14. BOUNDARIES AND REDIRECTION
Mary: I am here with Chris and we are talking about boundaries. Hey Chris, can you introduce yourself a little bit to us?
Chris: Hi, Mary. Thanks. I’m Chris Dyer. I am a coach, speaker, twice published Amazon bestselling author and some compilation books. Have two of my own personal manuscripts in the head, getting ready to put ’em on paper, including a children’s book. But I’m also a highly creative multipreneur, I have two creative businesses, which helps serve adults with special needs in our respective community. So I feel very full and fulfilled with all the work that I’m doing and showing up in a big way. So thank you for having me here and having this discussion.
Mary: Thank you so much for being here. Well, let’s talk about boundaries. When you think about boundaries, tell me what kinds of thoughts or questions are coming up for you.
Chris: Well, honestly, before I really started doing my own self-work and healing, boundaries for me was a thing that was keeping me away from people. People were putting up boundaries and walls to protect themselves and to keep me out, and I really didn’t have an understanding of why, and I sort of took it personal. And that’s an opportunity for you to get your feelings hurt. Now when I’m done my own work and have had to build some boundaries for myself, I look at boundaries more as a framework of how to construct our own houses, if you will. And boundaries are not intended to be walls, to keep people out. Right? At least not from my perspective. I consider it a framework and so that allows me to compartmentalize people, situations, different projects, different things that I’m working on in my business.
So like, you’re building your mansion, each room has its own four walls and you can go inside of those rooms anytime you want to, and then sometimes you need to close the door on your family. When you have your goals that you’re working on, and they’re very special and near and dear to your heart, creating those boundaries allows you to ask for what you need, meaning time to be left alone, even if it’s for an hour and lets those people know like, you know, I’m not unavailable forever just for a short amount of time. That allows you to compartmentalize your time effectively and doing the things you need to do, not only in your business, your relationships, but also for yourself. Some of my most important frameworks are around the intentional friendships that I’ve created and making space for that. So that’s my outtake on boundaries for now.
Mary: Yes, I agree. Boundaries are not walls to keep people out. They are the way that we stay healthy and keep people in and feel comfortable and protected in our own space. I wanna get back to this idea of when someone has a boundary that impacts us. Someone else’s boundary impacts us. And how sometimes that doesn’t feel great. Right? Can you tell me a little bit more about your experience with that?
Chris: Yeah. Now that I know more, I can perceive it from both directions.
Mary: Well, maybe before you knew more, what was that like before you knew more?
Chris: Ok. So the before version of me would consider boundaries like cinder block walls and are keeping me out. Which can set you up for resentment and rejection.
Mary: Yeah. And it feels like, wait, why are they trying to protect themselves from me? Right? There’s some like pushing away of that.
Chris: Well, and so the new identity sees a much bigger perspective. Well those people have some pretty thick walls, probably because they’re managing stuff they’ve been carrying around and traumas they’re still healing and processing. So they’re not sure about how fluid their boundaries can be. So they just have that brick wall, right? Because they don’t know yet really who they can trust or they’ve been hurt too many times. So I put that on their story instead of my story by absorbing it and taking that as a rejection. It’s like, oh, really? It’s not about me. Because ego wants us to make it all about us, when in fact it’s like, no, it’s more about them and what they’re going through. And maybe I just haven’t developed enough of a trust for that person to be able to let me in their boundary and or, here’s a pretty profound understanding, taking that earlier perceived rejection and turning it into a redirection. So that person doesn’t have the time or inclination for me. That doesn’t mean I’m less worthy. That allows me to redirect my energy to people who are open and receptive to my worth and energy.
Mary: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. So I certainly have been on the receiving end of a boundary that didn’t feel good at first. Right? And I have thought, wait a minute, like I’m a safe person. You don’t need to protect yourself from me. Like, right? There’s a misunderstanding here, kind of thing, right? And I agree with you that when we make someone else’s attempt at boundary setting part of our story, when we make it mean something about us, it feels pretty terrible. You know? That’s when we feel hurt or rejected or disconnected, right? From that individual.
And I think you’re right, and I appreciate your journey in that growth in being able to say, you know, their are boundaries about them. It’s not about me. It’s based on their life experience, their expectations, their perceptions, their thoughts, their feelings. Right? And I always tell people, like, let’s give them the most generous assumption we. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that, that person is doing the best they can to manage their thoughts and feelings in their own lives and boundaries is a learned skill. A lot of times people who are trying to set boundaries don’t have the skill set to do it quite proficiently, in a way that’s gonna feel good to us. Right?
Mary: Yeah. And so those attempts at setting boundaries don’t always feel good because they may not be able to say, I love you, I’m gonna take an hour and then I’ll be back for you. Right? They may not have the skillset to be able to say that. They might just say something like, leave me alone or whatever it is. Right? Yeah. And that doesn’t feel great. So sometimes there’s a skillset to be on that receiving end that can help it to feel better. So now that you’ve been through that journey and you kind of have a different perspective on boundaries, how do boundaries show up for you?
Chris: Boundaries are the gift I give myself.
Mary: Mm-hmm. I love that. The gift you give yourself. That’s right.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Because as women we are conditioned by society, culture, gender roles, other people putting their expectations on us, and we carry that baggage of stuff around for a long time. Until we learned that, you know what, that wasn’t our gift in the first place. Someone else was projecting their fears and insecurities onto me. That’s not mine to carry and put it down. See it for what it is. It’s like, yeah, no, thank you. That’s a boundary. I had to do that 20 years ago with one of my parents. And more recently with one of my offspring. It’s like, I love you and I love me too, kinda thing.
Mary: Yeah. I love you and I love me too.
Chris: Not either or, it’s and.
Mary: Yes. Yeah. So that sentence of, I love you and I love me too, which I love that sentence as well. What does that look like? How do we implement that? How do you implement that?
Chris: You stop allowing yourself to be an emotional doormat. You learn to compartmentalize and separate yourself from the energy of that other person. Let it sit out in space beside you. It doesn’t have to be a part of you and your energy, and you can let it dissipate. Because it’s not yours until that person either cleans up their energy, then you can meld again and continue that relationship. Or you just continue growing and evolving your identity and your relationship with yourself, and then that energy never was meant for you in the first place. It just, like I said, it just kind of dissipates and goes away. It’s like people come into your life for a reason or a season. Maybe that energy was congruent for a while, until then it wasn’t. Well then those energies can separate. While you’re still doing your growth, you keep moving forward and, you know, some people maybe haven’t done the work or they’re holding onto old trauma, old trash and they wanna try to bring you down. It’s like, yeah, no, that’s not for me. Yeah, I had to do that recently, like I said, with one of my offspring.
Mary: And hows that been?
Chris: Well, it was, I was able to teach them what boundaries look like, set a good example for them. Do the same for themselves and decide what isn’t serving them or what will or won’t serve them, particularly when they’re dealing with their own offspring. Right? Or other people in their lives. By us doing the work and the healing and establishing healthy boundaries, we then also teach others that are following us, emulating us, being inspired by us to do the same for themselves.
Mary: Yes, absolutely. I love it. I love it. And I love the idea that you mentioned about what is mine and what is yours, right? So what’s my work to do and what’s your work to do. And just being intentional around, I’m gonna focus on what’s mine, and I’m gonna allow you to focus on what’s yours by me not focusing on what’s yours. Right? Yeah. Awesome. Well, what questions do you have for me?
Chris: Hmm. Well, as I’m continuing to work with people and help them heal I also have to manage, I can be a little empathic. And sometimes I can pick up on other people’s energies and physically display those. And for me it usually comes out as tears. Just because I’m highly sensitive and intuitive anyway. And not all tears are my own, but I pick up on that energy. So learning a good way as a healer myself to create boundaries around that.
Mary: Yes. So it’s so interesting for people who identify as empathic or highly sensitive or an empath or in that kind of healing space, I do hear that a lot. I hear that, you know, well, I feel for people, I feel other people’s feelings and I’m kind of in tune with other people’s emotions, and I feel that. And my question is, does that serve you? And under what conditions does that serve you? Right? So there are times when it really is helpful to have compassion for people who may be in struggle or you have a relationship with or a business relationship with, or a personal relationship with and there are times when that is really helpful to be able to understand how someone’s feeling and to relate to how someone’s feeling. And then there might be times where it’s not helpful to you. So that’s my question, is like, under what conditions does that serve you and under what conditions does that not serve you? What are your thoughts about that?
Chris: In the way that it does serve me, it allows me to display a certain amount of trust and vulnerability where someone can feel connected. And be in a place of compassion, not judgment. And you know, I’ve been told by multiple people that I just have that nurturing, trusting, open space. Kind of like the calm in the storm. Right? And that’s nothing I take lightly. I actually consider that an asset. So I’m going to keep it in the asset category and not really consider it a distraction because I have been able to compartmentalize and really focus on where am I coming from? A place of love. Right? I mean anything. I don’t know. I think I’m just gonna let it lie and not really give it a whole lot of energy right now. Because it feels really good to be able to connect with people, to be able to allow them to open up and share in a trusted space and be vulnerable.
Mary: Mm-hmm. is there any container that you wanna put around that?
Chris: I would say as long as they’re not abusing that. Let them have the opportunity to share and I can sniff out when it’s just a consistent negative energy from that person and then I will put a heavier door on that boundary. You know, people who want to help themselves, who generally are working to improve themselves, yes, there’s a space for, you know, having that flexible boundary. But when people are constantly wanting to, you know, drag other people down, drag themselves down, not willing to do the work, to pick themselves up, then that’s where the boundary has to become a little more firm.
Mary: Mm-hmm mm-hmm. Yes. Absolutely. There. I’m thinking of a quote by Brene Brown. Do you know Brene Brown?
Chris: Oh, of course.
Mary: Yeah. She’s one of my favorites. And says that empathy is not feeling for someone, it’s feeling with someone.
Chris: Mm-hmm. I like that.
Mary: So the idea of like, we’re not taking away someone’s pain or someone’s struggle, we’re not doing it for them, but we’re showing up and feeling with them. Right? Like, we’re meeting them where they’re at, we’re entering that sacred space if they invite us. But the boundary for me is that I don’t take it on as my own.
Chris: Right. Well, and I don’t think I do the same. So thank you for clarifying that.
Mary: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Back to that idea of like, what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. What’s my work to do? What’s your work to do? What’s my struggle? What’s your struggle? Right? I can show up with love and empathy to you when you’re in struggle without taking it on as my own. And I love that part of the boundary. But again, that’s a skill set. It takes some work to learn how to do it right?
Chris: Well, yeah. It’s just like confidence. It’s that muscle that builds over time.
Mary: Yes. Great. What’s your takeaway from our conversation today?
Chris: I feel confident that I have established some healthy boundaries for myself.
Chris: And you’ve been helpful with my clients, in coming and sharing your expertise. So I’m grateful for that. And I know we’ll have many more opportunities for that.
Mary: Yes. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. All right. Take care listeners.