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The Basics of Setting Boundaries

Hello beautiful people,
I wrote on Tuesday about how difficult some days are and gave a few ideas on how I’ve been dealing with them, maybe even making them a little bit better. This whole week has been a bit hard for me – I’m working through some personal stuff and learning about my limits, including what it means to set boundaries.
Boundaries are one of those things that people can get offended about really easily. Especially when it comes to setting limits with people, it can easily come across as being rude or selfish. And it really shouldn’t be that way, not if we do it with the right attitude and with a spirit of love.

Setting Boundaries

Recognize a Need

I’m not talking about someone you don’t like and just don’t want to talk to anymore. Unless you have a deeper intention behind it, that’s probably bordering on being a little rude. But recognizing when someone is a constant drain on your emotional and mental health or understanding that unless you can agree to disagree there should probably be certain topics that are off-limits? That’s totally okay. It’s one thing to do things that are uncomfortable or out of our comfort zones sometimes and a completely different thing to allow anything and everything into our lives – that’s unhealthy.  Certain situations just need to be worked through, others need boundaries and limits.
It’s hard to know sometimes. I totally get it. I’m the first one to question my decisions in these kinds of situations and I tend to waffle back and forth before making up my mind completely. Just remember – that thing I said about a spirit of love? That thing helps qualm those uncertainties and fears 99% of the time.

Know Yourself and Your Limitations

Have you taken the time to understand yourself and your own limitations? That can be key to knowing how to handle external influences. There are certain areas of life in which I have set boundaries for myself – not because of other people exactly, but because I know what my triggers and weaknesses are, which enables me to avoid situations and circumstances that will bring out less than my best.
It’s so easy to blame other people for our own lack of self-control or whatever the problem might be. And I don’t say this to let everyone else off the hook because I think everyone should be working on being the best version of themselves. But the reality is that we don’t have the power to change other people. We CAN work on ourselves. And by demonstrating good self-care and setting boundaries, we can actually help others more than we might think. But first and foremost, it’s about knowing our own limitations and understanding who we are.

Know What To Do

When it comes to the actual process of setting a boundary, that’s where it can get a little tricky. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the easiest things you can do is curate your social media feeds. You don’t necessarily have to block people or whatever, but there’s a lovely little “unfollow” or even just a “mute” button on Facebook for the times you need it. (Not that you should only be seeing the people who agree 100% with your opinions, but some people have no concept of limits or useful discussion and that serves nobody.) It’s the little things sometimes.
Other circumstances aren’t nearly so easy though. Sometimes it’s choosing not to go somewhere where you know you’ll be around someone who always seems to push your buttons. If and when you can handle being around that person again, you can re-evaluate that limit, but especially if you’re working through something and you know that talking to that person would undo the progress you’ve made, maybe its best to just stay away for the time being.
I am the QUEEN of ghosting people, but I’ll also admit that it is not a healthy way to deal with things. Something I have done before though, is responding to someone when I’m in the right frame of mind and then muting or hiding them on my phone so that I don’t have to handle the conversation until I’m ready. Don’t feel the need to respond to everyone right away.
Doing something similar in person is a lot harder and I’m still learning how to handle that. For me right now it’s been holding my tongue when other people are having a conversation that I have strong opinions about if I know I’m not ready to discuss things fairly and properly. Sometimes it’s leaving the room. Both of those are getting easier to do, and something I’m trying now is what I call “exiting” a conversation. If things are getting heated or frustration is building up, there should be no shame in saying, “This conversation isn’t healthy for our relationship. Why don’t we come back to this when we’re feeling calmer and more in control of our feelings?” Being firm and actually walking away if needed would be the next step.
Sadly, there is still a lot of judgment passed on those who choose to set boundaries for themselves. It can be hard to hear that someone doesn’t want to speak to you, I get that. But, again, we’re not going to change each other’s minds by having a yelling match. Choosing to have a calm, insightful conversation is much better. And if someone isn’t capable of talking about certain topics without getting hateful or judgmental, then the consequence may be distancing yourself for a little while, as painful or hard as it may be.
Is there an area of life that you feel could use some boundaries or limitations for your own emotional or mental health? What’s holding you back from setting that boundary?

Love and kindness,
I’m always here for you.

 

Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, mental health, 0 comments

starting fresh

Hello dear readers,

The last few posts I’ve written have felt kind of heavy. Usually, I try not to do that many in a row, but between the world lately and everything I’ve been working through and processing internally, it would have felt fake to try and post something more upbeat or lighter in nature. That isn’t to say that I’ve been depressed and miserable for the last month. It’s actually been quite a good summer overall! But I do try to write about the real and the raw aspects of life, and things have definitely been VERY real lately.

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

So the short version of the story is that I’ve been doing a lot of internal processing lately. 2020 has been a really strange year and I’ve found myself breaking out of the box I had previously put myself into in so many ways. I’ve found the courage to state my opinions and beliefs, to actually speak with people more boldly than I ever would have before, and it has been really really freeing. But in the same breath, it has been so very hard because I overthink every little thing and having disagreements with people is something that I have always avoided with a passion.

But I know, in my heart, that I’m not making mistakes in my life, that I’m just coming home to myself and owning who I am in a whole new light. I’m recognizing my faults and my bad habits and in doing so, I’m motivated to overcome them. I’m focused on loving the people around me, and in doing so, I’m learning how to love myself all over again. I’ve had the right intentions for so very long, but I’ve been blind to how I was blocking myself from really reaching my dreams or how I was dividing and hurting other people, which was the exact opposite of what I wanted!

Tracking my moods and my habits in my planner has been absolutely invaluable in helping me realize when I’m being selfish and when I’m being selfLESS, two things that get tangled sometimes in my mind (odd as that may sound). Making my opinions known is different from arguing with someone and in trying to stand up for what I believe, I was becoming resentful and bitter, all because I was going about it the wrong way. (I’m still figuring out the right way for ME, so I’ll keep you updated lol.)

I’m getting used to saying it out loud, but I’m a very empathic person. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time, and I’ve really come to terms lately with the fact that I was not dealing with it very well at all. I never truly understood how much my empathic tendencies were taking over every minute of every day, or how much I was feeding off of other people. And that isn’t healthy. Not at all! I’ve had to take a step back from people in general and do some work on me before I can even think about helping others in the same way.

There are a lot of things that have contributed to me being in a place to write this blog post and a lot of things that I want to discuss moving forward, but I’ll get to those in the future. All I want to say right now is that I am deeply sorry if I have hurt or offended anyone. I never wanted to spread anything but love and I’m so upset that I’ve done otherwise. My beliefs may not change, but I am working on changing my actions, which I hope will become self-evident.

I won’t be posting this Friday and it’s deliberate this time, not just because of a hectic schedule. I need some time to recharge and I’m also way behind on planning blog posts for the rest of 2020. So I’ll be working on that as well. But next week is August and I’ll be back full force!


Much love and lots of light to everyone,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, Lifestyle, mental health, Setting Goals, 0 comments

Therapy Experience

Hello beautiful humans and dreamers,

I’ve spent the last week in a lot of thought, taking in the social situations that the world has been dealing with. I’ve been listening, learning, understanding more and more about other people. It’s been fascinating, saddening, enlightening, and a whole host of other things, but I’m happy, in a way, that people are actually having hard conversations and standing up for other people. I have felt the need to stay quieter than normal, to allow others the chance to speak while I listen, and it’s been a much needed time period. I’m going to return to my regular posting schedule now, with a lot more awareness and empathy.

The easiest way to describe my blog lately would be as a mental health platform. I use it mainly to talk about ways to deal with mental health issues, to advocate for better care, break stereotypes, and create more dialogue about these chronic issues that plague our society. Just under 50 percent of all Americans will experience mental illness in some form during their lifetimes, yet there is still an immense amount of stigma surrounding their experiences.

One of the starting points for most people dealing with mental illness should be to see a counselor, therapist, or psychologist. But less than 35% of people will actually take that step. And many people, even if they do see a counselor or psychologist, will avoid talking about it to others because they are afraid of being judged.

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I saw a mental health counselor while I was at university. I went almost every week for about four months. I was finally referred to a wonderful facility after the Tiny Princess was born, and started seeing my current therapist approximately 2-3 months postpartum.

Even though I had been in therapy before, it was difficult to go back. It was just as hard for me to take that step and accept that the extra help was actually needed. Now that I’ve been going regularly for almost 6 months, it’s a lot easier to discuss with others.

Going to see someone is not a cure. Not in any way, shape, or form. Some psychologists or psychiatrists do prescribe medications or other therapies that can help, but right now there are no true “cures” for mental illnesses. That is a whole different topic, however…

There are plenty of times when I don’t feel like going (or logging on, in the current COVID situations, all my sessions are through video chat) or I think that “oh! I had a good week, I don’t need to talk to her yet.” In reality, sometimes those are the most productive and important sessions of all. When I’ve had a good week, it can be incredibly insightful to talk to someone who can decipher what was different and how I can replicate that in the future. On the days I “don’t feel like it,” she can encourage me to work through those feelings and come out on the other side with new strategies and fresh motivation. It doesn’t really matter what mindset I have going into a session though because it’s always good to be able to talk to someone who is there to listen without judgment and is 100% focused on helping me find a way through it.

It’s easy to think that going to see a counselor or therapist means giving up on yourself. It’s easy to think that you’ve failed and can no longer do things on your own. In reality, it’s the complete opposite. It takes strength to say “I need help.” It takes courage to face the issues in your mind and work your way through them and having someone to coach you through that struggle can only help.

Everyone faces different struggles and each of our minds work just a little bit differently, but I can honestly say that seeing someone who is trained in mental health can be the first step towards understanding yourself a little bit better. I might not have regular panic attacks or be drowning in depression like I was in the past, but the benefits that I’ve seen from my weekly sessions are enormous nonetheless.

I’m going to write up some more informative posts in the future about finding a therapist and possibly tips for getting the most out of a session, but for now, I simply wanted to share my experience.


Love, light, and kindness, particularly to those currently being oppressed,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life of a Writer, Lifestyle, mental health, 0 comments