First of all, can we talk about how it is almost March? I know we have a lot going on with a new baby and a move but I feel like 2021 is full steam ahead! I probably should have written this post back in January when that “new year” mantra was really ringing true but if 2020 taught me anything it’s that every day is a new day. There is no reason to wait to make a change, set a new goal, shift your mindset or set boundaries for yourself – every day is a new day to do whatever the hell you want!
George was born January 6 and I had made a plan to really let myself settle into his newborn-ness and slow down. Before the holidays I told Dave that I was going to scale back, accept the shifts and changes that were coming and not put so much pressure on myself to be sharing, capturing, focusing, etc. I reached out to my managers ahead of time and told them I would not be signing any new contracts until March, I told Carolyn that work would be slow aside from some maintenance here and there and my whole team was on the same page. It was something I went into with no negotiations and it was kind of liberating!
In an industry that thrives on constantly sharing, there is power in not. I’m finding more and more authenticity in listening to my gut and not filling your feeds with content that ultimately is keeping you from living your life. That’s why I love this website so much. It’s always here for you, there are always posts you can refer back to or bookmark. There is no rush to view in 24 hours, instead you can grab a cup of coffee and always play catch up. I have felt this change coming over the past year as I’ve really worked to set healthy boundaries for myself.
I think a lot of times we fear setting boundaries because we feel that it sets us back. Someone else will get the promotion, a brand will seek another partner, your engagement or audience will forget about you and so on. But that rat race causes burnout, resentment, discouragement and the inability to do anything well. I felt this so hard at the end of 2019. I remember dreaming up wellness month in March of 2020 because I personally needed a reset. Then the world crashed and we all literally had a chance to sit with our lives and see what areas needed help or support. 2020 was a tough year but it was also a huge year of personal growth for me and that’s because of boundaries.
Letting go of the fear that someone else will take your place. The fear that you don’t have enough, that every moment needs to be filled, that rest is for the weary or if you’re not showing up then you’re not doing enough. The boundary is what sets you apart from those in the race.
A few questions that I would ask myself that made me realize I needed to set some boundaries:
Does doing X make you happy?
Are you filling your time with something that fulfills you?
Does doing X have a positive or negative effect on other areas of your life?
Are you showing up as yourself or someone else?
If the answer to one of these or all of these is a YES, then you need to set some boundaries for yourself. It’s hard to tell you what those boundaries should be because our lives are all different! For me, it’s noticing the patterns that have a negative effect on my life. Here are a few of mine…
Fear of Disappointment
Comparison comes up for me a lot in my job/social media. Unfortunately there is no cut off point and since this is my job, boundaries are essential. I’ve learned that it helps me not to consume other people’s content and instead just focus on my own. The more I consume, the more I compare and end up creating inauthentic content. And say your job has nothing to do with social media and you go to get inspired but still feel those tings of comparison – then mute the people that don’t make you feel worthy, give yourself breaks and focus on what’s in front of you instead of what’s behind a screen.
Fear of disappointment is a strugggggle for me. I’m a people pleaser and always want everyone in my circle to feel loved and supported. But this causes major burnout for me and this feeling of failure when I can’t be everything to everyone. Sadly this happens quickly and I get super discouraged. My boundary for this looks a little different. I make plans, I check in, I send a quick text to let them know I’m here if they need me! And then I let it go. And if that feeling of “oh no, is she mad at me? did I do something wrong?” creeps up, I address it! I bring the feelings of fear and failure to the surface. I’ve gotten really comfortable with myself over the past year that I’ll often tell myself outloud (I do this often!) – “you’re doing great! we are all at different phases of life, any lulls doesn’t mean you did something wrong, we are all playing catch up, we are all busy! focus on yourself.” Little pep talks help me overcome this fear of failure or disappointment.
Guilt! Oh man. This is very consuming for me and sort of corresponds with the fear of disappointment. But more so in my personal life. The guilt can be all encompassing! It never feels like I’m doing enough as a mother – being present, playing with them, soaking them in. Guilt that I’m not giving Dave enough, guilt when I don’t keep the house clean like I think my family expects it or that the dinner I made is too similar to the night before. Guilty that we are moving or that someone feels like home here in Chicago isn’t enough. Guilty that I wasn’t a good enough friend. Guilty that I let you guys down! That I missed a reoccurring question or that this space doesn’t give you enough. It can be everywhere and I’m learned that the best boundary I can set for myself in those instances of guilt is to shut it all off. Sit on the couch and let myself forget it all exists. Because it’s easy to say that what you’re giving isn’t enough but ultimately – what IS enough? What is the cap? It’s obviously something that we label in our own minds. That we have to reach or achieve X in order for that guilt to not be there. Spoiler alert: it’s always there. SO, the best thing I can do is silence it. Let myself be with my family and remember that they are the #1 priority. When I am giving myself to them 100%, the guilt goes away. You have to figure out what that answer is for you – whether it’s putting more dedicated time towards your work, your friends, your partner? For me, it’s my kids and Dave. The more time I spend being a
better more present mom helps that guilt go away. So even if setting the boundary means letting it all go and sitting on the couch with your kids. Do it!