A PRIMER ON BOUNDARIES (AND WHY WE NEED THEM)
JEANNINE MOGA, MA, MSW, LCSW Chief Happiness Officer, VETgirl, LLC
3 ALIGN YOUR DECISIONS WITH THOSE VALUES, GOALS AND NEEDS – ALL THE TIME Get clear on the difference between capacity and willingness: just because you technically can do something doesn’t mean you should or have to . Make sure that every ‘yes’ is minimizing the risk of later resentment and anger. When we are working out of alignment, we are giving people consent to breech our boundaries… and that makes us miserable in return. 4 COMMUNICATE CLEARLY AND CONSISTENTLY Boundaries cannot be honored if their presence is unknown -- remember that invisible fences box us in more effectively than they keep others out! Once you determine what you want, need, and are willing to do (and not do), it is your job to communicate that, preferably early and often. The dictum that we must manage expectations on the front end of any process applies here. If clients know that you will return calls at the end of the business day, this helps them recognize there are boundaries on your time. Likewise, if they are told at the beginning of a call that you are dedicating the next 5 minutes to addressing their questions,
they will not be surprised when you wrap up that call at a hard stop. Boundaries that are communicated well make us more efficient and more effective. 5 MAINTAIN AND ENFORCE YOUR BOUNDARIES We do this by rehearsing how to say “no” clearly and kindly, which helps develop the muscle that allows us to sustain that “no” even when discomfort, judgment, and vulnerability start to rise. It’s a big ask, but it’s an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal. It’s never a bad thing to front load boundary enforcement with gratitude (“Thank you for that suggestion…”) and emphasize it with alternative choices, when available (“I don’t see appointments after 6pm, but I can offer you my next available opening or a Saturday morning slot with my colleague, if that works better for your schedule.”) Above all else, remember that sometimes it is necessary, appropriate, and compassionate to wiggle a bit (like when a trusted co-worker asks to swap shifts or trade appointments in order to respond to a family emergency). When people already know and
respect our boundaries, the choice to flex is ours – and the feelings that come from flexibility are more positive on all sides. Healthy boundaries make saying both “Yes!” and “Sorry, that’s a no” a lot more comfortable, in both process and product.
Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker