most times. Often to the detriment of their own health. Seriously. Dosen’t sound like you? Cool, awesome. Then you can totally focus on expressing your wants and needs comfortably, and if that’s not a problem… Sweet! Teach others how to do so… Respectfully. It’s about asking and voicing needs, not pushing over other peoples boundaries to get at what you want.
‘Cause being barreled over while someone else is grabbing what they want sucks. Badly. We’re seeing many examples of that in our public sphere involving personal space and physical contact. All kinds of folks not voicing their needs well and then just taking what they want anyways.. or doing reeeeeally shady stuff to get what they want.
Why the heck am I bringing that kind of stuff up when I’m talking about voicing needs and boundaries? They are really related.
Think of it like a scale. On one end of the scale is voicing our needs and on the other end is feeling powerless to voice our needs. On the side of the scale where we voice our needs let us imagine that we also respect the needs of others because we’re able to voice our own needs. On the other end of the scale where we are powerless to voice our needs we also don’t respond well to other people’s needs because our own needs aren’t being met.
Now I’m simplifying this a lot, but this in essence is kind of what happens. The more we are comfortable voicing our needs and having boundaries, the more comfortable we get at respecting others. It’s pretty neat to watch it happen.
Ok, so what happens on the end of the scale where we aren’t comfortable voicing our needs? Well, let’s introduce another lovely term. Desire Smuggling. Not familiar with it? That’s ok, I’ve introduced it to a few folks. This is a brilliant article that goes into desire smuggling in deep depth. I highly recommend that you read that before continuing here. As she’s eloquently described it in ways that I am unable and it’s not worth it to just repeat what she’s already crafted.
Alright, I’m going to continue as though you’ve read it. I hope you did, otherwise this may not make sense.
So how many things on the list do you do?
It’s amazing how much our fears will hold us back from expressing our wants and needs. As well, the means we will go through to be able to get them met in coercive ways! Seriously. When I talk about this usually people think.. oh.. rape.. I don’t do that. I voice my needs.
But that’s the EXTREME end of the not voicing wants and needs spectrum. There are so many subtle ways that we still strive to meet our needs without voicing them. It’s not good. All that does is breed a place where it’s not safe to say what we mean and not trust others to voice their truth. That’s not a comfortable world to live in at all.
Ok, ok, so we gotta voice our needs and not desire smuggle them. How in the heck do we do that? Practice. Start with the small stuff. The funny part is that for most people, they are so used to shoving down what they actually need and feel that it can feel like there is nothing there!
So one of the best ways to start getting in tune with this is to really tune into our feelings. Why? Because that’s where our boundaries are. Heh. It allll comes around. If we’re not in touch with our feelings then, we have a harder time knowing that our boundaries have been crossed, so we therefore cannot voice our needs about them! It all comes together.
So lets talk about feelings.
Some people really don’t like going here. Which begs the question… Why?
Were you told not to? Did those around you share them violently? Did you learn to shove them down to please others? To fit in? To be “cool?” Yeah, we all have reasons. Now we get to figure out how to reconnect with ourselves.
Why in the world do we want to do that?
So we can have self regulation and emotional competence.
Damn. We went from touchy feely to like heavy sounding terms. What the?
What do these terms mean? They essentially mean; to be able to recognize our emotions, and if they are related to a current situation or a past one, and the ability to take action based on these emotions in a way to seek resolution. So, in short, acknowledging what we are feeling and doing something about it if needs be, so long as what we are feeling is about the current situation.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how hard that can actually be. That means actually talking to the people you’re angry at and expressing why in a constructive manner that allows for resolution. Or any other emotion. Imagine, your co-worker has done that thing that makes you pissed off, AGAIN. They should know by know how much it irritates you, yet you’re not sure if you’ve actually told them about it. They must know, I mean you keep slamming stuff down afterwards onto your desk or not talking to them. They must know how much it irritates you.
Seem farfetched? We do this all the time. We assume our body language clearly communicates our needs and that others can read it. But we’re all coming from different places and experiences. Let alone have different forms and levels of brain development. Besides the fact that often in our lives others are not strictly paying attention to us so they don’t catch the body signals we are sending. Words. We have them. We gotta use them.
Our ability to use our words to express our needs and what we are going through is key to our ability to self regulate. This is, to regulate our needs and be able to do something about them. Imagine you’re so sick that you need someone to cook for you. Well, being able to feel safe and secure enough emotionally to ask for help to do that is a powerful thing. Being able to ask for help in the areas that we need it, no matter the level of need allows ourselves to actually regulate our world better.
When we’re getting our needs met we’re not going from emergency to emergency. We’re able to relax and address things with time and patience because we’re not running ragged all of the time. Imagine someone was to ask you, during a time of crisis. “How can I support you right now?” How would you respond? Would you be able to say what you need? I invite you to voice what that would be. Often. Voice “If you wish or are able to support me right now, I need ______” without expecting it in return. Try little things. Being open to understanding that others may not be familiar with this idea, or even that other may not be able to support you. Which in the long run may give you a great indicator of whom is a supportive influence in your life and whom is not. When you voice these needs, I invite you to uncover if they are hard lines. That is, if they cannot support you in that way, what will you do? Do you need space? What will you do if the person is not going to give it to you?
These are deep ideas. It may seem like a simple concept. These are things that many beings whom have had their boundaries constantly violated eventually face. The point of action based on boundary violation. We know our boundaries have been violated based off of our emotions. Anger, Fear, resentment, ect.. These can often arise from a boundary that is violated. Often it can be due to it not being expressed, or, in very unfortunate circumstances, it has been expressed and gets ignored. That is a dangerous realm.
Take time, get an understanding of what your needs are, what you’re boundaries are, and how good you are at expressing them. Often, as we’re able to express our boundaries more, it allows others around us to feel more comfortable to do the same.
Want some help working on your boundaries, or connecting to your emotional self? I gladly explore that work. For a small dose of exploration try the Personal growth package want to go all out? Try the Personal Overhaul Package. Take a look on the “What to expect page” of my website and scroll down to the packages for a further description of what these packages entail.
Thank you for reading and being a part of this journey with me.