Saturday, October 12, 2013

Commitment and Understanding Your Boundaries

Cover of "Boundaries (Fireside/Parkside R...
by Autumn S O'Connor

So I was supposed to meet a friend yesterday, but he cancelled and rescheduled for today.

Today the time we were meant to connect passed, so I followed up. Ahh, and he cancelled. What is the lesson in this?

Whether this person really was busy or not is beside the point. Similarly, as things shift in your life, there may well be legitimate reasons for what happens to you.

Your tram being late might have been due to an accident or the road. You getting fired from a job might have been based on a restructuring.

Or perhaps experiencing a burglary might have been due to an offender's mental illness ... it matters not what the "other" thinks or feels or enacts - this is about you. Your learning (and wisdom) comes from YOU.

I strongly believe things happen in our life for a reason. And the reason, you ask? It is to learn. It is actually THAT simple. You're here to learn, and from your learning become wise. From your wisdom you can teach, and so the cycle goes on. 

Why are lessons not clear?

When we experience an event, sometimes the lessons are not clear. This is due to getting "caught up" in emotions and thoughts of either the past or the future.

If the person or event triggers you to focus your energy anywhere but in the present, you have lost you groundedness and ability to critical analyse the situation.

This might be because the person in question is from your past, or that they remind you of a past relationship. Or that the person makes you think of a future you'd like to create (romantic/ business/ etc).

What is the importance of the "Here and Now"?

Being focused in the present allows you to think clearly. When you look at the present moment, you can assess things as if they are facts. Then you can draw on your past experience and wisdom, and make good decisions on the way forward.

It also allows you to notice your feelings and thoughts in a kind of "witnessing". By witnessing, or watching feelings and thoughts, we can see what drives them. Most of the time it is fear, but it good practice to notice the changes in feeling and what they are connected to.

For example, to me, a cancellation with a rescheduling as follow-up is professional, considerate, respectful, honest and willing. I am more likely to accept this situation and this person. I am present in the moment.

I feel a bit annoyed that there was cancellation, but open to the new time. The rescheduling demonstrates the other person values me and the appointment.

However, a cancellation that is not initiated by the person cancelling (unless I follow up), and then their response to my follow up does not contain a rescheduling is one is find unprofessional, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. Hence, I am less likely to accept this situation and this person.

Now they seem unreliable, unable to commit and unwilling to see a way forward. I am present in the moment. I feel annoyed that there was a cancellation. I notice my thoughts are connecting past experience with flakey friends to this moment. And I notice I feel disregarded as they did not advise a rescheduling.

As I notice my feelings and thoughts, all I can do is be aware of the connections that come. I do not seek to change my reasoning, but becoming aware of the connections allows me a greater freedom to clarify my perspective on the matter, and to make GOOD DECISIONS moving forward.

Note - this kind of situation happens A LOT in dating. Generally though, women don't see the clear and obvious signs that "he's not into you", and they pursue the man in question. What I'd like to add here is that with dating (and honestly with any situation like this), the non-commital behaviour demonstrates that the other person doesn't value your time as much you would have valued theirs. And that fact alone now changes the relationship.

So, what could be the learning from experiencing a flakey friend?

Well, flakiness is basically a lack of reliability. This person is prioritising their life and you're not on the list.Boundaries become clear when you know what matters. You must know yourself and strongly believe in that point to apply a boundary with confidence.

Most people don't like flakey friends. Most people place a value on their time and their company. So what is the value? What exactly, for YOU is the line that's crossed when someone is flakey?

For me, it's about respect. For me, respect is showing kindness, openness and willingness in thinking of others. Specifically, respect is where someone else demonstrates to me that I matter to them.

Where our paths cross, there are things I expect of a person. From a stranger, I expect very little. But when I know someone, or they are interacting with me in a more engaging manner, my expectation of receiving respect grows.

The learning of experiencing a flakey friend comes from defining your boundary value. Because your boundaries show you what you accept and do NOT accept in your life, you can see what matters to you, and the details of that one point.

Take some time to think of your boundaries around flakey friends. What matters to you?

Write out your boundary value statement. It ought to look something like this:

I will not allow anyone to violate my boundaries. My boundaries are based on respect. To me, respect can only be demonstrated in actions. I respect myself, and I deserve respect from others.

To me respect is: Reliability, Trust, Honesty, Openness, Willingness, Moving Forward, Considerateness, Commitment, Kindness, and positive follow-through. A respectful person shows these characteristics and honours me and my time and my company by showing that I matter to them.

Your boundary value may not be "respect". It might be trust, or love, or honesty. Your definition of the value may differ to mine, and that is all okay. This is an exercise for you to gain clarity and move forward with a healthy self-love approach to life.

So ... next time, flakey friend? No way!

Learn more about how to set healthy boundaries, live an empowered life, and be a radiant woman:

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