It’s become apparent to me over the last few weeks that the main focus of 2013 (in my reality) is going to be the subject of “Setting Boundaries”. It keeps coming up in many of my clients’ lives, albeit in different forms, and it’s an issue that I’ve frequently and recently revisited, as well. A lot of this LOA work is really about learning to honor our own boundaries – we have to figure out what we want and what we don’t want, what we’re NOW no longer willing to put up with, and then react from this new point of awareness. And when we don’t honor our own boundaries, when we allow others (but really ourselves) to cross our own personal lines, the result is usually a great deal of resentment and anger.
Over the holidays, I found myself having such a reaction. I was checking in on the blog, just to make sure everything was working ok, when I read some reader comments that pushed a big old anger button. I went from YAY! to wanting to rip someone’s face off in an instant. Now, full blown anger isn’t something I experience very often, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable for me. On top of that, I have a BIG energy field that has a lot of power to affect those around me. This isn’t usually a problem, since I’m a Happy Shiny Puppy so much of the time. But, when that big energy field is filled with intense anger, it generally causes those around me run for the hills. It tried to figure out what was going on by myself, but I wasn’t getting any clarity, just more anger. It took me a while to find someone who could handle my vibration without letting it affect them, so I could talk through my feelings. This is my preferred method of shifting my vibration. Usually, if I’m stuck, all I need is someone who can hold their vibration while I talk my way through whatever’s going on. If they are stable enough to hold their energy in a high place in my presence, my willingness to feel better will cause my vibration to rise to the level of theirs and the clarity I’m looking for will show up. This process can be over in mere minutes.
Once I was finally able to find someone who could withstand the force of my anger without letting it affect them, I figured out what had triggered me: I hadn’t been honoring my boundaries when it came to the blog. I’d let some readers cross my lines, and that had triggered quite an ugly reaction within me.
But why would I do that?
I’ve often stated that I don’t allow people to attack each other or me on this blog. People can disagree, but they must do so respectfully. It’s a good rule. The only problem was that I hadn’t been enforcing it. Sure, blatantly hateful comments went straight to SPAM – that decision is always an easy one. But what about comments that are kind of borderline disrespectful? What about when someone’s comment is a mixture of helpful debate and contempt? This was the line I needed to become more aware of. My emotional reaction was telling me that the way I’d been handling these comments was not in line with what I wanted.
What I want
The vision of what I want this blog to be is twofold:
- First, I want this to be a place of learning, where those who are seeking answers and who resonate with my particular style can find clarity about the Law of Attraction, what they really want, why they haven’t gotten it so far and provide practical, implementable tips to help them finally achieve their dreams.
- Second, I want this to be a place of upliftment, where a community of likeminded people come together and help each other to feel better.
Those are my two biggest goals, and, for the most part, I think we’ve nailed it (you and I). But, it’s clearly time for some fine tuning, and that’s what this post is really about: Fine tuning my boundaries. I’ve decided to share my experience with you, because not only will the outcome of my fine tuning affect you, but you might find the whole exercise useful when it comes to setting your own boundaries.
It took a series of comments with varying degrees of nastiness and controversy to help me define exactly where my own, personal line was (this would be the contrast helping me to define what I want instead). And, I think I’ve finally figured it out.
My resistance – the thoughts that messed it all up
I discovered that I had some subtle yet meddlesome thoughts and beliefs that weren’t quite in line with my goals. Whenever a comment came in that was subtly attacking someone, I was reluctant to just remove it for several reasons (that were not apparent to me until just recently):
I didn’t want to shut down people who disagreed with my point
The Limiting Belief: I wanted to give a voice to all those who disagreed with me, and didn’t want to be seen as censoring anyone’s opinion. Wasn’t it more enlightened to allow everyone to speak their mind?
The New Perspective: Well, that was a bunch of Bullshit. It’s not more enlightened to let everyone speak their mind, regardless of their agenda. This game isn’t about allowing everything into our realities and finding a way to feel good about it, but rather about figuring out what we want more of and selectively focusing only on that. Given what I want this blog to be, it’s not necessary or even helpful to allow all opinions, no matter how they are expressed, to be heard. There’s a big difference between saying “I disagree, and here’s what I believe instead. Isn’t that interesting?”, while trying seriously to understand all points of view and allowing then all to be valid, and “I disagree and you’re wrong for believing what you do.” The former is totally allowed on my blog. The latter is not, no matter how subtly the “You’re an idiot for thinking that way” may be disguised.
The way I see it, this is a party at my house and you’ve all been invited. We’re all coming together to get more clarity and to feel better. It’s an oasis of sorts. Now, if someone comes into my living room and turns into a douchebag, I’m going to ask them to leave before they ruin the whole party. Plain and simple. If someone starts to complain and nag and spew negativity, I’m going to ask them to stop before they bring everyone down. Otherwise, I’m forfeiting the whole point of the party. I’m no longer willing to do that.
I didn’t want to be a bitch
The Limiting Belief: Ok, this one wasn’t all that big anymore, but it was present: I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. People put a lot of work and time into drafting lengthy comments and I didn’t want to just render all that effort irrelevant with one mouse click. Didn’t I owe it to them to leave the comment up?
The New Perspective: I reminded myself that it’s my reality, and the only reason these borderline comments had shown up in the first place was to show me that I needed to redefine my boundaries more clearly. I had attracted those who were a match to that experience in their own way, but it wasn’t up to me to manage their experience. If someone’s going to get offended by one of my posts, my images or my rules, I really have no control over that. And really, no one is forced to come to my blog. I’ve never quite understood why anyone would seek out a blog out of the infinite number of pages they can go to, just so they can disagree with it. Why not go find something that they can agree with, instead?
If someone has put a lot of effort into writing a hateful or negative comment, they may have gotten a great deal of value out that process alone. I’m not negating that value by not allowing it to be published on my blog.
I’m also confident that as I define and honor my boundaries more, the number of comments I’ll have to remove will decrease. That particular manifestation won’t be needed anymore. The message has been received, thank you very much.
I didn’t want to deprive people of the value of contrast
The Limiting Belief: This third belief was the biggest obstacle for me. Since everything provides value, I wondered if I should deprive people of the value that they got out of being triggered by each other. An argument is simply an escalated manifestation of something neither party is aware of. They might be getting mad at each other, but they’re really reacting to their own thoughts. Wouldn’t it be better to allow people the chance to be triggered so that they could then work through their reactions? Wasn’t I actually providing MORE value by allowing the comments to stick around?
The New Perspective: While it’s true that everything provides value, trying to cover the entire spectrum in one place is insane. There are already plenty of places out there on the net where people can trigger each other. But there aren’t that many oases where people can come to get clarity AND upliftment, all in one place.
People’s resistance will show up, no matter what. They will manifest it – the Law of Attraction will make sure of that. But I don’t have to raise my vibrational hand and volunteer my blog to be a place where huge amounts of resistance can manifest. That’s never been my intention. The value I’d like to provide isn’t in the trigger phase, but in the clarity phase.
When I’m having a reaction of my own, I seek out a vibrational island – someone so steady that I KNOW I’ll feel better just by being in their presence, so I can find my center again. I’d like this blog to be an island like that for you, and I’d like you to be islands like that for each other. The world is filled with triggers, and since the frequency of the problem and the frequency of the solution are never the same, it makes no sense to try and cover both bases at once.
The House Rules
So, bearing that in mind, I’ve come up with some house rules. I’m posting them here for all to read, and I am hereby making a commitment to myself and to you, to enforce them consistently.
- This is a place of learning. If you’d like to answer someone’s question (and you’re totally encouraged to), please remember this: Their question is perfectly valid; they’re not stupid for asking it. Providing clarity for someone else is a privilege and a gift; when you tap into Universal Intelligence in order to access the answer they are looking for, it brings you closer to Who You Really Are. So, in a way, they’ve done you a favor for asking a question you could answer. Answering someone else’s question always provides value to you, as well.
- This is a place of learning. If someone has answered your question, keep in mind that a stranger has taken the time to offer you their guidance. If you don’t resonate with their answer, that’s ok. Every interaction carries a gift for you, if you’re willing to see it. Look for the gift.
- If you’ve found yourself being offended by something someone has written (me or a reader), remember that your reaction is about a thought you’re having. Don’t place the responsibility for how you feel on others. If you need help working through your emotions, you’re welcome to ask for it by sharing your reaction (but owning it). Otherwise, keep your reaction to yourself. Simply stating “I’m offended” helps no one, not even you. Using the moment of offense as a growth tool, on the other hand, helps everyone involved.
- If you disagree with something someone has written (me or a reader), and you find yourself wanting to respond, stop for a minute and think of what your intent behind the response is. If this different viewpoint has caused you to clarify your own and gain more clarity, please, by all means share it. If you’d simply like to share your own, equally valid point of view, in order to offer yet another perspective, you’re invited to do that as well. If, however, you simply want to declare the expressed opinion as wrong, and then tell everyone what the “right” way to look at it is, please keep it to yourself. No one here is saying you’re wrong if you don’t agree with something written here. If you think it does, that’s your belief.
- Discussions and debates should focus on the topic at hand, on ideas (with the intent of furthering them) and points of view. There’s no need to comment on other readers, their character, or the WAY they expressed themselves. WHAT they said is much more important than HOW they said it. In other words, you can criticize ideas, but you don’t get to criticize the people who expressed them.
- And now, for the (probably) most controversial rule: If you’re having a bad day (or week, or month, or year), this is a great place to come to feel better. This is not a place to come and complain about how horrible your life is. It’s not a place to come and bitch and whine and let it all out. Go let it out someplace else, like a journal or by taking a walk. Then, come here and feel better. “I hate my life and here are all the reasons why”, is not helpful to you or anyone else. “I hate my life right now and am really trying to feel better. Does anyone have any uplifting words for me?”, on the other hand, will bring the love of the community flooding down upon you, and will serve everyone involved.
Practice what I preach
I get that these rules might make you wonder if I want all my readers to pretend that they’re happy, even when they’re not. But that’s not the goal. Just as I will not listen to my clients go on and on about how much they hate their jobs without stepping in and getting them to focus on something that will serve them better and align them with what they DO want, I won’t let the community on this blog perpetuate the energy of what they don’t want. Ultimately, it’s a bit of tough love. I can’t, in good conscience, preach that feeling good is the way to go, and then let people bring each other down in the comment section. And I encourage you to help each other by gently but firmly reminding each other not to kill the cat. 🙂
Back to Happy Shiny Puppyland
As soon as I defined my own boundaries more clearly, my anger completely dissipated and I quickly regained my happy shiny puppyness. I’ve since gone through the blog and removed quite a few comments that broke the House Rules. I’m certain I didn’t catch all of them, but I promise to do better from now on. At this point, I’d also like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being here and playing with me. This isn’t just a happy place for you, it’s the same for me, and that’s because of you awesome people. I really want to do right by you, and I want nothing more than to continue to make this community better and more valuable. Will you help me?
What do you think of the House Rules? Can you apply any of my lessons learned to setting your own boundaries? Share in the comments!
I’m new to your blog, but several posts were helpful tonight. I’m looking for some help. I’m an empath, and I’ve chosen to go into mental health counseling, where that gift is very useful. I realized (again!! or maybe just had to acknowledge) I was an empath as my counseling skills progressed, and my counseling skills have improved as I’ve worked with my empathic abilities. A win win! I’m usually pretty good with my boundary-setting and realizing when feelings are mine or someone else’s.
OK, all sounds great so far, right? Here’s the problem. I have a co-worker who started deflecting all her negative emotions to me sometime around the end of the year 2012, and it took me a while to figure out that was happening, because when I would sort of pinpoint her as the source, I would ask, and she would deny she was feeling anything, and “act” all happy and stuff, so I would doubt myself and think it was my issues. Now, I don’t normally distrust myself when clients deny something I feel/suggest/explore, I figure they’re just not ready to face it and drop it. But, my co-worker is a therapist as well, and it is getting weirder and weirder to deal with this. I’ve also had other co-workers who notice something is ‘going on’ with me and this co-worker, but not sure what it is. I met with her 6 weeks ago and had a long talk about this, letting her know I’m empathic (not those words), and that her energy is affecting me at work. We talked about the possible sources of her negative energy, and that she may need some help herself (I had already gone to talk with a professional therapist several times to clarify that it is more than something in me simply being triggered). I actually still struggle that it may be something in me in conjunction with having difficulty deflecting her energy. I’ve pinpointed some things in me, but usually awareness of my own struggle helps me in the moment that the other person’s negative energy affects me. Not so in this case. Also, this doesn’t have the ‘acute’ feel of a trigger, it’s much more a pervasive, heavy blanketing feel.
I feel like apologizing that this is a long post/question, but I don’t know who else to talk to about this. :o)
SO, here’s the problem, and I’m not even sure how to state this, but I’m going to try. It feels like she is having all this out-of-control energy that I have difficulty with, even when I’ve tried to shield it, or send it back her way (to have her take responsibility for it), but I have to open myself up to do my work the best way I know how, and it is difficult to open and close myself like that between and around clients, and by the end of the day, sometimes, I don’t have the energy to keep ‘fighting’ her. Not to mention that I hear her laughing and talking with other people, as I’m struggling to get up from the floor (literally – I work with kids) because of the intensity and heaviness of the energy sometimes, and it really makes me doubt my sanity!
In addition to this, the situation feels like a game or something. Like, on the surface, she looks all happy and things are great, but underneath, she is flowing her energy out to me, and I end up looking negative with all that negative energy. Not that I’m being rude to people or anything, but just that I’m not able to be my normal happy friendly self when I’m 1) shielding myself on alert all the time, and 2) feeling the horrible negative energy that is smothering me, and I’m barely hanging on to stay functional. So, I don’t like it that I end up looking like the one who is in a ‘bad mood’. I have enough of that stuff on my own, I don’t need hers added to it!!! :o)
The other part of the problem is that I am starting to believe that she is intentionally placing her energy on me. Originally, when I talked with her, I wasn’t sure she knew what I was talking about – even with mental health counseling, energy talk is ‘out there’. But, since we’ve talked, I get a feeling that she does know, is finding it hard to believe that I’m “on” to her, and doesn’t care – is just trying to get things back to the way they were before when she was dumping her energy on me and I didn’t know it was hers yet, so I was taking it and dealing with it as if it was mine, which means it got dealt with. Great for her, not so great for me.
Since I’ve realized that a large part of the energy is hers, and done my own work, and tried to put up my boundaries, I’m not sure how to function with the “what’s next” part. When I’ve taken in people’s energy in the past and worked with it as my own, that is one thing. I can do that, it physically hurts my body. I am in pain for days, weeks, etc. but it’s usually resolved. I don’t want to do that anymore. But, now what? If I’m not taking in that energy and dealing with it, and I’m not seeming to be able to release it, what’s next to try? I did get some ideas from another post – about grounding the chakras to the earth and skies, as well as another grounding idea that I can try (stone in pocket, or a lime as an object to focus on – I’ll even start carrying a lime around). But, this seems to be an ongoing issue on a daily basis. I was even out of town for a week last week at a work conference, had no problems, got back to the office today, and within one hour, was struggling again. I recognize that I’m trying to convince you that it’s not me. Not sure what to do with that. Your limiting beliefs really resonated with me, Maybe that is one of my limiting beliefs, that it is “me”, which is part of why this is so difficult – even though I see that this is a problem with her, it’s really difficult for me to place anything outside myself- I’m too accustomed to taking everything in as mine, and working with it. I like your answer to Eve above, that we can set boundaries but not necessarily verbalize them, but it’s not like I can just walk away from this person – it’s my office!
Anyway, it has been helpful talking this out here, so even if you don’t reply, that’s ok. But, if you have some info or suggestions, I would be really appreciative.
Also, I’m interested in finding someone to help mentor me – I’d prefer in person, but not sure how to even start. I’ve googled energy work, etc. in my city, and haven’t really come up with anything. So, again, any suggestions would be awesome!