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Declutter Your Life Series – Episode 2 “Love it, pick it, use it!”

Do I need all these?

This question is one of some constant companions for me when I decluttered 2 living spaces in 2 countries over 14 months period.

In this 2nd episode of “Declutter Your Life” Series, I am sharing my 5 steps to successfully declutter my possessions, feeling victorious, light and calm at the end of it.

This episode is loaded with practical tips that you may want to listen to it multiple times.

 

Time Code:

00:00 – Opening

02:05 – Virtual trips to a thrift shop and a spa – what does your body tell you?

11:17 – How your mind interacts with your environment and how impacts you

13:44 – What is decluttering?

14:29 – My decluttering journeys: the context, the scope and the goals

18:38 – Step 1: Setting a clear intention for the decluttering – what you will use the space for and what atmosphere/energy/ambiance you’d like to invoke in the space

21:34 – Step 2: Planning the scope, timeline, responsibility allocation, support required, how to organise post-choosing items.

27:45 – Step 3: Throw away items that obviously needed to be thrown away. Quick win!

28:40 – Step 4: Selection process – choose which items you want to keep

31:09 – Step 5: Reorganise the items you choose to keep

31:44 – Emotional challenges during decluttering and 6 tips to overcome them

35:46 – Evolving our space to match our own evolution process is mandatory!

37:13 – Closing and what the next episode about

 

Inputs, questions, feedback or suggestion for topics – write me at astuti@upliftmylife.today. Thanks!

Interested in speaking with me about decluttering process directly, set it up here.

 

Copyrights etc.:

Music used in this Episode: “On My Way” and “Destiny Day” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Cover photo: WordSwag

Declutter Your Life Series – Episode 1 “Gaining more by letting go”

What would help me to die more peacefully when my time comes?

(You can also listen to this podcast from Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic)

I was at a crossroad!

In this first episode of “Declutter Your Life” Series, I am sharing my reflection on the 4 steps to create an elevated version of my life and the role of decluttering in it.

I’m taking you on my journey to change my life style, which started 18 months ago.

Time Code:

00:00 – Opening

02:53 – Life defining moment

09:46 – Step 1: Answer “What would help you to die when your time comes?”

11:40 – Tony Robbins’ Human 6 Core Needs

15:19 – Step 2: Create the scenario and integrate it into your subconscious mind

16:56 – Examples and how to do it

21:38 – Step 3: Create implementation plan

24:27 – Step 4: Declutter: what it is and why it is important

28:46 – Summary and what’s coming in Episode 2!

Shout out to Rane Hafied of www.suarane.org for mentoring and training me in this journey!

Terima kasih, Rane!!!!

Copyrights etc.:

Music used in this Episode: “On My Way” and “Destiny Day” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Cover photo: WordSwag

 

What I’ve learnt about life from death

To date, I’ve experienced the deaths of my parents, all of my grandparents and some friends my age.

 

My first encounter with death was when my elementary school friend passed away.

He was 10, after fighting leukaemia. I was his kindergarten buddy – I held his hand showing him around our playground. I still remember how sweet his smile was.

 

I have also experienced “small deaths”, like when I moved countries (I’ve lived in 6 countries to date) and when I had a burn out.

 

Here are some lessons I’ve learnt about life from death:

 

1.Life is filled with cycles.

Like nature, we go through stages of development.  There is a rhythm to nature’s orders. What goes up will come down. It is just how it is, not good, not bad.

Let go the judgments, especially towards ourselves. While giving our best effort in a challenging time, it is important to tell ourselves: it is just a natural phase.

 

2. Some cycles are longer than others.

At times, one cycle happens one after the other. Sometime, multiple cycles run in parallel, but at different stages.

These cycles happen when they do, beyond our control.

What matters most is that we face the experiences in the best way that we know how.

 

3. Just like seasons in a year, every shift brings a profound experience.

It usually is emotionally intense and unique.

There is a time for everything.

The more we’re mindful about it, the lighter our steps are.

 

4. Timing is uniquely linked to individuals.

 

Our timing is our timing. Comparing it with others is unnecessary.

There is always a reason that we can understand later, in hindsight, why we need the time that we do.

Focus on us in the now, do our best and choose to feel grateful for who we are and what we have.

 

5. When death (or any major loss) happens in our life, everything automatically changes.

If our life is a house, death is like one big part of our foundation collapses, and it brings the house down. It is a major shift, a jump-start, for us to build a different house (our life).

Give ourselves time and space to grief thoroughly. Do not make any big decision until we feel settled. Only then, decide.

 

When a key member of our family dies, no replacement can be done. S/he is NOT meant to be replaced. It is IMPOSSIBLE.

Instead, the rest of the family/system needs to re-allocate roles. Bring everyone into the same page and have open and respectful discussion about it.

 

When a structure collapses, the rules attached to it are buried with it.

Building a new structure means bringing in some new rules and some new players. Take advantage of this.

 

Remember, the collected wisdoms and experiences we have gathered throughout our live remains with us regardless. We have what we need.

 

Love is energy so it continues to flow even without physical bodies. It is always there, in different way.

 

6. We can fully move forward in life when we can let go of the incomplete emotions connected to the death or other loss.

No, unfortunately, we’re not well trained to do that.

Heck, more of us are often told not to be too emotional or not to be that expressive in the time of deaths or loss. I can testify how misleading this is.

Time does not heal anything when we are not willing to acknowledge the things that are incomplete.

 

No, we don’t need the involvement of the (dead) people we have unfinished business with to put a completion to it.

Just us, showing up fully in our lives and go through the grieving process (yes, it is a systematic process) full-heartedly. Getting a grief consultant is something I’d highly recommend.

 

7. Everyone experiences death or loss, no exception. There is no reason to feel isolated going through this.

This is one of some experiences that level out every single being on this planet.

Reach out for support or lend your heart to people who need it.

 

8. The most profound way to live our life fully is to be able to let go the past.

The ultimate way to do that is to truly and genuinely forgive ourselves, for all the choices that we made in the past that are no longer relevant nor appropriate for our life today.

 

We make a decision that feels right for a particular situation at a particular time.

Let go the guilt and shame. Make it a conscious choice.

 

9. Life is a journey of collecting: experiences, memories, emotions, people, possessions, resources, wisdoms, knowledge, skills. 

 

It is so easy to be a hoarder without realizing it. Are we? Are we attached to all the above?

Choose wisely and timely what to keep in our lives and what to leave behind. Stay un-attached.

 

When we travel, we only bring what we need.

The same with life. Declutter it and us regularly.

Growth happens at the end of our comfort zone, so create a space in us for new experience, people and things.

 

10. Nothing is permanent.

 

Everything has an expiration date: our food, our belongings, the people in our lives and ourselves.

 

Accepting this as a fact consequently means we are to treat time as something precious.

Choose to fill it with uplifting experiences with loving companions. Celebrate our lives because all the experiences we have, at times filled with pain, at times with joy, are precious.

 

Seneca, a Roman Stoic Philosopher says: “A man cannot live well if he knows not how to die well”.

 

Do you know what it would take for you to die peacefully?

 

Happy contemplating,

 

Astuti

Silence is golden. Is it?

What is silence?

 

According to Cambridge’s English dictionary, silence has a number of meanings, among others are:

  • A period without any sound; complete quiet;
  • A state of not speaking or writing or making noise;
  • A state of refusing to talk about something or answering questions, or a state of not communicating.

 

Two questions popped up in my mind. Is it possible to be silent in our lives these days? How come silence is so precious that it is golden?

 

I don’t need to tell you how fast our world moves these days and how that impacts our lives on daily basis. Sometime I looked back on how the world was 10 years ago and I’d never had dreamt of such pace that we’re in today then. Inconceivable.

 

What comes into our lives is an immense amount of data, from many directions; at any time we open ourselves to it. We have, at least, 5 senses to receive and send data.

The challenge today is to filter, process, and manage data, no longer to search for it.

 

Combination of fast speed and immense amount of data in our lives means frequent data overload.

 

How does this play out on daily basis?
We had conversations that we often couldn’t even recall. We attended meetings where we forgot what had been agreed and why. We repeated ourselves to the same people over and over. We didn’t remember to whom we had shared something with. Sometime, we don’t know what we already know or have. And this is just to name a few.

 

Overload. Redundancy. Repetitive. These are some of the downside outcomes of having a combination of speed and immense amount of data.

 

This is definitely far less than being neither efficient nor effective.

 

We are more disconnected from others and ourselves as we are surrounded by more data in our live. What a paradox!

 

In 2011, World Health Organization report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.”

 

I came across this fascinating article titled “This is your brain on silence” – I’d recommend you to read this as this highlights a number or researches about silence, from the perspective of noise.

One information stood out to me in particular and I am quoting it here:

“In 1859, the British nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale wrote, “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” Every careless clatter or banal bit of banter, Nightingale argued, can be a source of alarm, distress, and loss of sleep for recovering patients.

Surprisingly, recent research supports some of Nightingale’s zealous claims. In the mid 20th century, epidemiologists discovered correlations between high blood pressure and chronic noise sources like highways and airports. Later research seemed to link noise to increased rates of sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus”.

 

You get the gist. This is just from noise and noise is everywhere – TV, radio, music, social media, podcast, etc., on our finger tips, not even needing going to the shop to get it. Then we have chatters around us. Everyone has opinions and these days, we feel freer to share them, regardless that we’re not asked.

 

How about visual overload?

An article authored by Rebecca MacMillan of University of Texas about image overload highlights some psychological effects people experience being overloaded by images.

“As we snap, store and communicate with thousands of images on our phones and computers, a number of researcher and theorists are already beginning to point to some of the unintended consequences of this “image overload,” which range from heightened anxiety to memory impairment.”

 

Photos on the phone are not the only visuals. Billboards, magazines, newspapers, TV, our possessions, etc. They are everywhere.

 

What is real, what is not? What is relevant, what is not? What is important, what is not? What is useful, what is not? What gives us pleasure, what does not?

 

Yes, the plot thickens. The points above are only covering 2 information sensory receivers. There are a few more.

 

Is it possible to alienate noise and visual completely? Hardly, I’d say. Not all of us live in recluse areas and not operating using technology we have today.

 

What we can do is to experience inner silence regularly; to clear out the inner noise and visuals within us, as such we are, in that moment of time, being in the present, connecting stronger and deeper with ourselves. In turn, this will help us connect deeper with others.

 

It is quite evident that the more frequent we interrupt the data overload, the better our quality of life can be. I’d label the interrupting act as “Silent Time Practice”.

 

Here are some examples of what you could do in your “Silent Time Practice”:

  • Breathing deeply, regularly, for a few minutes.

At least 5 counts inhale and 5 counts exhale.

If required, put a reminder on your agenda/phone so you take time to do this.

 

  • Mindful walking/jogging

It means walking/jogging with the intent to feel your body. No music, no phone, no chatter. Focus on your breathing and feel the sensation in your body as you take one step after another. 

 

  • Automatic writing

Grab some sheets of paper. Take a long deep breath for a few times. If you want, you can close your eyes and start writing whatever comes out of your mind. Let it all out. Don’t think, don’t question, just follow whatever streams out of your mind and move it to the paper. Do this for a few pages. Upon finishing, take another long deep breathe and read back what is written, if you can.

 

  • Painting/Drawing/Sketching

 

  • Meditation

 

  • Praying

 

  • Extended silent time

It can be half a day, 1 full day, 3 days, 10 days, consisting of all the above activities and more.

Vipassana is an example of an extended of silent time with self.

 

The point of the above exercises is to breathe deeper and slower while doing them, to stay in and feel your body and to allow what comes up to come up as is, in the present moment. No judging, no arguing, just acknowledge it. You can say to yourself: “I hear you. I feel you. I see you”. Let these thoughts float and dissipate after.

When they keep lingering, note them down and attend to them at a different time. Processing emotions need focused attention.

 

Regardless how long and how often you do a Silent Time Practice, here are some benefits of it:

Clarity

In silence, you feel your feelings and hear your thoughts louder and clearer. When you listen without judgment, you figure out sooner what matters most for you. Then you can let go the rest.

 

More space and energy within to experience new things

We are sophisticated machines that need purging. The more often we purge, the better. In silence, we can easily acknowledge our thoughts and feelings. Only few require follow-ups. As our mind purges and lets go or archives things that are not relevant for us anymore, it allows creative juice within us to flow.

 

Resilience

Wisdom is one of the most powerful assets for anyone to be resilient in life. Wisdom is not shaped by the number of years one has lived, but by how quickly one learnt from their experiences.

Silent Time Practice is helping us in detaching ourselves from the stickiness of situations. Such act allows us to do a reflection/contemplation, which means transforming experiences into something with a truthful meaning. Truth always brings out inner peace.

 

Improved physical and emotional well being

Dr. Herbert Benson, a professor of Mind/Body medicine at Harvard Medical School, pioneered mind-body research, focusing on stress and the relaxation response in medicine. In his research, the mind and body are one system, in which meditation can play a significant role in reducing stress responses.

He introduced the term relaxation response as a scientific alternative for meditation.

According to him, relaxation response is the ability of the body to induce decreased activity of muscle and organs. It is an opposite reaction to the fight-or-flight response. With Robert Keith Wallace, he observed that relaxation response reduced metabolism, rate of breathing, heart rate, and brain activity.

 

I enjoy integrating “Silent Time Practice” regularly in my life. It started out with 30 minutes of silent time everyday and it has expanded to 1 hour daily in addition to 1-3 days of silent time monthly.

 

What I realize is that integrating a “Silent Time Practice” requires some discipline and practice over time. There is no one recipe of which practice is good. You can decide. It is your life. What matters is to give it a chance and experience how this uplifts you.

 

So, is it true that “Silence is Golden”?

Yes, indeed, and to be precise, Silent time is golden.

 

 

Love,

Astuti

 

 

Surrender = smart living

“There is no medicine for it. Sleep and drink a lot of water are what you can do so your body can do its best to fight the virus and heal”.

 

It took me a while to understand what the doctor was telling me. I had just returned from Asia. My temperature was 39.5 Celsius and she had just told me I had Dengue Fever. 

No medicine, are you serious? My already clouded mind went in a spin. Dengue Fever is known as the “Break-bone fever” for a reason. It causes grave pains all over your muscles and joints. No kidding!

Dengue fever taught me something profound though. It taught me what surrender means.

 

Like a lot of us, I associated surrendering with being passive, and to a large degree with being irresponsible. 

I grew up believing that working hard was a way to achieve what I aimed for. Being focused, persistent, resilient, responsible, and resourceful were the ingredients to being successful. 

This formula worked for years, until I had dengue fever, of which after I realized, there is an additional ingredient to add to this formula. It’s called surrender.

 

What does surrender mean?

In a personal development context, I think of surrender as a mode of acceptance. 

Accept what, you may ask?

Surrender is a conscious decision to accept that:

  1. You can control what you have power over, which is your mind ; 
  2. You are the designer of everything you want to have in your life;
  3. You are interdependent with others to manifest what you want;
  4. Others you are interdependent with are doing their best to fulfill their parts as you are doing yours;
  5. And lastly, you always get the best POSSIBLE outcome at that time when all the decisions above are honored.

Let me refer back to my experience with dengue fever to bring to life what surrender could look like.

When I returned home from the doctor, I made a decision that I wanted to get healthy as soon as POSSIBLE.

I asked myself, what would it take for me to get well, and the answer was straightforward: sleep and drink water. Just as the doctor prescribed.

I asked myself the next question: what would it take for me to sleep deeply?

I’ve read a few articles a few years back that deep sleep  is required for our body to heal itself.

The answers were profound:

Let go of stress.

To be completely open, I was scared and in pain. I classified dengue fever to be a life threatening disease. I had heard many horrific stories about it of which a lot of people had died or not fully recovered. These ideas in my mind stressed me out big time. The fact that I could not work, as I run my own company, added even more stress.

My mind was clear though – I intended to recover fully. This was my end goal.

To let go of the stress, I asked for help. I handed over all of my work to my colleague, switched off my working brain, switched off my phone, and did my best to sleep.

 

Handover the rest of the healing process to my body faithfully.

I took a leap of faith (yes, it was a leap of faith for me). I chose to trust that my body was going to do its best to heal without medicine.

I was praying for the best. Never had I been in a situation like this before. In the past, when I had a serious illness, I ALWAYS took medicine.

For 2 weeks, I slept for 18 hours per day and drank a lot of water in my waking hours. I had 2 additional resting weeks before I went back to work. 

 

Surrender is often misunderstood as “giving up” on the situation we’re in. It is NOT that. Yes, surrender entails a level of giving up, but not on the situation itself.

It is giving up the belief that we, alone, need and can change what is.

It is giving up to a fixed idea of that there is only one way of doing things (which is the way we have done things in the past) and it is only “I” who can do it.

It is giving up the idea that we are here alone and separated from others, even from our own body.

It is about choosing to hand over the next step to something beyond and larger outside of our “physical comprehension”, and very often it is unseen.

 

Very often, a crisis in our lives brings us face-to-face with this concept; when it feels like there is nowhere else to be, apart from giving up and handing over to something else beyond our (limited) cognizance.

 

Surrendering feels like a moment in our lives when we realised that we have been swimming against the currents without realising and stopping it.

All of a sudden, the perspective changes. It changes because at the moment of surrendering, we are swimming with the currents towards our true destination. We are no longer trying too hard. We are no longer holding on to what was, to how we did things in the past. We just go with what is.

In other words, in the moment of surrendering, we are changing the direction from holding on to the past/comfort zone/how we have been doing things into the present, and the present continues to change with every movement that we make.

 

The gist of what I am sharing with you now is applicable to many situations we face everyday and not only in a crisis situation.

It is relevant for ANYTHING that entails uncertainty, from wanting to get promoted to moving houses to having children to getting a divorce and many more.

We need to integrate surrender as a habit so it becomes an integral part of our lives. Just like having a healthy and fit body, the habits of eating healthily, doing sports and regular emotional de-cluttering are pre-requisites for it.

 

How to surrender:

  1. Start your day and any of your activities with a clear intention.

Examples:

“I intend to fill my day with love and kindness”

“I intend to participate in this meeting with respect so the best fitting solutions for our project are in place”

“I intend to provide my clients with the best solutions for them in a way that is uplifting for me”

 

  1. Do your best in going about your activities; fuelled by your intention.
  2. When doubts, fears or struggle creep up (because they will), breathe deeply.

Do this for 3 minutes. Inhale in for 5 counts, and exhale out for 5 counts. For 3 minutes straight.

Gregg Braden in his documentary called “The Missing Links” explains that deep breathing sends a signal to our brain that the situation is safe. Such signals allow your brain that is in flight or fight mode (due to the fears) to shift.

This shift gets the right hemisphere of your brain to work again. This hemisphere of the brain is in charge of creative thinking.

 

  1. As you are becoming calmer, give your mind a focus of attention that leads to opening up possibilities, entailing positive feelings.

It is very important that the mind has the right focus.

Christie Marie Sheldon, an  Intuitive Life Coach that I respect, has a fantastic phrase that I use in my life: “What would it take for… (fill in the blank with what you want)?” instead of “What can I do to …?”.

Notice the difference – of these 2 questions – the first question is encompassing more than just you. This is what surrender is about.

Repeat this question 10-15 times; to get your mind to understand that this is the focus you want it to have.

 

  1. Open your heart and mind to receive the answers, as they will come through from many directions.

Your intuition is one way for the answer to come through, but it is not limited to only that. You may have a friend or a stranger out of the blue telling you something that is on point with what you are asking. You may see a poster on the bus stop that speaks to you. Anything may bring the answer to you.

TRUST these answers and follow it with an ACTION

 

Surrender is about opening up yourself to everything outside of your self, allowing for help to come to you.

Do these steps everyday. Make it a habit. I am convinced that your day, your work, your health, your relationship; basically your life will be uplifted.

 

You will know that surrendering is an integral part of your life when you feel:

  • Present and focused;
  • Optimistic;
  • More resilient;
  • More peaceful within;

regardless of how challenging the experience you are in is.

 

Wishing you the joy in surrendering.

Love,

Astuti

Celebrate 2017! Welcome 2018!!

“The authentic self is the soul made visible” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

2017 has been the year that I’ve had the honour of cross-pathing with courageous souls who are making steps forward to show up more in their lives. They choose to be visible in their lives.

I love a quote from Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response, lie our growth and our freedom”.

 

Let’s acknowledge this: change takes a lot from us. It requires commitment, persistence, and investments, all kinds of investments. 

Only the brave ones truly make the moves.

Freedom starts in our mind – we are to decide whether we want it or not. To make a choice whether we are willing to change the way we live and more often than not, the people we have in our lives.

Decluttering beliefs that run our mind is a key step in integrating freedom and visibility into our lives.

 

I applaud these inspiring individuals, from all walks of lives and many corners of the world for choosing to be VISIBLE in their lives. To show up more awake and to do their best on daily basis to take consistent actions aligned to their chosen beliefs. CHOSEN is the key word here.

 

2017 has been exactly that year for me. The passing of my mother (the last of my parents) in March was a visible marking for me to be an elder in my immediate family system. Coming with it are both responsibilities and opportunities. The world opens up even more.

 

It was my time to make some important decisions based on honest and truthful conversations with myself. The main questions are: Who am I now and how do I want to show up in my life?

 

I’ve chosen to live embracing and nurturing inner peace since. It is a biggie, this one.

Inner peace does not come over night and in a cathartic fashion. Not at all. This comes from me consistently deciding for actions that bring about inner peace, on daily basis.

 

For the past 9 months, I’ve been decluttering and re-structuring my life: my mind, my emotions, my beliefs, my values, my physical health, my living and working space, my support systems, my friends, all aspects. There is one ultimate state I have in my heart and mind during this quest: inner peace.

 

It has not been like a walk in the park. It goes up and down. There are moments that I still want to sulk (and swear too!) about what happens. I choose to allow this to be a part of my day. Not long usually, though. It comes and goes, like nature. What comes in will go out. I breathe in joy and breathe out all kinds of emotions.

 

Is it worth it? Most of us who are further in this journey would say YES! I am included.
Some of us would say, it better be, as they are still in the thick on the process.

On such quest, choosing to trust the process and the voice in the deepest part of who you are is of paramount importance. Nothing that last for decades is built overnight.

So, here is to the brave souls who choose to be visible, to show up in their lives!!

What I celebrate in 2017 is my well-being, the deeper connections I nurture with my friends and family as well as the learnings I receive from facilitating others’ inner transformation. It has been an enriching year.

What I welcome more in 2018 is my own visibility in my life and to feel more at ease and safe in being seen and listened to by others, as it is indeed a part of nurturing the inner peace in my heart.

 

What are you celebrating in 2017? What are you welcoming in 2018? Please share them.

In this holiday season, I wish you a great festive celebration of your life in 2017, surrounded by the people that you love. May 2018 is the year for you to choose YOU and to be more VISIBLE and FREE.

I look forward to continue sharing and supporting your journeys in 2018.

Warm regards,

Astuti

 

Boundaries = Visibility

Thank you for your thoughts and questions after the first post I did about Boundaries.

Most of you felt it was a timely reminder for what is going on in your life these days. For some, it is a new concept that just enters your life.

This post is to address some of questions that are worthwhile to share.  It is “Let’s talk about Boundaries Part 2”.

 

How can I set and maintain my boundaries without upsetting others?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend whom I had not met for a while. Let’s call her Alma.

When we ordered food, Alma asked, with a serious face, this question: “Are you a Vegan now? Please don’t tell me that you are becoming like most of my friends now”.

I laughed and said to her: “No, I am not”. 

I heard a sigh of relief come from her and she went on to let me know how her friends’ decisions to become vegan lately created quite some discomfort for her. We chatted more about it and I discovered that her discomfort had nothing to do with food choices.

In this situation, what struck a cord within Alma was her need to belong. The changes triggered the feeling of insecurity as to whether she would continue fitting in this group going forward. She decided not to change her lifestyle. It is indeed an emotional reaction.

Many of us gather with our friends over food and drinks. We associate food and drinks with socialising, as part of a ritual to belong to a group. This is what the reaction boils down to.

 

From this example alone, two important principles are to be drawn from creating and maintaining boundaries:

  1. Your boundaries are yours to make and whatever reasons you choose are your truth.
  2. How others react to them is not an issue or a problem for you to solve.

Why? Because you cannot. It is as simple as that.

What you can do is to acknowledge their feelings that arise from the change. Be kind. It helps tremendously.

“Alma, I hear you and I am sorry you feel this way”. I acknowledged her feeling that sounded a lot like grief. It brought relief to her. She could breathe again. Her feelings are valid.

 

I was also in a similar situation to her. A couple of my friends have also recently changed their eating habits. However, this did not affect me in the way that the choice of Alma’s friends did on Alma.

Obviously, I needed to reconsider a couple of more things when meeting up with them for a meal yet there was no emotional reaction on my part.

 

Alma and I have 2 different needs and our responses or reactions to others’ new boundaries are strongly linked to them, not to the boundary itself.  This is why there are 2 different reactions from a very similar situation.The reason why people get upset when a new boundary is drawn is because they perceive that they will lose something from the relationship and this negatively affects their efforts to fulfil their needs. 

 

The truth is they may loose something, but more over, they may gain something too.

Regardless, acknowledging how others feel as a consequence of your decision to create a boundary is a wise thing to do. Their feelings come from the deeper parts of them. Belittling it or revising your decision to stop other being upset is simply disrespectful, towards them and yourself.

 

In summary:

Yes, you can choose anything to be your boundary as long as it suits you and your values as a person. 

No, you cannot prevent others from reacting in the way they do.

Yes, you can help them by acknowledging their feelings that was caused by this new boundary. Act with kindness. Being acknowledged puts them in a position to accept the changes. Give them time.

 

 

What actually happens when I draw boundaries?

Boundaries are created so you are at ease living your life, being true to who you are.

Boundaries allow you to say what you mean and mean what you say. When you say yes, you mean it as a yes. Likewise with a No. 

Such congruence with yourself is bringing the following into your life:

Clarity – you know what is important for you and you interact with the outside world consistently. 

One of my very good friends, a high-flyer talent in her employer company, had a candid and clear discussion with her Boss. Let’s call her Anna.

Anna informed her decision about what kind of role that she wants going forward to her Boss. She explicitly communicated that she is not willing to take on a role that requires office politics management as a larger portion of the role. It is not something she neither likes, enjoys nor gives her contentment. There are others better suited for this because they like doing it.

What is most important for Anna is to be in a role where her intellectual capability is growing regularly and that she delivers tangible solutions for a problem that is critical for the company. She welcomes the opportunity to work with others in the process. It’s been proven for many years that she is excellent in working and managing others.

Anna made it clear to her Boss that her time, her growth and her contentment at work are very important for her. She had poured a lot of herself into the work that she’d been delivering to her employer in all these years. Anna realised that to be her best and perform at her best at work, respecting her needs is a requirement.

Any good employer would listen to such request. Her Boss certainly did and acted accordingly. Employers have no interests in losing their valued employees.

As a Recruiter in my previous career, I know how difficult and costly it is to find a genuinely great Talent.

Anna knows this too and she also believes she brings a lot of value to her employer

Ease at maintaining boundaries is definitely linked to your beliefs about yourself.

 

Visibility – you feel safe standing in your own unique light.

I associate creating boundary with sculpting. It is about creating a unique shape and dimension based on an inspiration. 

While it can be quite challenging to do, the sculpting process and the end result is beautiful, always beautiful. 

Beautiful sculpture attracts people who appreciate it. These people very likely are staying longer admiring the sculpture they resonate with. There will be people who appreciate it less and they will leave the sculpture after a brief visit.

This analogy is what is happening to you and with you when you have boundaries. You are attracting people who appreciate you. You are encountering people who appreciate you less, and they are not sticking around for long. The ones who do not have common bases with you are going to move on. Consequently, the interactions and connections you have with others (sometimes with more people and sometimes with less) become deeper as you have more space and time to do so. The swing shifts from quantity to quality.

Indeed, boundaries help you to feel safe in being seen and heard as you are.

 

Resilience – you can always bounce back after a setback.

Many things cause drainage of energy and this happens on a daily basis. One of the top 3 energy drainers is to “make others happy/pleased”

This is indeed a “Mission Impossible” yet many often do this all their lives.

Drawing a boundary that is healthy for you is to move the line from “making others happy/pleased” to “doing my best”. The control is back with you and your decision for your own actions.

Remember, how best looks like may change from one moment to another, so be mindful about what that best looks like everyday.

When you have boundaries, negotiation with others becomes a regular part of your life. With your friends, parents, children, colleagues, whoever is coming your way. Accept this and always remember why you decide to have boundaries. 

Here is something of paramount importance in boundary maintenance: let go of any fears.

Just think of it this way, the invisible circle around you (with you in the middle of this circle) is a FEAR FREE zone. Anything within your boundary MUST BE uplifting.

So, when you draw a line because you are scared of something (which means your intention is driven out of fear), work on letting go the fear in parallel so it eventually becomes an uplifting intention.

 

Let me share with you my story.

When I experienced the burn out, the first 1-year of my recovery was driven out of fear for being drained again. While I drew the line of “my health comes first”, the intention was so I did not fall into the burn out again (it is a fear-based intention).

In one year, I did many things, including negotiating my work content with my then Boss. I said many more Nos, and I went through a number of therapies (physical, emotional and spiritual). 

After I reached 1-year mark, I realised that the fear was still the fuel of my choices. I decided to flip it. I changed the intention and it became “my health comes first so I am enjoying my life and serving more people”.

Since then, my body, emotions and spirit have become much more resilient. I have seen much more intense growth in the years following that, and I found myself far more resilient in bouncing back from setbacks. These experiences are bringing me here today. Living a life filled with gratitude and given many opportunities to support others.

Despite sounding like a paradox, I believe so strongly that Boundary is a tool that helps all of us to feel safe being visible in our lives – to see, listen and accept ourselves as we are whilst being seen and listened to by others. 

 

In this post, I’d also like to express my gratitude to you, who are reading my words and listening to my voice.

It is my honour and a privilege to share this growth and growing space with you. Thank you for choosing to show up.

2018 is just around the corner. I wish you a festive celebration of your life in 2017 and also a great 2018 where you are more VISIBLE in your life. See you in 2018!

 

Warmest regards,

Astuti

 

 

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