Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Can't Give What I Don't Have...

Remember a few months back when I did a series on Boundaries? (If not here are a few of the links:  basics, active process,burnout-1, burnout-2, laws of boundaries-1, and laws of boundaries-2)

So, a quick reminder of boundaries: Boundaries are like invisible property lines that define what is me, and what is not me. What "is me" (what I am responsible for) would include my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions (behaviors). I can't make others be responsible for mine, and I can't take on the responsibility for others. Doing this is to have poor boundaries, and will lead to unhealthiness in our self and in our relationships with others. We can't have a truly healthy relationship without having healthy boundaries. 

    “You may need to set boundaries on people in real need. If you are a loving person, it will break your heart to say no to someone you love who is in need. But there are limits to what you can and can’t give; you need to say no appropriately” (Boundaries, p. 250).

Over the course of the last month, I saw a lot of conversations in blogs and on twitter about "self-love" and taking care of ourselves. The problem with boundaries is that they can seem selfish. However, we only have so much that we can give before we run ourselves into the ground. I always tell my clients "You can't give what you don't have." If you are going to pour into others, then you need to poured into to be refilled, so that you have something else to give. Without being refilled, we will run dry fairly quickly. So, while it seems selfish to say no to people sometimes, I believe that it's one of the most loving things we can do. Yes, we may be giving a little less in the moment, but long term we'll be giving a lot more. And, if we hit a point of burnout (links to information on burnout at the top of this post), then we can't give anything to anyone else around us. 

How do you set limits in life? Do these limits feel selfish? Any examples of limits you have to put in your life to keep you healthy?

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