“You can’t control how others behave but you can control how you react”. Wow, that’s definitely easier to say than do, right? As a psychologist people seem constantly mystified by the fact that we also struggle with the stuff we help others through. I have a GIGANTIC, BLOCKBUSTING SECRET for those people. Psychologist are PEOPLE! Just people! When I look at your ‘stuff’ I’m able to see a clarity around it that you can’t because it’s not my ‘stuff’. But when it comes to working out our own issues, aahhhhhh hilarious.
To be honest, some of us do have some insights and learnings that give us a bit of an advantage but basically we have to work through things and figure them out like everyone else. One area of big learning for me throughout my divorce and rebuilding of my life was on how to not be so emotionally reactive to what goes on around me (and by golly, do I still battle with this when I’m off my game). I really needed to work out how to not be so personally hurt and affected by the disappointing behaviours and attitudes of others – easier said than done, especially for us girls. The way I saw it, I could be a mean, angry bitch (and feel pretty justified) or I could accept that becoming that kind of person in response to what goes on around me is my decision, end of story.
The best way I know to grab that challenge by the ‘you-know-whats’ is to learn what we will accept and what we won’t (and be fair but fussy about that) and consciously construct easy to understand boundaries around ourselves for the outside world. You’ll be especially aware you have a problem with this if you notice seemingly never-ending cycles of emotions that bring you down when dealing with people around you. Making sure you're not continually over tired is a big one along with these boundary building tips:
1. Identify the emotions that drain and distress you
2. Work out what is setting them off (you may need an outside perspective for this)
3. If you find you’re buying in to the baggage of others remove yourself from that stuff
4. This can happen by negotiating an understanding of the problem or
5. Remove yourself (permanently or momentarily) make a choice and leave them to it
6. DROP YOUR FEARS OF BEING JUDGED FOR DARING TO HAVE BOUNDARIES!
"Life doesn’t make you anything. It throws down gauntlets, it issues challenges and gives us opportunities to be proud of ourselves and how we’ve met a challenge or become trapped in negativity."