Let’s talk about boundaries (Part 1)

“How do you do it? How do you keep yourself as composed and energetic after your session with me?”

Asked one of my clients, a week after I facilitated a 2.5 hours RTT (Hypnotherapy) session for him. And he was serious about it.

Indeed, a very good question, and one that I have been asked a lot in the past few years.

So, the topic of today is about boundaries.

Why? Having and maintaining my boundaries are key to keeping my energy and composure during an intense and unpredictable time.

Truthfully, boundaries were a big issue for me too. The lack of them, to be precise. This actually led me to a burnout in 2008. What a profound lesson it was.

In fact, it got me making a lifelong commitment towards myself to do my best to honor this concept called boundaries (it is, after all, a concept. It is not a physical fence we gate ourselves with!).

 

What is a boundary?

Let’s reflect on what is a life without boundaries.

Everyday, we start the day by waking up and getting ready. Soon after, we roll with how the world around us revolves. We “play” according to others’ needs: the deadlines at work, the people to coordinate, the task list that keeps on growing, the tantrum a child throws that morning, etc. etc. etc.

The day continues. Meetings, calls, clients sharing their problems, colleagues asking us to solve their problems, etc. Before we know it, we’re in bed at night exhausted, often unable to recall what has happened, yet feeling somewhat defeated.

Defeated by life or by the events that happen that day.

You are likely lacking a healthy boundary when you feel one or more of these:
• Exhaustion, physically and emotionally;
• Irritated easily, by someone or something, as if there is something wrong, missing, or lacking;
• Unclear, confused and indecisive. Often the following thoughts come to your mind: “I don’t know who I am anymore, I don’t know what I’m doing here, why does this situation keep happening to me?” etc.;
• Anxious, anxious, anxious, as if you are lacking time, energy, resources, or support to do what you want to do;
• Feeling ashamed, as if regardless of what you’re doing, you’ll never come close to what is expected;
• Feeling scared of making mistakes or making a wrong decision;
• Feeling guilty for having a habit of being overly helpful to others that it actually takes too much out of you;
• Feeling overly worried for others’ problems.

 

In my mind, boundary is a concept. It is a guideline created to help us feel safe and comfortable being who we are. I imagine it is like an invisible circle around each of us. Operating from this space helps us stay centered and grounded. My client recognizes it as “composed and energetic”.

This invisible circle helps us to manage how we interact with others and how to handle others’ behaviors when they cross it. Everyone has a unique set of boundaries as it is determined by our personality, values and beliefs.

There are 4 types of boundary:

1. Physical boundary.

Personality, family and cultural upbringing usually influence this. You can sense it quite easily by close observation. Reading body language and facial expressions helps a great deal. Among others, see how people greet each other, how they position each other in a group (how much space is in between them), and how they express themselves through gestures. Honoring this boundary keeps us feeling safe.

2. Mental boundary.

When we interact with others, exchange of thoughts is inevitable.

Paradox to the label, a healthy mental boundary allows you to expand yourself while feeling safe. It enables you to openly share your view, based on your conviction while also accepting that others may disagree with you. You conduct the interaction calmly. When you decide to agree with other’s opinion, you own this opinion as your own, without judgment, especially against yourself. You have a healthy dose of open-mindedness.

Lack of mental boundary makes you build a tendency to always follow others’ opinions without internalizing it. Saying NO is difficult for you.
Another form of lack of this boundary is that you easily become defensive and highly emotional in a discussion. Everything, even little things, can feel like a personal criticism or attack. Yes, being much less grounded and composed.

3. Emotional boundary.

This is about distinguishing your feelings from others and keeping them separate.

A healthy emotional boundary allows you to be present for others without absorbing their feelings. It helps you to be compassionate with others.

When this boundary is robust, you have much more energy to help others. You empower them by being available to listen (with your heart and mind) to them. In essence, you offer a safe space for them to hear themselves.

An unhealthy one often makes you react in a highly charged up way. You tend to blame or attack others or take on guilt or any negative feeling that is not yours. Such situation drains you.

4. Spiritual boundary.

This is about what you believe about God/Source/Higher power/Universe and how you live this in your life.

All of these boundaries combined are useful to have in any situation, both in personal and professional settings.

 

Why boundaries are so important?

We are at our best when we are in flow. What does it mean, being in flow? It is a state of being where the comprehensive systems we have (mind, body, spirit) work together in a natural dance, without us neither over-engineering nor overthinking anything. We often label this state creative, inspired (In-spirit), ingenious, or resourceful.

You don’t tell your body how to breathe. You decide you want to live. Your body, mind and spirit combine do the rest. Your MAIN task is NOT to disturb this so the innate collaboration works smoothly.

See it?

Boundaries help us ensure we’re not blocking our mind, body, or spirit to do what they are meant to do to fulfill our desires. It is as simple as that.

We are the sole key holders of our boundaries. External actions done by others are just triggers to remind us how healthy or unhealthy they are.
Every time we are triggered, it is a sign that we need to do something uplifting to strengthen it.

 

Why is it so challenging to keep boundaries strong at all times?

Firstly, some of us do not have the concept of boundaries in our life.

Secondly, we’re not aware that these boundaries are organic. They are alive, like we are. It is not like the Great Wall of China that stands there for hundreds of years.

We are human, with emotions, and we evolve continuously. As an adult, what is a good boundary today may not be a good one in 6-months time.

We know that our boundaries need upgrading when interacting with others brings more pain than joy. That’s a big clue. Conflict with others is actually useful as it tells us a new boundary needs to be placed. Whilst painful, it’s a tool to help you re-establish what the new boundary is.

The truth is a boundary is something that we develop overtime. We were not born with it.

Babies cry when they feel like it, to communicate what they feel and need at that moment. They really don’t care that the parents are sleeping, even if it is 2:14 AM.

Growing up, we learnt from our immediate environment what kind of boundaries there were. What was right and wrong, accepted and not.

We adopted these standards very early on in our childhood, mostly before 7 years old. We eagerly did that as a way to belong and to ensure that we were loved and taken care of. It was a way to keep us safe and alive.

The most powerful machine in our mind, our subconscious, records everything that we experienced and it found patterns of what was good and not, what was acceptable and not, what was safe and not.

Once these patterns/assumptions are set, our subconscious mind runs and powerfully influences how we behave and responds to the environment around us. Without fail. Until today.

In essence, boundaries are a cocktail of chosen beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about life mixed with our personality.

 

So, how do we create and maintain boundaries with ease?

Here are some important ingredients to a healthy and strong boundary:

1. Accept that you have the right to have a boundary.
This is the foundation. While you are a part of a family unit or a community, you remain your own person.

 

2. Accept your personality and your values as they are.
Embrace that you are an outgoing introvert, for example, and feel at ease with how you recharge your energy. Choose to act in a way that feels aligned with who you are.

 

3. Identify what emotional needs you have in your life right now.

Tony Robbins categorizes 6 human needs that everyone across the globe has in common and we all do all that we can (consciously and/or unconsciously) to meet them:

a) Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure;
b) Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli;
c) Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed;
d) Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something;
e) Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding;
f) Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others.

Take a moment to identify what you need right now.

 

4. Set your intention, based on your needs.

Once you identify which need(s), set a powerful intention for it.

What is an intention?
It is a powerful sentence that captures your deepest desire for and of yourself based on your needs (see step 2 and 3), at a particular point of time.

Here are a couple of examples:

When you want to have more “love” in your life, a possible powerful intention for you would be “I am here to experience love for myself and others” or “I am love” or “I am lovable” or “I am enough”.

When you want to feel more “significant” in your life (feeling recognized, acknowledged, unique, etc.), an intention could be “Through work, I gain clarity of what talents I have” or “I live my life loving and embracing my unique self and talents” or “I embrace opportunities to share my talents” or “I am appreciating and accepting who I am”.

An intention is inward focused.

The intention you choose will bring all kinds of experiences into your life. It also plays a role as an alarm system that goes off when an experience that you DO NOT want enters your life.

 

5. Choose for actions, big and small, that are aligned with your intention, regularly, every day.

What does an intention have to do with your day-to-day life? A whole a lot. Its most important role is to bring you back to your center when the world around you is chaotic and messy.

Whether you realize it or not, your life is filled with decisions. All the time.
How you respond and conduct yourself at any time is a decision point. When you know what you intend to allow being in your life, choices on what to go for become obvious. Much more obvious.

How you bring yourself in dealing with challenging situations at work or in your personal life would be more impactful when they are fueled by the same energy that you wish for yourself. In the examples above, it is from a place of giving love and significance.

Law of physics says action leads to reaction. What you give out is what goes back in.

When you love yourself, how you deal with others, regardless of how challenging the situation can be, will be fuelled with love. This is the REAL BOUNDARY that I am talking about.

A real boundary is the deepest desire you have for what you want in your life leveraging who you are and what you stand for. The other side of this is what you want to filter out from your life.

When you are committed to yourself and your intention, a real boundary is formed. It is an uplifting one. It is easier to let go of your needs to get something from the outside world. It is easier to say NO. It is easier to let go of the needs to be RIGHT over doing what is best for you.

What happens when you face difficulties in any of the steps above? Wait for Part 2 in the next newsletter.

Now, let me let you in on my inner world.

These days, I want more connections (with myself and others), growth and opportunities to contribute.

I decide that my intention is to open myself up for good, love and wisdom, more than I ever experienced, realized and imagined before.

I learnt a profound lesson from the burnout in 2008. I used to believe that I would be accepted and loved only when I over achieved. This was consistent in all areas of my life. I always gave more, even when not asked. My boundary then was the fear for not being loved, for feeling that I was not enough. Of course I did not realise this at the time. I delved deep, asking myself how I drove myself to the point of a burn out. The answer was clear – the unconscious fear was the driver. I had an unhealthy boundary at the time.

I’ve changed my belief since. I commit to my wellbeing over anything else. Since, my boundaries have grown stronger. I make better choices for my life. Not easier, but better. Definitely more often than not. The bottom line is that I feel grateful for my life today and excited about what is to unfold.

This is why facilitating an RTT/Hypnotherapy or a life coaching session or a workshop does not take more energy than it needs. It’s because I am clear of why I am doing it and of my boundaries. I give my best without sacrificing my wellbeing.

Makes sense?

For now, I want to know what are your challenges in keeping your boundaries and what you plan to do about it? Please share in the comment section below.

Looking forward to hear from you and see you again, latest in Part 2!

Yours,
Astuti

I am enough

 

 

What is your ritual to start your day?

Yes, your day, the one that you can not retrieve back once it passes.

 

Mine is simple and energizing.

I start my day with a meditation and prayer, followed by setting an intention for it. I decide what my life that day is going to be about and I choose how I’d feel about it.  I then fuel it with an affirmation that supports and uplifts it.

One that always does it for me is: “I am enough”.

Nooo, my day is not always free of stress. Not at all.

Life brings all kinds of things into my day, just like yours. Some days bring more than others. I accept that this is a part of my life, since I invite continuous learnings into it. Learnings do come on daily basis. It goes up and down, and up and down.

 

How this affirmation helps me is to remind myself that who I am and what I do at one point of time is the best that I can be and do at that particular moment. It dissipates self-judgement (yes, we tend to be the harshest judge towards ourselves, repeating the coulda, shoulda, woulda moments) significantly. It takes the illusionary pressure that we often put ourselves under.

 

During the day, I often take a few brief moments to take 3 deep breathes and I repeat these 3 powerful words to myself “I am enough, I am enough, I am enough”. It always gets me grounded and composed again. The best bit about it is that it takes only a couple of minutes to do so. Brief, sweet, powerful!

 

So, start your day with a clear intent and choose an affirmation that uplifts you. It makes a huge difference!

 

Now, share with us, what is your affirmation for your day today?

 

Have a fabulous day!

 

Astuti

Healthy boundary, a key to inner peace

Wishing for more inner peace in your life?

Hold and respect boundaries, yours and of others.

 

Words of the day

The Power of Crying

“I woke up the other day feeling utterly confused. Apparently, I had been crying hard in my sleep because of a dream that I could not, for the life of me, remember. It was strange because I know I am at the happiest time of my life. After years of feeling like a misfit in my corporate career life, I made a decision to quit and cast my soul back to life with things and people that matter to me. I am happier than ever. So, what was that all about?”  

 

This may sound familiar to you, it may not. One thing I am certain about is that we all have been in a moment where we are facing with a strong emotion, our tears are just bubbling up and we feel so very uncomfortable, doing all we can to stop it.

 

What is crying about, really?

Let’s start here: tears. There are two types of tears. One that brings out our body reactions to deprivation of certain things such as hunger or pain, or any uncomfortable situation that make a baby cries. 

The second one is a physical reaction to our emotional distress; a self-protection mechanism that reacts against an extreme emotion that we do not allow to express itself in the first place. 

Every adult has shed this type of tears. Children have no problems in expressing their tears, which is appropriate to their feelings and situations. Theirs belong to the 1st type.

 

As adults, we train ourselves to hold off strong emotion until we can make sense of and deal with it. The downside of this approach is that there is a time lag between the time a strong feeling rushes up and an understanding that satisfy our mind is attained. This delay means longer tensions linger in our body. Unreleased tensions are what create havocs in our body over time.

Emotional tears are an expression of a specific emotion that we strongly feel at any given moment, consciously or not. They carry a high-charged energy we have within, to find a release. To find a release is what we need to remember.

Human design is certainly comprehensive. There is a legitimate reason why crying is a part, a NATURAL one, of our life and it is created for a very good reason. Crying is a way to decompress charged-up energy in our body.

Scientifically, when a strong emotion is registered in our brain, the endocrine system is triggered to release hormones that cause the tears to form in our eyes. 

When that happens, our body releases toxins specific to emotional tears, helping us to reduce the pain and improve our moods

 

Parallel to this, our body is also sending cues to other humans that we need their help. This help is called sympathy. Sympathy allows human to bond with one another. It also makes the main ingredient of a hug. That’s right, a hug. You wonder why a hug is a powerful way to help others? This is the reason. 

 

All strong emotions can cause us to cry, when not attended to properly. Be it anger or joy or anything in between.

In some unavoidable situation, we force ourselves to bite our lips instead of letting the tears from falling even if it hurts so much. 

Such approach is not effective in relieving the tension and de-compressing a charged-up pent-up energy. When we stop ourselves from crying, we often become restless or tensed or unfocused or agitated, for hours or days sometimes. Headaches often show up. Very stiff back and neck often happen too.

Do not, I repeat, do not let this disturbing state linger in your life for too long and for too often. 

Hurt that does not turn into tears will make your organs weep. It is a fact. Unprocessed emotions that can’t be released through crying have a chronic negative impact on our body. It accumulates over time, without us realizing this. When organs weep, diseases appear in our bodies.

Imagine this analogy: a drop of water dripping slowly yet regularly over a long period of time on a rock. One day for sure, the rock will break. Just like our organ receiving pressure of unprocessed extreme emotions, regularly. 

Crying is one of the most powerful ways to release pent-up charged-up energy. It is indeed a healthy and integral mechanism for our lives as human. Human is a bundle of mixed emotions. Crying literally makes our life so much better. More importantly, we are designed to cry, naturally.

Most people are not comfortable crying nor attending to a person who is crying. There are many reasons why. Upbringing, stereotyping, culture, you name it. It does not matter. What matters is you allow yourself to do what you are designed to do.

Here are some tips that may help you (as they have helped me):

Firstly, always remember that your feeling matters and it is absolutely okay to feel what you feel. 

Then, find somewhere private to be. It could be your room, a toilet, or find a place outside to sit in a rather quiet place, whatever works for you at that moment. In time, you will not notice nor even care that you are crying in a public place (like I do now every now and then when a situation calls for it, like in the airport leaving somewhere). To begin with, do it in the comfort of your privacy.

Next, breathe and stay in the feeling. Take a deep breath. Once. Twice. A few times. Feel the emotions in your heart. Hear the voices in your head. Feel the tissue in your hand. Just feel them…

Let go your judgment of yourself. Remember that big strong girls and boys do cry. They are human, with the same design, like all of us. 

Then let it all out. Cry your eyes out. Feel the stream of the tears on your cheeks. Let it out, until it stops by itself.

Then breathe deeply again. Stay still for a moment. Breathe…breathe…breathe. When you feel ready, pick yourself up again. When you can, go for a brief walk before joining others or perhaps going back in the office.

Trust me, you will feel so much better immediately after. Much much lighter, to say the least. If you’re worried about your puffy eyes and swollen face, just splash water on it.

 As a therapist, I rejoice every moment when my clients shedding their tears. Their lives restart after, lighter.

Remember, we are designed to cry when the needs are calling for it. It is a part of us and it is a skill that we inherently have. Enjoy it!

Tell us, what helps you enjoying your cry? Share your comments below.

 

Yours truly,

Astuti

We are MEANT to leave a legacy – In memory of Widayati and Suwarto Martosudirjo-

It’s been 23 days since my mother passed away.

While grieving, I have more time to rest, to sit still and to reflect on all that have been happening lately.

Having both of the most important and influential persons in my life already passed away, I ponder a lot about my life and theirs.

Despite the pains I have in my heart for missing them, I decided to continue living my life as full as I can although I’m also less than sure on how to live my life without my parents. It is new to me, and is a bit daunting.

As I adjourn deeper into my question, it becomes very clear to me that my parents leave my siblings and I a few important things to take further into our lives without them physically here.

It is their values, the deepest beliefs in their hearts that they held so dearly, about them and about life, and the wisdoms they have gotten when they were still physically here. This is essentially their legacy. Not only for us, but also for the people around them.

My parents never sat us down and preached to us on what values they held so dearly. No!

I learnt it from how they behaved on day-to-day basis in dealing with opportunities and set back, in expressing what are important and not for them, the lessons they learned from life, and through how they connect with each other and others. This was not a one off thing. I observe patterns after patterns of behaviors from them throughout my life. Some are uplifting and some are not. When they passed away, these patterns become much more obvious.

What I find most beautiful about this legacy is that there are no conditions attached to it. It is free for me to take. No need to pay inheritance taxes for it (!!).

It is an offering they give their children and we are free to take what are suitable for us.

In the recent weeks, I feel so much more “grown up” because now I become an elder in my family. Comes with it is the feeling that I feel more empowered and have a bigger sense of self-responsibility to choose which “inheritance” I want to keep to serve my life and which ones to let go. I must admit, it feels uplifting and daunting at the same time. The same feeling I always got when I was about to embark on a change.

To ease the way forward, I opt for my conviction that once people pass away, what remains is only LOVE, and not ego. I have a deep-rooted belief that my parents want us, their children, to live OUR lives, and not the lives that they once (perhaps) wished and planned for us.

This realization touched me in my deepest core. This is what a legacy is all about. This is what passing on the baton means. Legacy is simply an offering of collective wisdoms and values from a person to others to use as one of many fuels for their lives. Realizing this comforts me a great deal.

Now, here is a fact. EVERYONE leaves a legacy, consciously or unconsciously, regardless whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not.

It really does not matter how much money we have or do not have in life, how much or how little we are educated, where we live, whether we are single or have a family, etc. We are MEANT to leave a legacy because we always touch people around us, in one way or another.

So, here is a thought for us all. Do we know what we are leaving behind?

Here are some clues to ask ourselves:

  • What wisdom have I gained in my life up to now?
  • How do I love others and myself?
  • What do I choose to be important in my life, so much so I do not want to live without?
  • How have I been dealing with setbacks?
  • How have I been responding when opportunities knock on my door?
  • What are my inner guidelines in making decisions?
  • What kind of relationships I have been developing with people in my life?

Reflect on these questions. Journal them. Share them with the ones close to you, if you wish.

When you don’t feel satisfied with the answers you come up with, CHANGE THEM. You still have time. Take advantage of it while it lasts. You can TRANSFORM your legacy, anytime.

 

So, tell me – what do you intend to leave as a legacy? Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.

Yours truly,

Astuti

Welcome to Upliftmylife.today Vlog

Welcome, everyone.

I am Astuti and I am the owner of Uplift My Life Today.

I work as a transformation coach, a hypnotherapist and a career advisor – all in one person.

I am very happy to see you here. I would like to welcome you again into this community, the tribe that consist of people who have decided that life is worth living and are always looking for ways to make our lives more enjoyable and more meaningful for ourselves and for other people.

I hope by now you would have had a chance to look around our website. This part of Upliftmylife.today is dedicated for me and you and everyone of us in the tribe to interact on a regular basis.

Working with so many clients from all parts of the world in uplifting their lives, I realized that there are so many lessons I learned from these interactions that are really worth sharing with everyone who finds such lessons relevant.

Going forward, I will share what my personal reflections coming from interaction with different people and lessons that I learned myself along my life journey. I will also have different guests coming to speak on the video or to write articles.

I am excited to get to know you, to share the journey of life with you, and to hear from you.

I truly hope we can learn from one another. Thank you!

Astuti