Monica Parikh, School of Love NYC |
I believe boundaries are the most important topic of our generation.
A failure in enforcing appropriate boundaries—and consequences—is fueling a virulent problem of narcissism and criminality. Boundary violations range from bystanders who film violence instead of intervening to political leaders who are completely unaccountable to their tax-paying constituents. We see boundary violations in employers who engage in unlawful conduct and treat employees as fungible. Boundaries are violated in our personal lives as well. I know of a man who texted his fiancée to cancel their wedding and then ghosted on a five-year relationship.
Boundaries are particularly difficult for women. A lifetime of social conditioning to “be nice,” first in childhood and then by patriarchal structures, makes it challenging to find our voice and speak our truth. But not speaking our truth is actually the greatest transgression against the self. With continued practice, we recognize that our feelings exist for a reason—and that we have the right to take care of ourselves emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally.
As you journey toward healthier boundaries, remember these truths:
1. Create space to feel.
We live in a culture that rewards “thinking” and “productivity” over “feeling.” However, feelings are extremely important! They signal deeper intuition. Make time daily to turn off electronics, quiet the noise, and tap into your inner feelings and truth.
2. Pay attention to your intuition.
As you become more attuned to your feelings, pay close attention to moments where your intuition is ringing. This is usually a sign that a boundary has been crossed. In the beginning, simply develop awareness. Who adds to your energy? Who is robbing you of vitality and joy? Remember you have a right to be happy every single day.
3. Stay out of the FOG.
Many of us are conditioned to act out of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (i.e., the FOG). The result is giving to others from a place of depletion and resentment, which negatively impacts your emotional health.
4. Ask whether you’re rewarding bad behavior.
As you set boundaries, reward good behavior and punish bad behavior. Not sure if you’re inadvertently confusing the two? Ask a friend or work with a coach who can strengthen your resolve to act in alignment with your values.
5. Always strike when the iron is cold.
I always caution my clients to cool down, especially when tempers are running hot. In some cases, it takes days to get to an emotionally steady place where you can speak calmly and succinctly in a way that others can hear.
As you make progress on allowing yourself these truths, you’re preparing yourself for relationships that have healthy boundaries. This means having vulnerable and real conversations, handling conflict productively and peacefully, and developing empathy for alternative viewpoints. Healthy boundaries also let you forgive past hurts and open your heart to love. Establishing appropriate boundaries—and enforcing appropriate consequences when those boundaries are violated—enable you to create compassionate connections with lovers, friends, and family. You’ll find yourself speaking truth with undeniable power.
The cornerstone of my work—and the most important class in my curriculum—is Boundaries Make for Better Relations. I teach clients how to: (1) identify their feelings and needs, (2) set consequences for inappropriate behavior, (3) speak calmly and succinctly, and (4) break free of compliant behaviors that lead to depression and anxiety. If you want to strengthen your emotional intelligence to develop healthier relationships at home and work, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be my pleasure to guide you.
Monica Parikh was a guest speaker at Empowered Women Brunch in January 2020 and January 2018. She uses behavioral psychology, law, and spirituality to teach people the art of relationships. Learn more about her business, School of Love NYC, on her website.