Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Setting Boundaries

Many people have trouble setting boundaries. How often does someone we know say something that hurts our feelings? How often do we know that they will say that exact thing that hurts our feelings? This is considered ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ and ‘Mind Reading’ (pg 9 of The Feeling Good Handbook). Once we understand that we are twisting our thinking by jumping to conclusions about what someone will say we can work to reverse it.

Today my Husband called a few people to come out and give us estimates on new garage doors, some electrical work we need done and new windows and doors. This was very exciting and definitely needed. I want to tell my Mom about this, but deep down I ‘knew’ what she would say…I could already hear it…”it’s about time”. While I love my Mom she can be slightly negative at times, but them whose Mom isn’t? I know I am at times with my kids and am working on that.  I almost didn’t call because I knew I would be upset or annoyed by the time I got off the phone. So I decided to set a boundary with her. When I called her I said “I have some news, but you are not allowed to say ‘It’s about time’ when I tell you the news”. Then I blurted it out and she didn’t say what I thought she would say, or anything for that matterJ. Then I said “isn’t that great?” and she chimed right in that it was. I know it just about killed her to not say what her first thought was, as a matter of fact she said something like that, but she survived. And I came away from the phone call feeling proud of myself for setting the boundary, excited that Mom was happy for me and hopeful that I might have taught her a little lesson too. Consider the other way this call could have went. She could have said what I thought she would say and I could have either let it slide or said something back to her. Neither would have made me feel good. By pre-planning this I was able to make this phone call a positive one. And it really only took a moment or 2 to plan.

Next time you jump to a conclusion about something that you ‘just’ know someone is going to say I challenge you to set a boundary for that person. How do you know if you are jumping to conclusions? Do you say “It won’t do any good” or “That’s just the way he/she is” or “It won’t change anything”? Those are all Mind Reading twisted thinking and setting boundaries will help reverse those feelings.  It can be done very nicely and respectfully. We need to teach those around us how to treat us. The more we let someone talk negatively to us, the more we are teaching them that it’s OK. It will take time and work to change this, but it can be done…one step at a time.

What do you think? Can you do this?

Sha :)


  1. I am going to try. I do this all the time with my husband. Sometimes I delay telling him something because I am jumping to conclusions about what he will think.

  2. This one will be hard for me. I don't want to hear the negativity or be quizzed about a decision I made. Not because I question my decision - I just want to hear a good ole fashioned "good for you!" positive comment.

  3. Just catching up on some posts. Talk about mind reading and predicting the future - check out my post OMG My kids! Enough said.

  4. I find I have been postponing the exercises but since it is now Friday and the next "lesson" will come Monday I guess I have to get busy. It's amazing how when faced with something emotionally difficult how many other things become so important but I don't want to give up this early in the game.