Ask Dr G Boundaries
Written by Doctor G

How to Set Boundaries


Who, you might be wondering, is the worst yoga student ever? Me. It’s me.

I’ve tried yoga more than a dozen times and I’m bad at every single part of it (except showing up, apparently). I’m not even a tiny bit flexible, my balance is dreadful, and I’m maybe the least patient person you’ve ever met. I am usually doing a few things at once and pretty quickly, while also thinking about 17 other things. Since yoga is the art of doing one thing at a time (and slowly!) you can maybe see how profoundly I fail at it every time. 

But I keep going back, because of this one thing I really want to learn from the practice of yoga: how to notice thoughts and feelings and then let them go. 
As I understand it, yoga is not about controlling your mind, it’s about letting go of trying to control allthethings allthetime. This is an incredible boundary setting skill. 

Of the eight resilience skills, setting boundaries is one of the hardest for most of us to learn. I’m working on it myself, and finding that setting boundaries isn’t only about controlling what’s inside my boundaries and rejecting everything else. Setting boundaries, for me, involves:

  • idenitfying my priorities
  • noticing the things I think I should be responsible for
  • matching them against my priorities
  • choosing to notice and release the responsibilities that don’t match my goals

That doesn’t even sound easy, right?

So, like everything, let’s try one thing. What’s one thing you’re spending time and energy on that doesn’t match your priorities?

For me, that one thing is whether or not my kids’ rooms are clean. I’m teaching them responsibility (one of my priorities) by helping me keep the rest of our home clean. That’s enough. I don’t have to experience the frustration and friction of room arguments because I do want them to have a little of their own space, and because this way they can learn the advantages and disadvantages of sloppiness through natural consequences. Less work for me.
Any thoughts? Comment please and tell me! Unless you want to tell me how awesome yoga is… I get it! I just don’t, you know, get it.

All my best,

Dr. G

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