This is from a student dilemma and question that I answered recently by email that might be helpful to those of you who are struggling with setting boundaries with friends and family. If you are having challenges in getting your professional work done, and feeling guilty for having goals that mean you don’t have time for everyone and everything at all times of the day, maybe you will find the post below helpful.
Questions that came up for the student:
–Why do people send me an energy whack when I set a boundary about having time for my work?
–Once I have set a boundary protecting my time to do my professional and creative work, and I get some space, I feel guilty, then I feel despair. I need to follow my passion but it looks like I’m going to lose valuable relationships. Why bother doing the work then?
–I have so many emails to catch up on because I have been working on my project, that I will never get to them all. I feel bad, irritated, overwhelmed. How will I ever get everything done?
Your personal and professional boundaries are entirely reasonable.
Energy whacking happens sometimes when you create or express boundaries. Take it as a validation that you are making some progress in your boundary setting, and let the energy whack go. The ego wants to make a story, the analyzer/logical mind wants to solve a problem. The spirit wants to create. Energy whacking is what people do sometimes– a form of unconscious communication, it’s normal. It’s done to illicit a reaction from you. You can just re-communicate the boundary, forgive them and move on. Or you can give them what they want which is your energy and attention. Every artist, creator and writer has to have boundaries or nothing gets done. Every professional counselor, energy reader, consultant, has to have them or you will lose so much energy, time and money, that you will despair and quit or at least painfully procrastinate.
As far emails, some emails only need a few imperfectly written sentences as a reply. If you are procrastinating on replying, why? What is it you think you have to do that is unpleasant? Do you really have to do it, whatever it is? Maybe you can answer the email only in the way that you want to answer it. If an email request is just a request for your energy, and you only give a short response, do you go into guilt? Is the email asking you for so much that perhaps this person needs to book a session from you? Do they need to be a paying client rather than someone manipulating their way to a long email freebie from you because they neeeeeeeeed it so badly and you’ll feel guilty if you don’t give them a big chunk of your attention and energy? Manipulation is common, it’s just a technique people use when they think they can’t have what they really want. You can teach them they can have it by calling them on it in a polite and professional way and offering them a private paid session. Isn’t that an opportunity to set another boundary?
True friends will stick with you as you grow and become more authentic to your spirit. Families adjust. But nobody true to you enjoys or wants your guilt. If you have a precious amount of time to spend with friend or family, don’t bring your guilt. It’s selfish and a game we have learned that robs us of quality time and communication even if you’re really feeling bad. Your guilt is all about you. Your guilt can be your way of manipulating a response from someone else and making them responsible for you feeling better. Which in turn makes them feel wretched and perhaps even guilty when they don’t want to take responsibility for your happiness. And on and on. Don’t let guilt games win and instead express love, express something that will help everyone get on a fresh page or new picture. Guilt is always born of a control picture, one way or another. So, congratulations, you found a control picture that pops up when you set boundaries. As for having despair that you cannot have success without remorse, regret, guilt…. That is a bunch of hooey. Success means learning to enjoy your success too and good communication and boundaries will help you and your friends and family enjoy your success more.
By the way, anybody who requires your guilt in order to move on, is playing a game. Spotting a game is another opportunity to set a boundary, and step out of the habit of playing that game.
When you are in guilt, take control of the communication that has been invaded by a guilt picture. Communicate with your friend or family member from a higher level vibration and say what needs to be said.
It’s been quite a challenge for me to set some work boundaries and get my _______ project going! but I feel this ________ is something so important to me because_________ my passion/ life’s work etc etc…
I apologize for _________ ….missing our coffee date…. etc
Your friendship is important to me_______ I value you_____. etc
Thank you for your ________support etc ____while I’m growing my business/trying to finish________etc.
The above might be the wrong words for you, it’s just an example, say it in your own words, but the gist is that you take charge of your communication, and speak from your heart and your crown chakra.
When you own that something slipped by you, and you are sincere, loving and communicative —not guilty or wretchedly miserable– you can both move on. If you are feeling guilty and resent having to apologize when you slipped up, then you are still stuck in guilt, and guilt and control WINS. It has now sucked you of quality time, good communication, fun, and made you feel crappy. Success for guilt, and now guilt reigns supreme. Guilt is not the same as being accountable. What your loved ones want is to be heard, seen and for you to be accountable to the truth of the matter, whatever that is. If the truth of the matter was that you forgot all about them for example, or that you just need a little space but you’ll be back, respect them enough to speak the truth. They will know you are truly their friend when you don’t lie to them.
Being ‘wrong’ or imperfect is human. But making a mistake or being imperfect is not about being wrong. Hating being wrong or imperfect–which we all are– is weakness born of fear, and a sign of insecurity. In other words it’s about being controlled by pictures which contain lies. Some of those pictures keep us thinking we are just a bad person. Wrong is just not a word to label yourself with too much or something is off balance. Be careful not to identify with who is right and who is wrong. This can divide people, as we know, and it can become a conflict that nobody wins. It becomes about competition, which is based in fear, which leads us right back to the control picture. What’s left after you blow the control picture is communication, negotiation, love, forgiveness. We are all capable of of these things.
Lastly, it is possible to apologize even when you have done nothing ‘wrong’ and you are just sincerely sorry to see your loved one in the illusion of pain. You can apologize without taking responsibility for someone’s pain. You may think you are being asked to take responsibility for things or pain that you did not cause and that can make you despair too. But programming for responsibility is the other side of guilt, same game. You can only be responsible for your own communication. That alone is huge, because if you can take conscious responsibility for your own communication, you can change your world.The guilt -responsibility programming loop is what so many women are fighting to get out of because it can keep us paralyzed and unable to create anything for ourselves. It’s worth exploring and noticing when you are on that endless loop, that uncomfortable hamster wheel, and jump off.
There are more friends and good clients available out there if you lose a few along the way. I’m sure your friends and family will recover from your boundary setting. Clients will respond to boundaries, they have guilt pictures too, they don’t consciously want to use people, and they need you to tell them how to treat you. They will value you more with boundaries in place. You will spend so much more time and lost money on clients who don’t respect your boundaries. Allowing clients and friends to demand too much really says something about your relationship with yourself. Setting boundaries is about self-respect and self-love more than anything else. So, be proud that you have taken this step to set some boundaries. Have courage! Imagine that when you set boundaries that you are teaching those around you to do the same. Don’t you feel better when your friends or colleagues boundaries are clear to you?