Posting this picture up recently on Facebook elicited a lot of comments. People were saying things like “Oh yes, I used to be nice” and “reading this gives me strength”

This makes me think – do we feel like we are being mean when we are just setting boundaries for ourselves? Do we need validation from someone else to be able to give ourselves attention and space?

Being firm means being resolute; making a decision, setting a boundary and then sticking to it. Being mean can be a conscious choice to hurt somebody, or an unconscious cry for help. Needing space for yourself to think, to ground, to clear your energy (whether that be through exercise, sleep, reading a book or other activity that nurtures you) is vital. You have to be able to do this to get energy in order to give energy back.

I heard someone give a talk last week about personal power. She said “It’s the old put your oxygen mask on before everyone else thing”. The audience nodded their heads and looked puzzled – they really didn’t understand what she meant. It is so important to really explain this concept. It is something that I came to terms with a long time ago, and I knew that I was accepted into my psychotherapy degree course 5 years ago when I used this very phrase, and saw the smiles on the faces of the interview panel.

We must get energy in order to give it. We cannot give our energy to everyone else, we then have none left. Simple as that. It can be a straightforward as setting boundaries. For example, if I took all my client’s troubles home with me how would I ever be able to relax? To sleep? I make sure that when I am available for my clients I am fully available, refreshed and alert. I want to be the best that I can be.

This means that I don’t take client calls when I’m with my family, after hours or when I am driving. When I am not working I get rest, I play games with my children and I do things that I love. By making firm boundaries and having space to myself, I recharge and rejuvenate myself. And then I can be fully available, and the work is magical.

Where can you set better boundaries in your life? Please leave a comment.