YOUR Personal Limits vs Societal Expectations – Why Being Good Isn’t Always Best!

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say & what you do are in harmony.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

On the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #88, Tanya Cole Lesnick, a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker and coach since 1995 talks about how group therapy or sharing circles can guide people to live lives that lighten them up. We also discuss why and how setting boundaries helps people honor their truth, change habits that don’t serve them and heal faulty narratives to live in alignment inside and out.

The following information are just a few of the golden nuggets from my insightful conversation with Tanya Cole-Lesnick. Listen to the entire episode here.

Getting To Know Yourself & Energetic Clutter

Getting to know ourselves is the most healing part of any transformation process. In a sharing circle, initially it can be daunting to share feelings and experiences (of meditation & breathwork) but eventually we see the power in them because when somebody shares something in a group setting, it sparks somebody else’s experience or insights they had forgotten about which helps bring more layers of richness and depth in everyone’s journey. These intimate groups create a safe space which is the most powerful way for lives to transform. Tanya advises to pay attention to little moments, nuances and insights in between & after sessions. It is important to get curious and understand what is resonating for you? What is bringing up pain? What is bringing up joy? People who put their energy in this questioning are the ones who have the most significant transformations and it becomes an ongoing practice. If somebody is not meditating or paying attention to what comes up for them, they can’t access their hearts or intuition. The realization of what’s running the show for us becomes our lens and with any limiting belief our lives end up like a pinball machine where we are bouncing from one thing to another, that is not heart centered.

Energetic clutter are all the things that demand our focus, energy and time, but they are not helping us move the needle towards growth or how we want to feel. These include limiting beliefs that we carry from childhood and the behaviors that get paired with them. For example, putting a lot of effort into pleasing tendencies (what other people want) and putting yourself later. The problem is we get so depleted that our energy is gone by the time we come to ourselves.

I invite you to listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #67, “How Can You Create Freedom Through Fitness?”

Limiting Beliefs with Boundary Setting

Here are some of the reasons why setting boundaries is difficult and an alien concept in many societies:

  1. People pleasing:  The core wound here is that you have to please somebody or you won’t be loved. Some of us have learned that when “I please others, I get a lot of positive things in response, so I’m going to keep doing that to get what I want”.
  2. Feels unsafe: The brain is always deciding safe or unsafe. If those are the only two decisions the brain is deciding between, then anything negative goes into the unsafe category. Growing up that we see, ‘oh! this gets me a negative response’ and ‘this gets me a positive response’ and make choices that favor positive responses.
  3. Needing to hustle for your worth: As kids there is a lot of pressure with grades and to accomplish certain things. This keeps getting more intense as we age.
  4. Feeling like you’re too much: This includes feelings like ‘you’re too emotional’, ‘you’re too expressive’, ‘you’re too needy’, or anything that implies ‘you’re too much’. Growing up in a situation where you were overwhelming to your caretaker, because they weren’t managing their own feelings & that somehow gets communicated to you as “your feelings are too much”.
  5. Not enough: This is the opposite of too much feeling like you’re not enough. With this response towards you, it is hard to get the attention that you are longing for.
  6. It is better to take care of others than to take care of ourselves: This is the classic martyr mother with the big compliment “she’s amazing – she never thinks of herself, always puts everybody first” and the idea of being a martyr somehow is the best way to be. This is a hard rewiring and it is not good for our kids, especially daughters to see us not taking care of ourselves. The societal stigma that the best mothers protect their kids from pain is not helpful as children need to have some experiences that many mothers have protected them from.

Listen to my motivational podcast with Kate McDowell “Reversing MS with Nutrition, Mindset & Lifestyle Habits” on the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #49.

What Does It Mean To Live In Alignment With Your Truth?

If people don’t question some of the limiting beliefs, they accept them as ‘this is the way the world goes.’ For example, if someone feels the need to hustle for worth, they are not going to allow themselves to rest. However, rest is really important to recenter focus and balance ourselves. If rest is not given due importance, then we go through life in a frenzied way, being dysregulated. In society, workaholism, perfectionism and being a ‘mother martyr’ is very celebrated. This is why:

  1. We must realize that there’s more to life and find ways to balance out without the fear of questioning these tendencies.
  2. Take difficult steps to start breaking these patterns and honor ourself by setting boundaries and saying no.
  3. Even when we know things intellectually, we have to catch up emotionally to some of the stuff that we are starting to question. Breathwork integration coaching is a powerful modality similar to talk therapy that can identify limiting beliefs and explore core wounds for healing.

To live in alignment with our truth reiterates the idea of getting to know ourselves really well. We don’t know what’s in alignment if we don’t know ourselves. As we start to learn who we are, what matters to us, what depletes us, what energizes us etc. then we can honor those things in our lives. This way we have more meaning in our hearts and are more connected to things that matter and are energizing. When we are in alignment, it gives us more energy, enjoyment and a flow that honors our true selves. I quote: “If you love what you do never have to work a day in your life”!

I invite you to listen to episode #38 “Detox 101: Your Top Questions Answered”, on the Self-Care Goddess Podcast.

Symptoms To Know You Must Set Boundaries:

  • Energy burnout /drain
  • Feeling uncomfortable
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Feeling depleted
  • Not choosing things that take a lot of energy

When experiencing any of these it is important to honor your truth and identify when you have to stop saying yes. We need to get more discerning about when to say yes and when to say no after connecting to our inner truth.

For some insights on hormone balancing strategies, you can read my blogpost “Weight Loss and Hormone Balancing for Midlife Women”.

Tips & Suggestions For Setting Boundaries

1. Know you really want to set a boundary. It’s not easy to do, so be clear that it is worth the discomfort it may bring up for you.

2. Start paying attention to your pain points. It could be resentment, irritability or feeling depleted and jot them down on your phone. Notice when this comes up for you and pay attention to that to increase awareness.

3. After we have that clarity, start small, it is not easy to do some of these things.

4. Celebrate every step of the way. Recognizing the pattern is something to celebrate. When you’re able to identify what you want the boundary to be, celebrate. When you think ‘I am going to tell so and so no because I realized that is an energy vampire’, celebrate. There are so many mini goals that help us to get to the end result. Celebrating yourself on each incremental step towards you choosing yourself is a huge success. After all, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”.

4. If you keep setting the goal and you’re struggling to do it (you want to set that boundary but can’t do it) then explore what kind of support would be helpful. It could be coaching/ group sessions or having an accountability partner.

Take Home Message

If you choosing you is disappointing for somebody else, it doesn’t mean don’t do it. We must start to get comfortable with people not liking it when you choose yourself. It’s still important to honor yourself and do it anyway. Figure out what do you need to communicate? How do you need to handle the challenge of presenting to somebody else that you are going to choose yourself whether they like it or not?

Be more discerning of when to say yes, and when to say no, and when it’s difficult to say a “no”, try saying “not now”. Also, don’t believe everything you think, because some of our thoughts are automatic and we must challenge them (overthinking). Be kind to yourself, we often get frustrated and impatient feeling we should be able to do new things right away, but it doesn’t happen that way so being kind to yourself through the process for consistency.

Listen to the full podcast episode #88 on the Self-Care Goddess Podcast.

Here are this week’s self-care tips. For past podcast guests self-care habits, check out my Instagram or Facebook page.

For free guided meditation videos and Breathwork demonstrations subscribe to my YouTube channel.

I look forward to connecting with you and learning more about your story and your health and wellness goals. Schedule a FREE introduction call here.