An Exercise in Boundary Setting

As I was doing one of my morning mindfulness exercises in finding gratitude in adversity, I got to thinking of a recent and ongoing struggle at work with someone who pushes boundaries daily and in ways I have not encountered often. My first reaction was to be enraged and feel a total lack of control, ready to pack up and go home. I don’t need this … or, do I?

Upon realising that this is real life and I can’t really pack up and go home, I started asking myself why this is happening to me. If I go by the idea that everything that we encounter is a blessing or a lesson, I think this is definitely one of the most intense lessons I have been put through in a long time.

I have been asking the Universe for quite some time to teach me how to say no and how to stand firm when it comes asserting my boundaries. I have to be honest and say that I did not truly believe anyone was listening. Lately I feel I am in boot camp – boundary setting boot camp. The humans (key word here) that “teach” me in this boot camp do so by pushing my most sensitive buttons and forcing me to impose boundaries like never before.

And, all my good intentions aside, it all makes me realise that my plea to the Universe was incomplete. It’s not that I need to learn solely how to say no or this I can do and this I can’t or this I won’t do (which, by the way, is ok as well).  I should have also requested teaching along the lines of saying no and affirming boundaries in a way that does not clearly show my frustration. Or in other words, telling people to go to hell in a way that makes them look forward to the trip )I loved this when I read it for the first time).   Wearing my heart on my sleeve is once again proving to be a trap for me, especially in the line of work that I have chosen.

I am reading Susan Cain’s Quiet and all of the research included in it talks about how highly sensitive to stress (of any kind) introverts are. It thus makes me wonder if, as quite the introvert, I will ever be able to learn anything in this regard? Most of the time, what I feel inside is so intense, the turmoil is so overbearing that it is impossible to keep it from showing. Well, I guess it is one ant step at a time … my very favourite phrase – or did I not mention I am also inpatient?

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