Can you all read the writing on my whiteboard mosaics? I’m aware my handwriting is not the clearest and this photo is kind of blurry…
We’re still talking about holding boundaries. Here’s some of my thoughts about it from this week…
Brooklyn Museum Trip
We went to the Brooklyn Museum yesterday! It’s one of my favorite museums in New York in part because the Visual Archives area. I love how eclectic the collection there is and it’s so cool to see a random collection of lamps next to statues next to tea kettles next to chairs next to ivory carved miniatures…
I’m grateful for trees and the beautiful weather and the blue October sky and patience for working through things and my fellow ALFs and double-field-trip-weeks.
Hold Your Boundaries!
The first 6 weeks are done! I spent some time this weekend reflecting on where we’re at right now, as a community, and the biggest challenge I see people grappling with is holding boundaries. What do I mean by that?
What is a boundary?
A boundary is a limit. Knowing your boundaries means that you know the limits of the things that make you comfortable. When you start to feel uncomfortable, anxious, or stressed, in an interaction with another person, they have probably crossed one of your boundaries. I like the suggestions in this article for figuring out where your boundaries are.
What happens when you don’t hold your boundaries?
The most immediate consequence of not holding your boundaries is unhappy, upset, or resentful feelings. The secondary consequence is insecure or frustrating relationships with others. Both lead to the breakdown of trust and feeling of security that are necessary for our community to thrive.
If you don’t set firm boundaries, don’t articulate where your boundaries are, or you let people cross your boundaries without consequence you will probably feel angry, frustrated, or resentful. Resentful is when you let a frustrated or angry feeling build up inside you until you feel ready to burst with it! Recently, I let this happen to me with a person that I love. The result was that my resentment built up and built up and built up until I couldn’t deal with it anymore, and we got into a big fight where we were yelling and screaming at each other on the street. It was awful, and I still feel bad thinking about it.
If you don’t tell people your boundaries, the consequence is that they won’t know that they’re making you uncomfortable and will probably continue to do the thing that is making you uncomfortable! If you tell someone your boundary but don’t reinforce your boundary when they continue to break/push it, the consequence is that you’re sending that person mixed signals about your boundaries – they will probably feel confused about where your boundaries are and continue to break/push them and make you feel uncomfortable and start the cycle all over again.
But I don’t want to be mean!
The number one reason I hear people at school give for not holding boundaries is fear of being mean or upsetting someone. It’s true that sometimes, holding your boundaries can make other people unhappy or even angry.
Here’s the thing: if you don’t articulate your boundaries then you are resigning yourself to being the one who is unhappy or angry. You allow the threat of other people’s feelings to rule your life. You won’t feel safe or secure in your relationships. By not articulating your boundary, you aren’t giving the other person a chance to change the behavior that is upsetting you, but you are guaranteeing that they will continue to do the thing that is making you uncomfortable!
Often, it’s not enough to just set a boundary – you have to hold it. If you tell someone your boundary but don’t reinforce it every time someone pushes or breaks it, you’re sending that person mixed signals about your boundaries. They will probably feel confused about where your boundaries really are (they’re not in your head, after all, and need your feedback to know how you’re feeling) and will continue to break/push them and make you feel uncomfortable and start the cycle all over again.
Setting a boundary is not being mean. Setting a boundary is clarifying what you need to be in relationship with another person. Setting a boundary is showing others how to be kind to your self.
Holding boundaries can look like…
…saying “Stop” or “Stop rule” when someone is doing a thing that makes you uncomfortable, and explaining to them what you need them to stop: “Stop rule on following me, I need some space right now.”
…articulating “if…then…” statements to illustrate where your boundary is, and how you plan on reacting if it is crossed: “If you keep ignoring my stop rule, then I won’t play with you anymore.”
…explaining your boundaries before you start a game so that other players know how you want to play: “Let’s play dodgeball, no headshots allowed.”
I broke my streak by not posting this on Friday! I am bummed. My mosaic isn’t as detailed as it has been in previous weeks – blogging time got cut short and our energy was very raucous so it was hard for me to focus enough to finish.
Bob Ross Update
He sprouted and made a friend!
Poem of the Week
Just as relevant today as it was last week – thanks Shel!
(if you click on the image you can see a larger image!)
My other blog post from this week is here
[The writing in this blog post is an excerpt from a Free Write I just did with Iphy, Hannah, and Doug. I will explain the rules of Free Write in another blog post… but not today cause I’m running out of time…]
I can feel the muscles in my hand straining and sore (have I written so much or just put too much pressure on it? There’s a metaphor there). My hand muscles and face muscles are sore as I relearn the feelings of their regular use – my flute embouchure has gone to crap (sorry about the language but it’s true – I used to be able to do 2 octaves of chromatic-scale longtones before I got fatigued and now after just a few notes I hurt).
I am thinking about skills that take muscle practice in part because I was talking to Serena earlier about lifting and how much I miss it. My body still hurts from Wednesday’s game of Shark Tag. Even though the stiffness is kind of a pain (pun possibly intended) I am trying to mentally frame it as something positive: a reminder that the micro-tears I am causing in my muscles with practice will heal stronger and grow my endurance; that ignoring my body does not make me disembodied; that I am more powerful when my being inhabits more than just my head.
Here’s this week’s mosaic!
This summer I discovered a new reflective tool that I love: done column mosaics! They’re exactly what they sound like – you take all the stickies from the “done” column of your Kanban and make them into a mosaic (maybe doodling between them, maybe not, maybe writing reflections between them, maybe not…). I like that it’s a flexible medium for seeing what I’ve accomplished; as a self-reflective human, I’m always interested in what Past Mel was up to, as a Virgo, I hate the redundant work of rewriting things from my Kanban and as a serial-notebook-keeper I don’t like to leave things out of my personal records because then I won’t know that I’ve done them! Done column mosaics have been the answer for me, and so here’s this week’s!