The most commonly missed boundary

Hey friend!


Last night we did a workshop on boundaries with the Happy Vet Society members. 


There was an underlying theme during the majority of the workshop that I wanted to share with you today.


During the workshop, we discussed several different boundary situations. We talked about how to respond when “friends” (aka random people) message us asking for free veterinary advice. We discussed how to handle constant contact and questions from staff on our days off (especially when there’s other docs in the building). We also chatted about setting boundaries around appointments, how many to see and what to do when short staffed.


And we found a common thread throughout these situations: Our need to people-please, and our guilt when we don’t!


Boundaries are one of the most important things we can implement to truly transform our lives.


But the thing that is so often missed is that there are two kinds of boundaries: internal and external.


External boundaries are the ones we usually focus on. Not checking that email after hours. Ignoring those messages from people we never hear from unless they need vet advice.


Internal boundaries are more subtle. We go into detail in these inside the Happy Vet programs but I wanted to give you the basics today.


Internal boundaries are the boundaries that we have with OURSELVES.


For example, do we let ourselves feel guilty when we set a much needed boundary, or do we remind ourselves that we are worthy and deserving of having rest and true time off?


Do we get frustrated with ourselves when we can’t do ALL the things and have to set boundaries, or do we recognize that we are human and give ourselves some compassion, again recognizing that we are worthy and deserving of rest and relaxation?


Do we beat ourselves up internally, talking to ourselves in ways we would never speak to a friend or a child (our body hears everything we say to it…) or do we set a boundary with ourselves that we’re going to treat ourselves just as well as we would treat others?


Do we let the guilt just eat away at us, or massively overextend ourselves so we don’t feel guilty, or do we remind ourselves that we deserve to be our first priority?


Here’s the catch.


Unless you’ve done work on this before, your neurological pathways are WIRED to make you feel guilty, to make you want to please everyone. That was a survival mechanism back when it was a matter of life or death if we got ourselves kicked out of the cave!


But you no longer have to worry about getting kicked out of the cave.

The survival mechanism now needs to turn into: How can I best take care of myself, in this busy world that requires endless busy-ness and productivity? What boundaries do I need to set to not get burned out, and how do I not feel guilty about those?

So we start to wire new patterns in our brain. Instead of guilt and people-pleasing pathways, we start to wire pathways where it’s easy to say “No” without guilt, where it’s easy to put ourselves first.


And once we get those internal boundaries in place, the external boundaries become even EASIER.


Does this make sense? Let me know which places in your life you’re going to work on a boundary this week?

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