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by Lisa Anderson Shaffer, LMFT
June 6th 2021

In this newest THEORY segment I discuss BOUNDARIES. Hooray! The cause of and solution to everyone's problems. Boundaries are one of my favorite things to think about. I've had a lot of pr... More

Hi friends and welcome to Joy is Now the podcast where we take a psychologically minded look at life. I'm your host, Lisa Anderson Shaffer, coach consultant and resident psych enthusiast. Joy is Now is sponsored by listeners like you visit Lisa Anderson Shaffer dot com to join the community and become a one time or recurring patron of the podcast. Yeah. Why boundaries are a courtesy psychology and the B word. People love to talk about boundaries. There are volumes of books, pop psychology articles and about a million Tiktok videos of perky smiling faces pointing to well versed buzzwords set to music. All about how to create boundaries and great. Yes, to all that. As I've said, I do not care how you come to be curious about psychology, jesus Oprah Tiktok, it's all good. However you find yourself here awesome. The truth is boundaries feel hard and yeah, they totally are. Boundaries are basically the cause of and solution to all of life's problems.

So just tell me what to do about them In video form in seven seconds or less and please set it to music preferably pop. Yeah but sometimes though shit takes work. Sorry not sorry. And boundaries take work in all the ways setting boundaries involves being assertive, decisive and most of all the ability to withstand being tested over and over again. And that's hard for people being tested when it comes to boundaries is exhausting both emotionally and physically. It just makes us tired in all the ways where I find the hilarity and boundaries is that the effort and hard work exists from both sides, boundaries setting boundaries having boundaries takes two people, two opposing forces, a boundary setter and the boundary pusher just like a playground teeter totter with boundaries. There is someone on both ends of the equation and this is what is usually left out of the conversation about boundaries.

It takes two and this is pretty important. Often when a boundary is set, the person setting the boundary has to be grounded in a certain amount of tenacity and resolve to hold it. And inevitably the person who comes along as an unwanted teacher making us flexor boundary muscle, applies the same amount of hard work to get us to move that boundary. Imagine that we are all working hard. In truth. I kind of find few things more entertaining than this moment and I'll say this about the teacher, the boundary pusher, they're most likely unknowing the change. They are asking for the special attention, They seek that little thing they want, that no one else who plays by the rules you've set gets that big red flag. They are flying high and wide. They are usually unknowing in their ask. It's a deep down thing, Freud would say unconscious and in general psychology theorize is that this need to push is actually a need to relate, connect, get close, but past experience has our wires crossed and when we push on boundaries to get close we actually end up pushing people away.

Imagine this is your experience, it's confusing and awful and really frustrating relationships are hard to make sense of, it's not a great place to be in. And many of us, depending upon the circumstance, can find ourselves here pushing away what we most want, what we most need and this is hard to and also exhausting like soul hurt, exhausting boundaries make everyone work hard. Boundary pushers will not get what they want and need and boundary setters are left having to hold the line for their own wellness while that is being tested by someone and yuck that is hard. But also thank you. Unknowing teacher boundary pusher, we need your test to simply get better. So thanks. But also you may be a little insight would do you some good because boundaries feel hard, pull most of us out of our comfort zone and can make us feel like we threw up in our mouths a little. We tend to think of them as a bad thing, like we are screaming into the wind, what we need. Sometimes a boundary can feel like taking away, preventing halting, making smaller instead of expanding.

And in truth, boundaries are our greatest expanders. Boundaries provide safety. People test boundaries to determine safety animals test boundaries to determine safety. Oh my God! We are animals. I totally forgot. One more time people test boundaries to determine safety. Are we a safe person? Is this a safe situation? We all get so outside of our heads sometimes that we need to push really hard against something to test if we can manipulate someone, make them move. What we are really saying is can this person see through my shit? Is this person safe? What we actually want? Deep down inside is to hear and know for someone to hold the line not to make an exception. The cool boss where it's all good. The rad mom with no rules. Hells no, the actually cool person in charge does know sometimes. And the cool mom, you're not doing your kids any favors being in charge, beat at work or at home is all about safety first. No, is hard and tested. Oh so very often but it's really important and wow, if we're not really really good at providing these tests, like constantly we all do it.

Me too. In fact, I'm so good at pushing boundaries, it should kind of be on my resume. The difference is I have done the work to recognize it and honor the boundary that has been set most of the time respect, acknowledgement then change is possible. Also I'll say my accuracy rate for this boundary recognition makes me far from immune to being an unwelcome teacher. I'm not even close to 100 but we all have to start somewhere. So what's the takeaway here? How does all this fit onto a screen put to pop music that sits in the palm of your hand? Easy remember this boundaries are a courtesy. We extend each other one more time, boundaries are a courtesy. We extend each other. If you set a boundary you care if you respect a boundary, you care. And the best part is we can all begin to move forward with that respect right now because if you think you are either a boundary center or a boundary pusher, guess what? You're both hooray we all have that in common. If we all do it now and then if we all have the capacity to both set and push, then we can all begin to take notice, begin to respond instead of react and be thankful for the boundary together.

So to all the boundary setters and boundary pushers good work. Y'all we did it. Now let's promise to do the work. This has been Joy is Now with me Lisa Anderson Shaffer, L M F t. You can find me for hire at Lisa Anderson Shaffer dot com along with patron support for this podcast and the These Three Things project. You can also follow along with my musings at Lisa Anderson Shaffer on instagram. See you next time.

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