Rearrange Your Rows: A Look at Boundaries

Each year, the count down from one year to the next bring promise of new things to come. It is a time of reflection and planning. It’s a time when many create objectives such as “lose weight this year” or “take better care of myself.” Most often resolutions are a promise to better care for themselves. Unfortunately, when we consider taking care of ourselves, we don’t always survey those around us to see how they are promoting or denying our efforts.

Self-care is any intentional action taken to care for your physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological health. This may include observing or changing one’s diet, adding exercise, enjoying a regular sleep schedule, ensuring medical wellness, psychotherapy, meditation, and even setting boundaries in enmeshed relationship. Although many don’t recognize that relationship management (hiring and firing) are an essential part of self-care, dismissing this task can maintain feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

According to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., PsychCentral correspondent, these are a few signs that you are engaged in a toxic or enmeshed relationship. If you find that you are:

  • Neglecting other relationships because of a preoccupation or compulsion to be in the relationship.
  • Basing your happiness or contentment on the state of your relationship.
  • Feeling extreme anxious or fearful with need to fix the problem in the relationship
  • Sad or depressed after speaking with or spending time with the person
  • Only spoken to when the person is in distress or having  a life crisis.

Some people have a tendency to “lob off” relationships that are distressing to them, and sometimes this is necessary. But consider this: Your relationships as more of a gallery. Pretend for a moment, that your life is actually a major event (a concert, a stand up act, etc). The guests (your relationships) are seated in the rows in front of the stage:

The Front Rows: This group receives the warmth of your spotlight. They enjoy the best of what you have to offer. They fuel the passion of the performance. They are active participants. You might go to the first row to elicit help for your next act. They provide the laughter and they sing along to your classic hits.

The Orchestra: This group offers a sense of completeness to the venue. They make the event of life feel fuller. They offer the warm welcome and maintain an appreciation of the performance. This section is still engaging in a give and take. You can still hear their support from center stage, however they are not as active in participation as the front row

The Balcony: This group is distant. They are the farthest from the performance, yet there is still value in their participation. They are out of reach, yet accessible as “the gallery.” Their laughter is welcome; however, the performer knows that they cannot connect intimately with this section, as there is too great a distance for a mutual benefit. Both the balcony and the performer know that this is not a give and take.

Absence of self-care through relationship maintenance may be contributing to feelings of depression or anxiety. Begin 2015 by sorting through your relationships.  Ask yourself today if you have been over-extending yourself. Escort your friends and family to the proper row. Start asking people to sit in the rows they’ve paid for. If you need assistance surveying your current relationships to see how they are impacting your mental health, please call us 770-742-9676 to set up an appointment.

Source for tips on setting boundaries.