‘The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefitting from you having none’
I have seen the above quote a few times on Facebook. I usually write in line with empirical research regarding Positive Psychology, but within the spiritual practices I belong to, if you see something more than three times, you need to pay attention to it. This is the reason why I feel empowered to write about boundaries.
Our modern culture has nearly everything on instant mode. This can sometimes make our lives easier. However, regarding our time it means that everything seems like a priority but you only have the same twenty-four hours a day to complete everything. So, this quote got me pondering that time is precious and how much our thoughts and emotions contribute to this notion of time.
Seligman and Positive Emotions:
According to Martin Seligman (2011), Positive Emotions is the first element in his Well-being Theory. It was also part of his original theory – Authentic Happiness. Positive Emotion is linked with the pleasant life. Positive Emotions are also connected to the research of Barbara Fredrickson. Fredrickson (2011), research suggests ten Positive Emotions: Love, Gratitude, Interest, Pride, Inspiration, Joy, Serenity, Hope, Amusement and Awe. Tugade and Fredrickson, (2004) state Positive Emotions can undo the harmful effects of negative emotions and promote resilience. They are also one of the key ingredients that promote flourishing.
Coming back to the theme of boundaries. During the first lockdown when most things in life were restricted, I found I experienced a reflection process where I was reviewing all aspects of my life on a much deeper level than I have previously because I had the time to. I was still working full time as a teacher but life had slowed down for the first time in such a long time, it allowed more time to savour moments and to really consider how my thoughts impact my well-being. When you are constantly busy you almost put yourself on autopilot and mender through life on this frequency. The Pandemic helped shift this process for me. I am more aware of when my body is saying ‘No’, and I will try and give it the rest it needs. I am more aware when my emotions are hindering me and I take the time to reset, so I experience more of those emotions that are enabling, the ones that create joy and inner peace.
Emotions are our Internal Sat Nav:
I am a strong believer that my emotions communicate my internal world. When the negative ones set in, I try and work out what is needed. Sometimes it can be as simple as my body needs more sleep or I have had a few days where I have not provided my body with nourishing food. It can also be that I have been indoors too long working and I need fresh air and a walk-in nature. I find my emotions lead to the more negative when there is a lack of balance between work and home. A lack of exercise, because I have convinced myself I don’t have enough time. I am late home from work on a few consecutive evenings and grab quick food and my habit of cooking wholesome meals is forgotten. For me it is all about the habits you create in your life that either direct you to flourishing or away from it. Your emotions are a great inner resource to tell you how you are shaping your life.
Therefore, the quote above that the universe kept sending, in this instance was not about how I set boundaries with other people, but how I set boundaries with myself and how quickly I let go of all the things that keep me well when other things come up. The habits which no longer serve me get upset when I put the necessary changes in my life. They were benefitting a previous version of me and sometimes it takes a lot of energy and willpower to make the required changes. The word balance is very important and I believe my emotions, my internal sat nav lets me know through positive emotions when I am in balance and through negative emotions when I am imbalanced or need to change.
I find that when I am authentic and serving my true self, setting boundaries with others becomes easier because the hardest person to set them with, is yourself.
Read more about Kelly Seaward-Ding and her other articles HERE
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’