July 7, 2022

E354: This is the SECRET to setting BOUNDARIES | Trauma Healing Podcast

In this episode, I'm going to talk about and break down the most important tools that you need to understand and order to successfully create and maintain your boundaries. I hope this brings you a lot of value.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e354-this-is-the-secret-to-setting-boundaries-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes

In this episode, I'm going to talk about and break down the most important tools that you need to understand and order to successfully create and maintain your boundaries.

I hope this brings you a lot of value.

Please share this with a friend who may need it today!

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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation. I am coming to you live from my living room floor right now. I don't wanna go to the office today and it was important for me to honor that I spent like 95 hours in there last week. And I thought to myself, you know what, I'm going to actually work from home today, and that feels really nice.

One of the things that I want to get into today that I think is incredibly important, is getting really clear and concise on the secret to setting boundaries because I know and with certainty that most people make a gigantic mistake when setting boundaries. And that mistake is that they actually don't start with themselves first. And so, I was thinking about this process. I was looking at my life and I was at a 4th of July event with a couple of my friends on Saturday and the topic of Fitness came up, cuz it was actually at this block party at a gym here in town. And one of the guys who I know pretty well says, hey man, so remind me how much weight did you lose? Cuz we were just talking about fitness and I said, I've lost like 140 pounds, a whole human really.  And he goes, man, how did you do it? Like, that's crazy to me, I could see it on his face and this happens a lot like, people don't understand it, but I know a lot of people who have lost a lot of weight and I would say the same thing to anyone who's done anything is that this whole process is really, truly about this secret about boundaries and you're probably like, well, what does weight loss have to do with boundaries? Well, what does anything have to do with anything? And ultimately, it's the truth and understanding that if we are willing to let ourselves down, if we do not honor our commitments to ourself, how can we ever expect that anyone will expect us to honor our commitments to them.

And I think about that, especially from, you know, a business standpoint, but also from a friendship and relationship and community standpoint, like I'm on the board for this amazing organization here in Denver called CO 1000, and I mean that those other people have an expectation that I'm going to try to bring other people into the charity, that I'm gonna try to bring people to the event that I'm gonna talk about it on the show from time to time. Right? It's my way of giving back to my community, living here. And that starts with me, it's the same way as you know, we break our promises all the time and instead of being like, okay, I got to be 350 pounds and look, let's be obvious here, trauma played a huge role in that like there's no question at all in my mind that I was basically repeating the punishing behavior of my youth to try to create significance in my life through an avenue that was not healthy. It's a coping mechanism, it's a strategy, I mean, we all have our thing, right? We all do something, but you can't change things without awareness.

And so, I would argue that in the same way you have a boundary in like being unhealthy, you have a boundary and being healthy. And it's just really you determining the way that you set that boundary in your life and whether or not you're gonna follow through. And so, I was looking at my life at, this juncture over the course of, you know, the last 12 years since making the decision to like start taking care of myself. And what I discovered was those boundaries, especially in the beginning, they're about you versus you, they're about you and yourself, they are about, are you going to ultimately follow through and do the things that you say that you will do and not do the things that you say you will not do? And it's really about honoring yourself and holding true to giving yourself the space that you need to be the person that you're capable of being.

And so, people will break their boundaries all of the time without actually understanding one of the really important truths in doing so, is that when you break your boundaries, you are reinforcing that you do not value yourself, and that's a hard truth. When you break your boundaries, you are reinforcing that you do not value yourself and not valuing yourself, comes from the experiences of the past in which you learn that your inherent value is not necessarily based on just simply existing, but instead about being whoever it is that other people need you to be. And when you're faced with that choice of trying to be yourself, what ultimately happens is you discover that the only way to know who you are is by honoring your truth and your reality, and not bending to yourself first and foremost. And that's the biggest secret. That's the thing that people don't understand, like they think and especially, I think in the conversation we have in mental health right now, people think, and believe that boundaries are about everybody else. Don't tread on me, right? Don't cross these lines. Don't whatever, when in actuality, your boundaries are about you, first and you'll find as you hold those boundaries too, the people around you will bend to you instead of you bending to them.

And bending isn’t necessarily about this idea about like, removing yourself from having authority in your life, but more so about holding fast and saying, this is who I am. And so, either you respect it or you don't, but you have to start with yourself and that like, do you respect you? And what I discovered; I did not respect me, I didn't, not at all because I'd never been taught that that was something that was allowable. Like that's the thing people don't really understand about trauma and abuse is we don't necessarily know that it's not okay to not respect ourselves, but it's not okay to not respect yourself like it's asinine, it's bullshit.

And if you are a person currently not respecting yourself, then you have to understand the truth in the secret that I just laid out that boundaries actually start with you. And so, often people will go, oh, that person's, you know, they're bending my boundary, they're gaslighting me, they're this they're that but like, go look in the mirror, go look in the mirror and ask yourself in all sincerity, like, are you making a choice not to do what you need to do in your life? And that's where I was. Right? So, you look at this journey and weight loss is easy, cuz you know, that's what's top of mind for me, you know, you look at that journey and the boundary was very simple. I said, I'm going to eat right, I'm going to work out, I'm going become a certified personal trainer, I'm going to study from all of these amazing fitness people I can find I'm going to do CrossFit, I'm going to do yoga, I'm gonna do whatever it takes, I'm gonna read all the books, I'm going to listen to all the seminars, I'm gonna go to as many events as I can. And the goal like, and that's one of the things too, is you have to like have clarity about your goal cuz the goal for me was, you know, I want a six pack and I wanna be super jacked and I wanna be able to run a marathon now, those things have happened, which is kind of really interesting to look back on in retrospect, but it all came in through this secret of the willingness to set a boundary with myself and not negotiate because a healthy boundary is how do I take care of myself today in the way that other people didn't take care of me when I needed them to; to teach me and help me understand how to take care of myself, right? It's this long, long, long linear experience of causation and correlation. And as much as I wish it were as simple as I realize I'm not taking care of myself, so I will take care of myself, what you actually come to discover is that you are not taking care of yourself and until you acknowledge that you are not doing so you will not be able to do so. And that's, what's really interesting about this is because, you know, if you look at this and you don't understand the reality of the acknowledgement, then moving towards this idea of setting boundaries with other people is gonna be a lost cause because often we will even set boundaries and not know why, like, why is that thing a boundary, like ask yourself, like get to the crux of it, like, what is that within you where you're like, it is so incredibly important and necessary that this has to be a boundary in my life because of X, because here's what will happen. Like I look at this, I found this to hold true multiple times in my life.

The first time you have a conversation with someone who oversteps a boundary, well, that happens because we never had the conversation about the boundary to begin with. And so, you'll have a conversation, in real time, you'll be like, wait a second, that feels uncomfortable, I'm not sure this person is taken care of my needs, I'm not sure this person respects me, you know, whatever it may be. And so, step one is you acknowledge that and then you have the conversation with them and at that point you don't even necessarily have to say, it's a boundary. You just say, hey, this is where I'm at with this, I would appreciate if you didn't do X. And that can often be the thing that kind of solves the problem. Now, maybe it doesn't and you head into step two and now you're into another conversation where it's actually a little bit deeper, and this is where acknowledgement and causation make a lot of sense because you're going to have to leverage this understanding that you have to be of benefit to you in the conversation with the other person, so, they have massive clarity about how you arrived at this conclusion that you arrived. And most people don't do that, most people do not create a foundational framework to help other people understand their boundaries. We are an analytical being like whether you like it or not, we need rhyme and reason to make sense and meaning of things so that we can move either to, from, against, way from those things, right?

And so, I'll give you a great example.

If somebody comes to me and they're just like, hey, by the way you cross my boundary, don't do it again, I very likely will then proceed to follow up, or I will follow up with that and I will say, tell me why that matters to you. And I'm not saying I wanna be very clear, I'm not saying you have to justify your boundaries to people because I don't believe that to be true. But what I am saying is if you can create that relationship in the conversation to give people a foundational understanding of why it actually matters, there is a higher likelihood that they will follow through and you will never have to have that conversation again.

And so, you sit down and you go, okay, this is a conversation about, I need you to do X because of Y and if you can do that, we will be in symbiosis, we'll be good. But most people go, this is my boundary, you're fucking asshole, I hate you, how dare you over cross my boundary. And most of the time, and again, this is because we're human beings and whether you like it or not as humans, even though we're incredibly intellectual, sometimes we are not that smart. And so, what happens is you have to sit in that, with that person and give them effectively a play by play a step book or step book, a guide book to understanding why that matters to you because if people don't understand why it matters to you, they're not going to make, they're not gonna take it seriously. And this loops back to acknowledgement because at the end of that, you're going to say, is that fair? You'll lay out the boundary, you'll lay out the reasoning, you'll acknowledge that, okay, this has happened again, even though we already had a conversation about it and then you will say, okay, so do you understand why this boundary's important to me and that person, if they have it any self-awareness at fucking all, what they will say is yes, of course, that makes perfect sense to me. And then you will follow that up and say, okay, so you agree not to do that anymore because you understand is that fair? And they'll go, yeah, that's fair, that makes total sense to me. I get it. And if they don't, chances are, that's a person you don't want in your life, just cut and dry because if you've now had this conversation twice, once of which you brought it up the second time you went into the depths of it, and they're still not respecting you, that is a problem because then that leads to three conversation three, which is far more difficult, one that's incredibly uncomfortable, one that really requires boundaries and that is the conversation about respect and getting to the point in the conversation where you have to lay out to them in massive clarity, hey, I explained this to you multiple times, you do not respect me, thus, this is the consequence of that, whatever that might be. And that holds true in friendships and businesses and relationships and community and everything that you do. And the reason why is because now you have done, at least this is my opinion for a cognizant and aware person, you have done everything in your power to make sure that they understand why that actually matters to you.

And so, if they do not understand that at that point, you have to actually assess the reality of the truth of the situation that they just do not respect you. And that is cause for escalation into figuring out what is next, but this is the really interesting part about it. So that's my framework for how I address boundaries with people.

I've done it time and time and time again but the missing element to that, that most people overlook the secret to this whole conversation is that that boundary actually starts with you because if you don't have self-awareness around yourself, self-awareness around yourself. If you do not have this, then you cannot possibly set boundaries cuz you don't know, because you don't know you cuz you haven't explored you, you haven't decided who you are, you haven't done the work, you haven't shown up, you haven't learned what you need to learn to understand about you. And of course, there's some like hard, fast boundaries that I think are probably givens for anyone.

You know, to me, I think about those being like don't yell at me, don't hit at me, don't belittle me, don't call me out of my name, those to me feel like really hard, fast boundaries like those should be applicable across the board, but again, sometimes they're not so you have to address them. But when you get into the deeper level boundaries, things that are about who you are as a human being, you have to know who you are in order to have that conversation. And in order to have that conversation, know who you are, you first have to make sure that you are doing and saying the things that you are going to do and say that you are going to do and say, because if you do not, then you automatically by default and again, this is my opinion, do not respect yourself.

And the hard part about that is you cannot expect other people to respect you, if you do not respect you first. And I know that's fucking awful thing to hear, it sucks to even say it, but the longer that I do this and the more that I understand human behavior, the more that feels true, because the moment that you start respecting yourself, you will start to call attention to other people who are not respecting you in reciprocation. But that all starts with your boundaries, that starts with you doing what you say you're gonna do when you say you're gonna do it, how you're gonna say you're going to do it with no excuses being made. And that's a part of this growth journey, like that's the biggest secret to boundaries, like that's the hidden gem and all of this, right?

People are always exploring and having this conversation about boundaries, like, honestly, I've even had it, like go look at some of the older episodes of the show. I've talked about it, but I haven't gone into depths on this because it just dawned on me like natively that's what I've done since I was like 17 years, really like 14 years old, cuz I've a restraining order on my mother and my stepfather at 14. At 18, I told my mom, I never talked to her again, blah, blah blah, the list goes on I've gone into this before. But you know, that comes with self-awareness and I looked at my life at 14, 16, 18 years old, and I knew if my mother was in my life, I would not be capable of being where I am today and that started with self-awareness that sta started with acknowledgement so that's where I went. I hope that you guys will start.

Unbroken Nation. Thank you so much for listening.

I appreciate it greatly, my friend.

I hope this brings you a lot of value.

Please share this with a friend who may need it today.

You never know if you could change somebody's life by sharing this message. If you have questions or comments about this show, you can always leave a review. If you go to iTunes or Spotify, or you can message me at michael@thinkunbroken.com or @MichaelUnbroken, I always respond to everybody who reaches out to me.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.