Self Care is Not Selfish: Professional Boundaries
These past two weeks I’ve come across some communication mishaps; boundaries were either not set or just ignored and it resulted in not one but two crappy, but necessary, conversations. I wanted to share my experience and show the tools I used to get through these uncomfortable scenarios.
As some of ya’ll may know, I come from a background based in sociology and rooted in mental health. I believe in championing the viewpoint of “Meeting People Where They’re At” (MPWTA) and this motto has not only helped me in being a better case worker and social worker but it has provided a view-point, or rest stop, for my Type A, Right/Wrong always thinking self. For Mental Health Professionals (MHP for short), using this method of perceived empathy is a way to not only gain access into someone else’s life, but an invitation to leave the ego behind. In social services, our jobs aren’t to change people or their behavior but to help them remove barriers. To “meet people where they’re at” is to take all the hostility you may feel towards someone and just drop it with the acceptance that just like you, other people have free *agency.
I use the slogan, MPWTA, not only in my day job, but also interpersonally and in this baby side business. This past week, i’ve had to use it EVERY. DAMN. DAY. And I’m going to take this time to go over some situations where using mindfulness kept me from acting like a bratty 7 year old or committing crimes.
My first task was to remember that Feminism + Business Oriented (Does Not) = Cattiness. I can understand that building businesses and just being in the business industry as a womyn can be a fucking CHALLENGE. Whether that’s enduring sexual harassment, physical harassment, covert and overt verbal abuse and constant objectification, and so much more. It’s a lot. Womyn have to work twice as hard to get half as far. I also get that it’s hard to take any feelings from past events or scenarios and not drop them completely to give every new task a clean receptive slate. We’re not made that way. No one is, and it’s even harder for womyn to do this because we deal with so much more negativity and bullshit then men do. Now that I get that, I can discuss task 2.
I can be understanding AND also not take any bullshit. I, can be offended. I can allow myself to take offense to things. Was that email I received rude? Was that text message too blunt? Did the tone I received match in anyway the tone I presented? No? Well okay then, I’m going to be pissed about it.
And that’s okayyy. And I don’t give myself a timeline to stop feeling pissed about something. I can feel feelings for as long as I feel them and NOT top shame on top of it.
What I do in these scenarios when I feel upset, BEFORE COMMUNICATING BACK IS:
Not type a response while I’m hot. I understand that my body creates a Fight or Flight hormone when I feel attacked, and while this is surprising to people, I am a Flighter. So if I respond while I’m upset it’s going to result in me MAKING SURE that I don’t work with that person again. And sometimes, that’s not a decision I can make in rapid fire. So I give myself time before responding.
I’ll also let a friend read the response, with little or no context about the original message. That way it takes all of yourself and your ego out of the equation and you can get an objective response. If my friend reads my response and thinks “uhh.. What happened?” I *probably shouldn’t send it.
Understanding that not all business is good business. In the words of Halle Berry, “If I don’t feel fulfilled, listened to, and appreciated, it’s not a place I need to be”. I’m learning that some closed doors aren’t a road block to make me late to the party, but to take me to the RIGHT party.
This is just the first step for me, as I haven't tackled yet how to respond to negativity in the "perfect way". I'm looking for tools myself, and while I agree that I shouldn't accept shit thrown at me, I also still want to hustle and #circuseverydamnday and I can't just say "no" to every scenario. So, you're on this journey with me while I figure out how to do emotional clean up because I can tell you I haven't figured that out yet. I'm looking more into "shine theory" and ways of highlighting other people's strength in scenario's but I need more research..
This is me trying to act like an adult and be respectful, but also practicing self care and self love. Has there ever been a scenario that you used similiar tools? Or that these tools would have been helpful? Let me know! I’d also love to write more on how MPWTA is helping with intention setting and ways I need to improve in time management. Would ya’ll read that? Let me know!
Have a great fall weekend and enjoy this sun while we have it <3