As a child I was incredibly shy and self-conscious. My family was quite "different" from the other conservative families in the mid-upper class neighbourhood in Houston that I grew up in. In grade school my mom had blue hair and hairy armpits. She dressed differently with her unique punk style, she spoke differently with her quasi-English accent and she certainly behaved differently. At the time I wanted nothing more than to fit in with all my school-mates.
In my effort to belong I conformed to the norm as best as I could but lost myself in the process. As I get older (I turn 40 this year!) my journey it quite the opposite – I'm trying to discover who I am and what makes me unique.
I'm learning to be myself fully and respect and honor who that is. This is the goal of my yoga practice – to discover who I am and to be that person fully. However, those deeply embedded tendencies to mold myself into who I think I should be and do what I think I should do still emerge. This shows up as agreeing with others when I feel differently or not standing my ground with what I really want.
When we're not clear about our values, we end up overstepping our boundaries. We need to know who we are and what we need in order to be clear about where to draw the line.
When we don’t set good boundaries we end up frustrated, angry, and our self-worth eroded. We are telling ourselves: "my needs don't matter and I'm not worth standing up for myself". And then we end up in a vicious cycle of losing ourselves as we people-please and over-commit.
So how do we get out of that self-sabotaging pattern and start setting strong boundaries?
I really believe it starts with radical self-care. With tangible daily practices that reflect self-respect, self-love and self-honoring.
By taking good care of our bodies, minds and spirits through feeding ourselves nourishing food, giving our body the rest, relaxation and sleep that we need, through movement and exercise that make us feel strong, flexible and powerful – we start to build a deep respect and appreciation for ourselves. In doing so we become less tolerant of that which doesn’t serve us and we naturally start to set stronger boundaries.
It starts with us taking a stand for ourselves. It starts with the realization that self-care isn't selfish – it's a beautiful display of gratitude for this body, mind and spirit that we're gifted with. It's a radical act of stepping into our worth. Self-care is an embodiment of self-love through daily habits.
Setting boundaries with others has to start with us. We have to commit to our own practices before we can ask anyone else to respect them. We have to give ourselves what we need before we can ask anyone else to meet our needs.
If you want to consciously create daily self-care habits to feel nourished from the inside-out – join me for my 6th round of Align and Thrive – yoga health coaching. In 10 weeks we build the 10 foundational habits of thriving health and happiness. If you’ve struggled with creating self-care routines and rituals in the past, I've designed a step-by-step process that guides you through building healthier habits with the accountability of a supportive community. If you want to find out if it's right for you, set up a free 30 min chat with me here.