Set boundaries ~ Protect your precious time and energy.

spiralSetting boundaries has never been my strong suit. My “people-pleaser” sub-personality works very hard to make sure that everyone is happy and taken care of.  She is not interested in my needs. Nor does she care that in her wish to be loved, she puts the needs of others before my own which contributes to my dis-ease. Yep, I am going to go there.

It is important for anyone with a chronic illness (dis-ease) or super busy lifestyle to STOP and look at the “what’s and why’s” of their lives. Of course, this is no easy task and requires a deep commitment to look at our relationships, including our relationship with our illness.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS), like most chronic illnesses, drains the energy (life force) out of the host body. (I am intentionally trying avoiding the word victim here).  Fatigue is often one of the biggest challenges to overcome or manage. I know it well. Poor balance and fatigue led me to retire from my work as an occupational therapist.

Even though I only worked part-time, the physical demands of the job left me exhausted for a couple of days.  I had very little energy to do things with family or friends or take part in the activities that were most meaningful to me.

On paper, and as I write this, it looks like it was a pretty easy decision to make. I said no. But here’s the deal…. it was one of the toughest decisions I had to make. Quitting my job brought all kinds of feelings related to my self-worth, disappointing my family, giving-up or giving-in, admitting my weakness, etc.  I can go on but you get the idea….

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”  ~Joan Didion

Setting BOUNDARIES is more than just saying no to people or opportunities that don’t feel good or right, although that’s important, too. When you are dealing with an illness it is also about loving your body and yourself enough to truly care for it. For me that meant, leaving my job and the ongoing personal work of peeling away the layers of guilt, disappointment, and feelings of unworthiness that often go with illness.  I believe that is why we often talk about setting BOUNDARIES but have difficulty with implementation.

Of all the posts that I have written in this series so far, this one strikes a chord. I am not sure that what I have written makes sense. I always try to keep my writing on the shorter side but this one could get lengthy…. It appears that I have more work to do around setting boundaries and taming my “people-pleaser” sub-personality.  I am going to stop here.

My goal in writing these weekly posts has been to provide a structure to get back to writing (which I have neglected), to focus on my self-care,  and to be of service in some small way. I keep them short out of respect for your time.  (Hmm…. is this really my people-pleaser again?)  That said, I leave you with the following to consider:

What are you saying yes to?  

If we reframe the concept of  setting BOUNDARIES , we might ask, “what we are allowing or saying yes to than saying no to?” 

What’s in it for you and/or what need is being met when you say yes?

Related Posts:  2015~ a year of self-care

4 thoughts on “boundaries

  1. Peggy, I still struggle with this too….although I am becoming more aware of the extent of it and that is the first step, right? I read this at the right time because just now I was debating going out and helping a friend or laying down to keep my illness under control. Your article is confirmation that I should rest first and then help my friend. Thank you.


  2. Peggy.. you are such an inspiration for me! Setting the boundaries is the stretch for those of us who are, as you said “people pleasers”. Now I am encouraged to put the word REST at the top of my list, before it was just something I had to do. I appreciate your writing, keep it going and don’t limit those thoughts. Writing is the gift you give us all:)


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