Positively Midlife Podcast

Create Healthy Boundaries in Midlife -Ep 49

May 10, 2023 Season 2 Episode 49
Create Healthy Boundaries in Midlife -Ep 49
Positively Midlife Podcast
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Positively Midlife Podcast
Create Healthy Boundaries in Midlife -Ep 49
May 10, 2023 Season 2 Episode 49

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Do you know how to have strong boundaries? Are you able to say no to others when you don't want to do something? Do you ever feel taken advantage of? Do you feel other people don't take your wants into consideration? If you answered yes to any of those questions you may have issues setting Boundaries.

Setting boundaries is the key to good mental health and a life skill we all need to master - and midlife is a great time to do it or strengthen what you've been doing. Ellen and Tish share what they've learned from reading Melissa Urban's best-selling book The Book of Boundaries - Set the Limits That Will Set You Free.

Learn why we need healthy boundaries, a three-step process to creating and maintaining them, why clear and kind communications are important, and understand self-boundaries too. 

Please support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions - please use these links to support the show!
Tish: Support us on PATREON here.  You will get access to a quarterly bonus Q&A. 
Ellen: Melissa Urban's book on boundaries - The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free. 

What we talk about in this episode:
Healthy
boundaries, Melissa Urban's Book, The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free, Patreon, kind and clear communication, having boundaries doesn't make you selfish, setting boundaries is empowering, the 6 area you want to set boundaries for, Brene Brown, learn to communicate and don't expect people to read your mind, self boundaries, sexual boundaries
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Email: postivelymidlifepod@gmail.com

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Do you know how to have strong boundaries? Are you able to say no to others when you don't want to do something? Do you ever feel taken advantage of? Do you feel other people don't take your wants into consideration? If you answered yes to any of those questions you may have issues setting Boundaries.

Setting boundaries is the key to good mental health and a life skill we all need to master - and midlife is a great time to do it or strengthen what you've been doing. Ellen and Tish share what they've learned from reading Melissa Urban's best-selling book The Book of Boundaries - Set the Limits That Will Set You Free.

Learn why we need healthy boundaries, a three-step process to creating and maintaining them, why clear and kind communications are important, and understand self-boundaries too. 

Please support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions - please use these links to support the show!
Tish: Support us on PATREON here.  You will get access to a quarterly bonus Q&A. 
Ellen: Melissa Urban's book on boundaries - The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free. 

What we talk about in this episode:
Healthy
boundaries, Melissa Urban's Book, The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free, Patreon, kind and clear communication, having boundaries doesn't make you selfish, setting boundaries is empowering, the 6 area you want to set boundaries for, Brene Brown, learn to communicate and don't expect people to read your mind, self boundaries, sexual boundaries
Give us a review...
Click here

Want to start podcasting?  Click here to let Buzzsprout know we sent you, this gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and help support our show

What It's Like To Be...
What's it like to be a Cattle Rancher? FBI Special Agent? Professional Santa? Find out!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Website: www.thepositivelymidlifepodcast.com
Email: postivelymidlifepod@gmail.com

Tish Woods:

Today, we're going to be talking about one of those big buzzwords, boundaries. And it's a topic that we've been wanting to talk about. Since I think we've started this podcast. Yep, we're going to define and talk about what boundaries are. And, more importantly, why and how to set and maintain healthy boundaries.

Ellen Gustafson:

Tish, I am so ready to talk about this. And, you know, I believe the lack of having boundaries. It's so unhealthy. And you know, it's something I have personally struggled with my entire life.

Tish Woods:

Well, to be honest, so have I, and a lot of my friends have as well.

Ellen Gustafson:

Right? I think all of our friends, right. And so, I have become obsessed with this book. And I know we're gonna talk about it more by Melissa Urban, called the Book of Boundaries, set the limits that will set you free. And I think that's so fascinating. The boundaries can set you free. She's also known as the Instagram, the boundary lady on Instagram. So we're going to walk through her three steps for boundaries. But I think, as women, many of us are caregivers, and we're nurturers, and most importantly, we've never learned how to define and set boundaries for ourselves. And, you know, if we don't know our own boundaries, how can we have them with others, right? Tish?

Tish Woods:

Yes, I couldn't agree more. So, you know, as women, we are raised to be people pleasers, aren't we? So I'm going to admit it right now. I have always had a weak set of boundaries. This is an area of my life that I have personally struggled with, and one that I'm really committed on working on at this point in my life.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, here it mid life. I think we're in good company.

Tish Woods:

Right? Exactly.

Ellen Gustafson:

I think what's important, too, is that I think many of us had perceptions that strong boundaries meant that you were selfish, or that you were a bitch. And we are going to shatter that misconception today. But before we get started with this really timely topic, you know, I always want to get to our obsessions. So Tish, what do you got for me today?

Tish Woods:

So my obsession this week is also a shout out to one of our biggest supporters. So my obsession this week is with our dear friend, Ellen Howard. She is our first Patreon supporter. So Patreon is one way that people can show support for podcast shows, you're able to sign up for as little as $3 a month to do donations to your favorite shows. So Ellen has always been one of our biggest supporters. She was one of our very first guests that she, yep, she shared our podcast in her newsletters. She's always giving us really great inspirational feedback and encouragement. So you know, Ellen, you and I both know this growing a podcast is all about word of mouth. Yes. So big shout out to Ellen for being one of our biggest supporters. And our first Patreon supporter as well.

Ellen Gustafson:

All right, Ellen woo hoo so happy, and if you're interested, she was our guest on podcast number four, you can hear her journey to becoming one of the preeminent plein air artists here in the US. But, you know, I'm just going to pick it up from here Tish as as an obsession, and say the other way to support our show, other than Pat, Patreon, is to make sure you're using the links on our website or in our show notes, to a lot of our obsessions, when you use the links to purchase items, we have an affiliate relationship, and we get a small kind of commissions. So this is affiliate marketing, and another great way to support the show. And my obsession this week, of course, is Melissa Urban's the book of boundaries, and we will have a link to that in our show notes and on our website.

Tish Woods:

So this is a great example of using these links. If this is a book that interests you, if boundaries is something that you've been challenged with, and you want to read Melissa's book by using our link, you support us and you support this author as well. So definitely Check out the links. So, as I said, I think boundaries, it's just one of those big buzzwords, right, that you hear everyone talking about. But it's also very important that I mean, we firmly believe this is the key to personal happiness. And so this is a conversation that you need to have with yourself, your daughters, your friends, your family, everybody around you. And having boundaries does not make you this mean person or this bitch. Even though it may feel that way, when you first get started by creating boundaries with people,

Ellen Gustafson:

you know, I couldn't agree more. And I have to say I talk to my boys, my sons about boundaries, too. So I think it's really important. And if if they can establish them younger than you and I, and many, many of them are friends, even the better. But let's make it clear, Tish, what we mean by boundaries, I think it's good if we have a definition, boundaries are defined by Melissa urban in her fabulous book, they are nothing more than guidelines in limits that we set for ourselves, in order to protect our physical, emotional, and mental well being. And I think the interesting part there is ourselves.

Tish Woods:

Yes. And I can add a little bit of science here from Webster's Dictionary, they're gonna define it as boundaries is a line that marks the limits of an area. Right? So that's basically it. Right? Right. Simple, simple definition, right. And so, so basically, they are our way of letting others know what behaviors and actions are acceptable. And those are not in order. You know, it's just for us to have a healthy relationship with them. So again, it's about us. It's not about preventing someone else from doing something,

Ellen Gustafson:

or controlling them. And I think, you know, easier said than done, right? I was never taught about boundaries, or, you know, wasn't something my mom talked to me about? What about you, Tish,

Tish Woods:

I wasn't either I think I associated with being selfish. Always think of others first do for others, you know, this self sacrificing philosophy. And we're not saying don't do for others. What we're saying is, don't hurt yourself in the process of doing for others. So we're going to look really deep into this.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah. And it wasn't taught this at all. But I like thinking about boundaries in the way and setting them as it's an essential life skill, like time management, or paying your bills, right. But nobody teaches us how to do it. There's no college course listed his boundaries, 101 or 201, or 301. Right.

Tish Woods:

I think we need those advanced level three hundreds, for sure. When it comes to boundaries? I know I do.

Ellen Gustafson:

It's true. The one thing I do know, after reading the list this book is that setting boundaries is really empowering. And one of my biggest aha moments from from the book is that boundaries are not to tell others what to do. They're a way to plan and communicate. And that part, I really want to emphasize the communicate is our response to what other people say or do.

Tish Woods:

You know, it is all about us. It's not about dictating for others. And I think this is a very important point. So here's the dilemma. Okay, since we're taught to put others first and care for everyone else, and all of their needs before our own. That's why I think that we many times are not clear about this idea what boundaries we even need. But there are ways to know when our boundaries are being crossed. You know, there are signs that we can look for.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, you know, I agree. Tish, and I feel like we have instincts around it too. So like, if, if you're feeling a pit in your stomach, I think that's a big one. But if you have feelings of being taken advantage of or, you know, really that you're kind of forced to do things or, you know, for me if you have anxiety, hurt feelings, and resentment invades your relationship. I feel like it's a tool box that maybe you just I just didn't have the tools to make relationships function better until I was in midlife and really have been tackling this. And you know, I had a long term friendship. And really because I didn't have the tools around boundaries, and I really regret it. So this is a topic I believe is constant work for a lot of us. I mean, I think you and I both know a few people with excellent boundaries, right? Tish?

Tish Woods:

Oh, yes, absolutely. So here's some other signs that you might feel if your personal space is being invaded, that your privacy is being invaded, it may even come out as feeling that your needs or your desires on issues or topics are just being ignored. So these are some of the things that would be coming up when you know that your boundaries are being crossed. So sometimes, and I've got to say, This is really embarrassing, but I have ghosted people, when I don't know how to set boundaries and maintain healthy boundaries with them. Right. So remember, we've discussed in previous episodes, yeah, I'm an avoider. Okay. Yes. But here is another area that I really want to change being an avoider. Okay. And I want to change this bad habit, and I want to get more comfortable with setting kind boundaries?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, and I think part of that is you have to be willing to have discomfort or some uncomfortable feelings, right? To have that, that setting of boundaries. And, you know, for me, I think it was really good to understand Tish to that there are like six areas, or six types of boundaries. There's the physical, and I think during COVID, we really ran into a lot of these emotional time to that friend, that's always so late. That doesn't respect anyone's time, sexual, intellectual, and material. I know, as moms, our kids take our stuff all the time. Right. So all of those are boundaries.

Tish Woods:

Yeah, so boundaries can cover a huge breadth of things, right. And boundaries can change to over time. Yeah. And, and I think bringing up COVID was a great example. So I've always been a big hugger, right? But some people are not comfortable with that sense. COVID. So just because you've had clear boundaries with someone in the past, doesn't mean there might not be changes in the future. And hugging post COVID is there's an area for you right there.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, it's true. I just took this business trip a couple of weeks ago, and met a lot of new people. I went to a couple offices for for my company that I do marketing and public relations for. And I noticed a lot of people said, Can I hug you? Before hugging? And I was like, Okay, I really like that. So, you know, this is like a huge cultural shift and a boundary. Right. I mean, I think that that that is is really interesting for us. But, you know, I think sometimes you can also feel like your feelings are being disregarded or they're invalid or disrespected. You know, when you set a boundary, people really just want to push it away, I think at first and really test you. So I know that boundaries are really limits I establish around the way I allow people to engage with me. And that's a new concept to, right. I think a lot of these are really just changes in how we view things and how we look at them. Okay, you know, what else Tish? Well, I think that, you know, this was another thing I took from the book, which is it's uncomfortable when you let someone else's feelings be more important or worthy than your own. So when you let a boundary down, you know, you're really it's it's really a personal thing. You're letting yourself down. Right? You're letting someone else's goal or desire really be more important than your own and you swallow it, maybe to keep the peace. Not good, right?

Tish Woods:

Yeah, that's not a comfortable situation at all. So one of the things to watch out for is, and I think you have to be careful of this is when somebody criticizes or judges you, for even trying to create boundaries, I just want everyone to come away with this to know, everyone is entitled to have boundaries. So now that we have an idea of what boundaries are, and how to identify the feelings that come up, when people push these boundaries, or you know, push past our boundaries, but now we need to know how to set them in the first place.

Ellen Gustafson:

It's true, it's true and healthy boundaries, I believe, to just to build on that within and they should be flexible. And they can't they can't be written in stone or unchangeable. And, you know, I think a lot of us make get overzealous and put up a boundary. And that ain't change girl no matter what, right? But there needs to be that element, element of flexibility. And there also needs to be that element of consistency, right, and clarity. So what I liked in Melissa Urban's book is she had three steps to boundaries. The first is to identify the need, and you really need to think about it, what is the true need, and write it down, write down what the boundary is using clear and kind language. And I know you brought up that word earlier, Tish, being able to do it with kindness, and then holding the boundary, right, you, you may get pushback, and people may not like that you're changing, but you've got to hold the boundary.

Tish Woods:

You know, I think it's really important to remember that kind part of it. Because we are now going to, we're suggesting that everyone start to put boundaries, good, healthy boundaries for yourself up. So you are changing the dynamic of relationships. And people are going to push against this. So be kind in your delivery, is going to make this go easier. So we have now explored how it feels when people cross our boundaries, what kinds of actions that would, you know, we can look at what kind of actions would we exhibit? If we don't have clear boundaries? So let's face it, there are no blood tests, or ways to measure boundaries.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, it's so true. I wish there was right. It would make it easy, right? Yeah, it definitely would make it easy. And, you know, I think What's hard is that sometimes we just backtrack, even though we know it's not in our best interest. And I think that, that that's really a hard part of this, too, that this is a life lifelong work for most of us

Tish Woods:

Absolutely. I think it's a process. One of the things that you might notice, right off the bat, if you are challenged with boundaries is that you have a lot of difficulty saying no. Even when you know, it's not in your best interest. You still can't say no. Yeah, so I

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, so wait, before you get to the trick for that, that someone taught me as I've been doing this, and I don't say no, a lot, because I really like to do everything and everything sounds good when it's presented, right? Do you want to go on this trip? Do you want to go here? Do you want to have a garage sale, whatever it is, but and then I'm like, oh, later on, I'm like, Oh, we what did I do that went against one of my boundaries. And that is to take a pause when responding and always say, Huh, let me check my schedule on that or I'll have to get back to you on that. That was hard for me to show at the beginning. But it gives me that pause that time to really consider how these things feel.

Tish Woods:

I had a friend who used to say, let me mull it over. And so like there was like, no, let me mull it over. It could be a little while it could be you know, mull it over. But Melissa urban in her book on boundaries tells us that being clear, is kind, okay. That you can't expect people to read our minds. And this phrase she attributes to Brene Brown and you know how much we love burning Brown.

Ellen Gustafson:

We love brown No Brown.

Tish Woods:

But we need to communicate boundaries and limits. Okay, this is important. It's not enough for us to have them. It's also important that we communicate them. Right. Okay. And I think, even if we don't, if we don't even know, what we want, is a huge sign that we have weak boundaries, okay, if we don't even know what we want. So we have to become used to doing what others want to do that. So without considering what you want, you're always just going to agree with others. So step number one is, you need to become clear on what you want.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, I think this is so true. And I think that it's, it's the clarity, but the communication part, right. And I have not had historically great communication. And even my children have told me this, you know, especially if I am trying to hold a boundary, and people are pushing, it's the clear, clear communication, of whatever it is that your boundary is or what you're talking about. And I think in the past, when people have pushed me, and I felt very pushed on something, I've been explosive around it. So you know, people push you, they push you, they push you, and you feel pushed, pushed, pushed, and then you're like, No way am I doing that. And that's where the kindness comes in. Because if you can be clear, you can deliver that with kindness to people. And if they don't know, like, my kids are like, do you think we're mind reader's? Like, you have not communicated this to us? And I'm like, well, maybe I just thought it's so much that I thought I told you about it.

Tish Woods:

Wow, that is so true. And we can't, we can let boundaries stand without justifying them to I think this is another super important part. So when we're just getting used to setting boundaries, we can get into this trap of like, over explaining, justifying it. And, and, you know, not how to put this. Not every question deserves an answer. Right? Yeah. So this has always been a hard one for me, not answering questions that crossed my boundaries. So I think in the past that I've always just answered, even though I don't want to more, to be honest, there's times that I've just like, lied about things. And it's those white lies that I say, save someone else's feelings. But it's really me not, being good. And clear. Lee communicating what my boundaries are. And it's, it's a coward's way out, to be honest, you know, and I've been guilty of this, and I really want to stop that behavior. And you

Ellen Gustafson:

don't have to justify, I think this is the big thing. People don't need to understand or agree with your boundary. To respect it. Melissa, Urban had that in her book as well. And that was another aha moment. I've done the same thing. I kind of talk too much too much justifying. And you know, what? Your boundaries your boundary, and there doesn't need to be a lot of discussion about it. So I completely agree with you Tish, it's like a minute of discomfort really shouldn't be that hard for us should it?

Tish Woods:

Right, right. Absolutely.

Ellen Gustafson:

So we are really getting into the hard and painful or difficult reality of setting boundaries. You know, it's like, it is going to be an uncomfortable, and it's never too late. Right, I think here at midlife is a great inflection point for us if our listeners also are feeling you know, a lot of the ways we've described and have done a lot of the behaviors we've done.

Tish Woods:

Okay, so kind of the next burning question is, what areas in your life? Did you exhibit those feelings that we were talking about earlier? Or those reactions that we were talking about? And that's where you want to start? Okay, you need to first of all, kind of get in touch with your feelings. what's triggering this feeling? what's triggering that your boundaries are being pushed? then getting a clearer idea of where your boundaries are. And that we know we need to start putting boundaries up. And so the next step is really identifying where we're going to start with this. Where are people crossing our boundaries? That is our pain point first.

Ellen Gustafson:

I think that's a great way of doing it. Tish, you know, you pick one place, and and you start there. I think that also, if you are into Melissa Urban and what you've heard here, she has a lot of scripts. And she helps you write a script around how to hold your boundary, and how to communicate it. And I think Tish, I'd like to challenge you and I to each take a boundary area this week, and really start there, and kind of walk through it and write a script around to and for us to deliver it with both kindness and clarity. What do you think of that?

Tish Woods:

You know, I like that idea. It kind of reminds me when when we did the BIFF episode, you know, talking about dealing with difficult people. Maybe in this case, we're the difficult person, because we haven't been clear, we don't have clear boundaries. Right? It's really that internal script. But I like the idea of starting with a script. Because where do you start from? You know, and I think by using scripts by someone else, yeah, it's gonna feel uncomfortable at first. But it's a way to start to have this internal conversation with yourself, where you can also have these conversations with other people. It's a jumping off point, it's a point that you can start to get a little comfortable around the subjects.

Ellen Gustafson:

I agree. And I'm not bad in the moment when something like this happen. Which I have a mantra, or I have something that I have planned a little bit more, I think my boundaries, I'll be able to hold the boundary better. And I think that's some good work. But let's chat a little bit about boundaries with ourselves today to

Tish Woods:

this is a good one. So I think this is an important piece too. You know, I think when I think when most people think about boundaries they think about between you and someone else. But there are boundaries that we we cross and I know Ellen, you've talked about getting off of social media. Yes, especially before bedtime and first thing in the morning, too. And this was always a big pain point for you, because it really affected your sleep and anxiety. Right?

Ellen Gustafson:

Absolutely. I mean, not only was I just scrolling, I mean, you get on those reels and recipes. You go down that black hole and and right before bed, and sleep is really challenging here from me at midlife. And you know, I was having my phone right next to my bed. And it was pinging at night or vibrating and, you know, waking me up. And so that's a self boundary. That's a boundary with myself. And I think I've talked about how I've moved my phone out into another room, and I'm reading a book, like a physical book from the library at night. But that's an agreement and a boundary I have to have with myself. And those are just between you and you or me and me. Right.

Tish Woods:

You know, it depends on only one person. Yeah. So how has it been going with your social media boundary?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, I wish I could report that it's fabulous. And I'm not spending a lot of screen. But that would not be true. I think it went well for a while. And then I fell right back into it. You know, I took that trip and I had the phone right next to the bed and I was scrolling and scrolling. But you know, just like with anything else, I think it's really important that you get up, you dust yourself off, you get back on and you try try try again. So you know that is just an example of of a boundary with with self and it can be around food. It can be around exercise, it can be around shopping, right many, many things.

Tish Woods:

You even brought up earlier, even sexual boundaries. You know, if if you are out in the dating world, that can get really tricky too. And we need to be true to ourselves and what is good for us stop worrying about someone else's reaction no matter what the boundary is. Start thinking about what is good for me. It's not about changing anyone else. It's what is going to work for me. How do I commute that with the people around me who love me, because the people who love you are going to say, okay, you know, it might be hard at first. But I think the people around you who love you are going to say, Okay, I understand, let's change this dynamic. And in my might inspire them to create great boundaries for themselves. Because like I said, earlier on, we as women aren't good at this. And we need to support each other. So have a friend, you know, maybe that's the next time you go out with the girls for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. That's a great topic to bring up. You know, what's the boundary that makes you uncomfortable that people cross? And how can we support each other to start setting better boundaries? So we're, we all have deeper, fuller relationships that are more authentic and honest, that we stop avoiding and ghosting and lying. And, you know, but we can do that in a way where we don't become the selfish bitch.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, stop thinking

Tish Woods:

your way.

Ellen Gustafson:

And Tish, I agree, and stop thinking of women with strong boundaries and strong sense of self as being selfish. Let's change that paradigm, and have some new thinking. And the words here that I know, again, that that Melissa Urban, that struck me were the words freedom and happiness. When you are communicating authentically, when you are protecting your yourself with boundaries, you have a lot more freedom, and a lot more capacity for happiness. And those are two things that I think I do not think I know you and I are searching and and striving for in our lives.

Tish Woods:

You know, I think I think this time in our life, this mid life point of time. If not now, when? Right. And I think most of our topics revolve around this, this idea of this is the time for growth. This is the time to change, maybe how we've done things in the past to raise you get to that richer, fuller life that we all want

Ellen Gustafson:

that richer, fuller mid life that we all want, I am with you,

Tish Woods:

and we deserve. So I want to challenge all of our listeners have one boundary conversation this week. Whether it's a spouse, a child, a friend, co worker, have one boundary conversation, see how it goes and go from there?

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, and share it with us on our socials or DM us. We'd love to hear from you.

Tish Woods:

We love to get feedback. Tell us about a success story. Tell us about maybe it didn't go so smooth. Maybe we can collaborate and see how you can do it better next time. It's not about being perfect. It's about giving it the effort.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's right. So until next week,

(Cont.) Create Healthy Boundaries in Midlife -Ep 49