Setting Boundaries and Showing Up for Yourself favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - May 15th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Self-Love, Growth, Motherhood, Family, Love, Friendship

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

How often has your intuition warned you that the exchange (physical or energetic!) between you and another individual was unfair, unbalanced or absolutely exhausting? More importantly, how often have you ignored your intuition to benefit that other individual’s needs before your own?

In today’s episode, Rachel discusses the importance of setting and keeping boundaries for the sake of your own mental health.

It can be so hard to set boundaries and stick to them. As women and mothers especially, we are taught that we are here to serve. But setting boundaries is a radical form of self-care – and when you are at your best self, everyone around you benefits, too. Doing what you need to do to take care of yourself and show up for yourself is a way to heal both yourself and co-dependent relationships.

This week’s episode will help you take a deeper look into areas of your life that may need some firmly set boundaries and show you exactly how to set them.

Tune in to learn one ultimate truth of life: you don’t owe anyone anything that drains you. The world can only benefit from you choosing yourself.



[0:02] Welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, how are you doing right now? Ugh, I’m having such a strange day [laughs]. Today is…I have no idea what day of quarantine it is, I, I dunno, how long did we, we count? I think the first month we were really counting because it felt like “ooo, this is like…this is crazy, this is a big deal, this is all so strange.” Now everything feels normal, I think it’s going to feel really strange to head out into the world again. I know it’s been more than two solid months, I have not seen the inside of a grocery store for two months, which is super odd, of course we still do groceries once a week, but my husband has graciously taken on that task. I haven’t seen anybody, haven’t been to a restaurant, haven’t had the studio open, have had every day some weird sense of dread, you know, and having this for two months straight, which we all have been experiencing, which we all are experiencing to different levels and different degrees right now, it’s taxing [laughs].

[1:09] That’s kind of what I’m, what I’m sitting with today, it’s just the feeling of, of heaviness, or that feeling of dread which comes and goes. Along with all the, the change, the unwanted change that we’ve experienced, all the, the loss that we’ve experienced. And of course, the silver linings and the good things that also have come our way throughout this time. All in all, the, [laughs] the consensus is, it’s heavy. It is, it is. Two months…and for some of you, you know, if you’re in other parts of the world or different parts of Europe, or Asia, you know, it’s much longer than that. But for us over here, it’s two months and, and something.

[1:49] [Sighs] Lea Luna, this happened, so we, we went into lockdown, it was March 13, it was her birthday [laughs] and she still talks about her birthday party every day. You know, she’s three years old, I don’t think she has a solid grasp of time yet, but she still talks about her birthday party every day, asking us when, you know, “soon” we’re going to have this birthday party, “soon,” she’s very clear about the fact that, because that’s what we told her: “we can’t have it now, but it’s going to be soon.” And it’s 60 days later, two months later, and it’s still happening “soon,” at some point [laughs] And I’m just like, “are we really going to ever…” you know, all the things that were missed, right, the celebrations, the milestones, the anniversaries, the graduations, like all the things now that were put on hold, are they gonna happen? [Laughs] You know, is there going to be a moment where we can suddenly all gather in that same way, or…? I, I have a lot of, a lot of questions today, so before I dive into, dive into all of this, how about we take a moment to, to ground.

[2:57] Yeah, yeah I need it [laughs]. I need it, I think it means you need it too, wherever you are. So, taking a moment just right now, as you are, close your eyes, let’s find a way to physically connect to the body right now, so if it means putting your hands somewhere on your body, on your belly, your heart, your legs, just wherever you’re at intuitively reach for this connect with your body here, now. Our bodies are, you know, one of many things that are likely to have changed during this pandemic, I can definitely feel it. So see if as you reach for your body right now, as you make this connection, if you can do it just with love, right? Just from an open space of embracing where you are right now.

[3:50] And then with that, allow yourself to move into a bit of a deepening of the breath right now. [Inhales] Breathing in through the nose, out through the nose. And start to slow things down, just a bit. Shift awareness from your, from your mind, from your ego, from your thinking brain, and bring that awareness into the body, to that deeper level of, of your heart, of your soul, and maybe connecting to that place, that place in the bottom of the belly where you can sense a bit of, of connection. Our, our seat of trust, you know, that gut feeling of, of intuition and of trust, of trusting in the world; it sits right there, in the pit of the stomach. Maybe checking in, just noticing what’s lingering there right now.

[4:54] And as you continue to breathe, as you continue to keep your awareness in this really beautiful, precious place, notice and witness what comes up for you. So for me in this moment, I can immediately sense a bit of sadness, I can feel it, it’s almost this kind of cool feeling in my belly, some sadness there today. [Breathes deeply] I can feel a bit of heaviness across my heart. And at the same time I feel there’s ease present in my body too. It’s always a wonderful moment when you can actually experience two contrasting things or two contrasting feelings at the same time, like “okay, hmm, I can feel sad and also experience a sense of flow,” right? Or a sense of ease in my body. I can feel some despair and also be grateful, right, isn’t that interesting how we can be so many things, feel so much, all at the same time.

[6:07] So whatever is true for you in this moment, whatever is surfacing, whatever you are feeling here, now, just take a few moments to allow for that to be the way it is. Such a powerful practice, yeah? Just for a moment acknowledging what’s unfolding and putting the resistance down, especially for things that are uncomfortable, right? It’s hard to sit with grief, it’s hard to experience and really be with frustration or angst or anxiety. So it’s a really beautiful practice to just acknowledge and be with whatever’s here now. To not be so quick to try to change it or shift it or move away from it, but just notice. [Breathes deeply] And if a deep breathe wants to come through…sometimes when we put a bit of resistance down and we allow, there’s that deep, big belly breath that just comes our way. It’s like the body can just relax into that allowing a little bit, like “okay, yeah, I feel anxiety. Okay, it’s okay to feel that way.” Right? I don’t have to add another layer of emotion on top of the emotion, you know, adding guilt to the anxiety, or shame to the felling, whatever it is we’re attaching to as negative or feeling like it shouldn’t be that way, you know? It’s just putting that resistance down and acknowledging that this is where I am. This is where we are.

[7:55] So let’s take another deep breath into this place, here, now, as we are. And then open the mouth, and let some of it out [exhales]. Let’s do that again, that felt good, so inhale in through the nose [inhales] open the mouth [exhales]. And gently blink your eyes back open. [Laughs softly] Feels so good just to connect, right? And it doesn’t take any time at all. I think we can spend whole days kind of moving around the core of what we really need to sit with, and we get really busy and, you know, we get caught up in this idea of things we have to get done, or where we should be in our lives, or what we’re thinking about, or talking about, or arguing about, or trying to fix, and actually all we need is to just be with ourselves.

[9:03 — Commercial Break]

[10:31] Speaking from the heart in this moment [inhales] where am I? I have a lot of weird things going on in my life right now [laughs]. It’s…it’s kind of fascinating, actually, I mean we all have weird things going on in our lives, like we’re all in the middle of this strange, strange pandemic, this weird [laughs] weird, terrible, awful, and beautiful somehow at the same time, time of our lives. And somehow, my, my life keeps getting a little stranger, I don’t know. So there’s a lot of things coming my way right now that actually I can’t get into details about, just some specific things that are, that are private or just that I can’t, can’t share in detail right now, which makes of course talking about them in a podcast a little bit challenging.

[11:20] But what I’m kind of understanding in terms of where I have arrived in my life right now is this feeling of underlying issues that I’ve had within myself, or patterns that have been really hard for me to realize and to actually let go of, like things that haven’t really been working that have been inside of me, right? Whether it’s been a feeling of, feeling overwhelmed. A feeling of stress, of feeling of having to accomplish all the time. A feeling of giving too much, I’ve had that a lot, or a feeling of being taken advantage of in different ways. A feeling of distrust, of not being safe, like whatever it is that, you know, over the past months and years that I’ve been going through and experiencing. I’m in this space in my life right now where for some reason, the Universe is kind of, it’s like I can imagine the Universe like taking it’s hand and putting it straight down my throat into my heart, pulling that discomfort of whatever that challenge is out into the world, and manifesting it into something actually tangible and real in my life.

[12:33] [Laughs] I don’t know if this worked as a metaphor to paint the picture, but do you guys understand what I mean? It’s kind of like yeah, like this pandemic, the first weeks of the pandemic, you know, when I thought Lea Luna had corona, when I thought, we thought she had COVID-19, and then she had to get tested and you know, I was kind of stockpiling foods because I was terrified Aruba wouldn’t have any foods, and I really had this sense of “we’re not safe.” I don’t feel that way any more because, yeah, two months have passed and, you know surprise, surprise, we’re still okay [laughs] but that feeling of like “oh, my God, I don’t feel safe in this world,” and I realized very quickly that “hey, this fear isn’t new,” right? I’ve been through enough trauma in my life that I’ve had that, that feeling of not being safe, it has been lingering inside me for as long as I can remember. Like I never really, never really felt safe in this world.

[13:27] And that was a huge epiphany for me to have, to realize how unsafe I have felt, how much of my life has been spent trying to orchestrate or create a sense of safety that wasn’t there, right? And also how much, you know, time and energy I’ve spent fearing things, like thinking about and, and imagining, and envisioning and kind of going through scenarios in my head of losing people that I love. All of this is very normal, right, if you’ve ever lost someone, if you’ve been through loss, if you’ve been through a trauma or traumatic experience, this is all super normal, absolutely human. But for me, I haven’t been, it hasn’t been a very conscious thing, you know, I haven’t had that consciously in front of me, kind of in my mind’s eye of like, “oh,” like, “hey Rach, like remember, remember that it’s hard for you to feel safe, right? And remember that a sense of safety for you is a really important thing. That’s why you act this way in these kinds of relationships. That’s why you get really controlling sometimes. That’s why you check the baby monitor a hundred times every day, or every night when your daughter is sleeping.” Like I’ve had those patterns, but I haven’t been so, I haven’t been aware of them enough for me to bring kindness into that situation. Does that make sense?

[14:43] And then the moment it was like, okay, I had this sense of this lack of safety that I’ve felt inside of me all my life, it was manifested in real time, like in real life, like “okay, global pandemic. We aren’t safe,” right? There was a big moment there when really, we didn’t feel safe. We didn’t know if we were safe. The media was telling us all day long “we’re not safe.” We didn’t know “are we going to have food? Are we going to get sick? Are we going to die? Are we going to be okay?” And I had those moments or those days of kind of, you know, pushing myself into a frenzy trying to, to get my things in order to experience some sense of safety. And through that experience of course, you know, I was able to actually relate to “hey, this isn’t new.” [Laughs] It was like, you know, “this isn’t a new feeling for me. Not feeling safe? Like I know what this is like, it’s just heightened, right?” It’s just….

[15:37] I keep coming back to this thing that Glennon Doyle — if you don’t follow Glennon Doyle on Instagram, you must, she’s a treasure — but we did a bathroom floor session on Instagram Live, and, and she said this sentence that just really stuck out to me, where we’re talking about how the feelings and the fears and the anxieties that we’re feeling now, it not new, it’s all things that we’ve already felt, already had inside. It’s like…here’s what she said: “it’s like we’re in the advanced class of what…of the class we’re always in. Of the class we’re already in.” It’s like what we’re experiencing now, it’s just the advanced version of everything that’s already true, right? So the fear is bigger, yeah, because it’s pandemic fear, it’s like a big global thing, but that sense of not feeling safe, it’s like I felt like that all the time, you know. And the moment I recognized that, the moment I could kind of reconcile those things of like, “oh, hey, this isn’t new. I’ve known this feeling before. Actually, I walk around with this feeling kind of all the time.” [Laughs]

[16:39] It’s actually, like for me, when I, when I enter a new space, a new situation, new scenario, this is my, it’s kind of my, my core sense of operating, even. I’m always the one who wants to control every situation, who wants to make sure we have everything in order. I overpack because I’m scared we’re not going to have enough, I over-prepare. When we’re travelling I’ll bring enough food to feed the whole plane because I’m scared we’re going to run out of food. Like the feeling of, of shortage, the feeling of lack, the feeling not being safe, of having to keep track of everything, know where everyone is, know how everyone’s doing, like I always, I’ve always been that way [laughs] you know? It’s just coronavirus made that into an advanced version, right? A heightened version of everything I was already experiencing.

[12:28] So, in a sense, you know, that fear was also a huge opportunity for me. A really big opportunity, a big, yeah, almost like a big blessing, actually, for me to get really clear with what’s lingering inside of me that maybe isn’t serving me very well, you know. Or maybe realizing that “hey, okay, I have a big wound here that I haven’t attended to in a long time.” And when I can get conscious with it and bring some kindness to it, it eliminates a lot of the, the guilt that comes along with patterns that I have in my life in terms of how I interact in different situations. So for instance, we’ll be in a situation of whatever, something that I, that brings me discomfort because I’m not feeling safe, and I go into over-controlling mode, right? I’m not feeling safe for whatever reason, and I feel like the way to safety is for me to know everything, right? I need to be in charge, I need to know exactly what we’re doing, I need to have everything mapped out and planned out, I need to be in the know. Because being in the know, being in control makes me feel safe, it’s like, makes me feel like I can control the outcome.

[18:37] So, I’ll go into that overdrive kind of crazy controlling mode, which of course is horrible for other people in my life [laughs]. I mean, usually that “other people in my life” is my husband, right? And when I go into that space of like, “I need to control everything,” I get really bossy, I get kind of shrill, I can get mean, you know, if I don’t get my way in those moments when it’s like, it’s important to me that we do this my way, but it comes out in kind of a bad way, you know? So usually when that happens, what comes along with is I tack on another feeling to that feeling, the underlying feeling of anxiety and fear, and that feeling usually is guilt afterwards, like, “ugh, I shouldn’t have done that. Why am I like this? Why do I have to be so controlling? It’s just, it’s not, it’s not attractive, kind of embarrassing, and I’m like creating issues in my relationship, and it’s…I don’t want to be this person,” right? And then I feel guilty because I acted in that way, when actually, you know, when I can be really present and conscious with the fact that “hey, you lack a general sense of safety in life.” That’s a huge fucking thing, like that is not one, it’s not normal, right? You shouldn’t have to walk through life not feeling safe, like that is like a basic thing that we all deserve, to feel safe and secure in life, like holy shit, that’s a massive thing.

[20:01] And then it makes sense for me to be this way. It’s like the moment I’m conscious with it and I can relate the fact that I am the way that I am because of these things that happened to me, so of course I don’t feel safe, so of course I’m more controlling than other people are, especially in situations that, that take me out of my comfort zone, of that make me, kind of throw me, you know, in places where I just get triggered in different ways. And the moment I’m conscious, I can bring kindness into that space, I can just like, “oh hey, hey Rach,” you know, kind of remind myself like, “okay. We’re touching in that area now where there’s something happening that makes you feel unsafe right now, let’s address that, right? Before I jump into the reaction of the overdrive, the trying to manipulate the situation, trying to control, getting angry, whatever it is, you know, before I jump into that reaction, let’s sit with it for a little bit. Let’t take a breath here, let’s define maybe, or trace our steps back to what is the thing here that makes you feel unsafe? And how about we talk about that.” You know, it’s such a different thing for me to, to tell my husband like “hey,” so it often happens when we’re travelling….

[21:16] This is like, I don’t talk about this a lot, but I am really not, I don’t want to say I’m scared of flying because I’m not…you know, there’s fear of flying, like people have legitimate big fears that keep them from wanting to take flights, and, you know, that kind of like makes you want to bring a valium on the plane, like I don’t have that. But I generally don’t feel good on a plane. Like I, let’s put it at that. Like turbulence on a plane, yeah, freaks me out completely…I guess I am a little scared of flying. But we do fly, normally we fly, like I have flown a lot in my life, we fly obviously not at all now and less over the last couple of years, but.… So whenever we are gearing up to kind of leave our regular, comfortable situation of home, which is like where I know where everything is, I know we have enough of everything, I know everybody’s safe, everybody’s going to sleep, everybody’s going to eat, basic needs are going to be met.

[22:04] And then we’re going on this like 20 hour journey, say we’re going to Sweden. And I don’t know if Lea’s going to sleep, I don’t know what, if she’s going to eat, I don’t know if we’re going to be taken care of, I don’t know what’s going to happen on the way, it’s like a lot of unknowns that, that trigger me in different ways. And, I’m kind of a little scared to fly, right. We’ve had moments, there’s like a story that I, that I tell sometimes because it’s funny now, but my husband will literally sleep his way through anything in any situation. Like things that for me feel like terror and death, he’ll just nap through it like it’s not a big deal. So we’ve been on the, like the worst moment that I’ve ever had on a plane, the kind of…I don’t know if I’ve told this story on the podcast before, I can’t remember where we were going. It was also like around a time in my life where I had a lot of loss, I was already very anxious, like as I was.

[22:52] And we were on a plane, and kind of hit crazy turbulence, like crazy bad weather, you know. And it was a night flight, which for some reason always makes it feel worse, you know, when it’s like quiet on the plane, and people are sleeping, and then all of a sudden you’re being thrown around in the plane. And it got so bad, like baggage, like those luggage things, overhead bins, opened and luggage fell out. All the stewardesses like went to their seats and trapped in, you know, like obviously they cancelled all the service and the pilot basically was like “hold on. Strap down and hold on,” like you know. And when the stewardesses start to freak out, that’s kind of the universal sign that everybody’s freaking out.

[23:32] So there was people on the plane crying, there was shrieking happening, you know, it wasn’t like an orderly turbulence where people will just keep it together, it was like “we’re all going to die.” Like that was the feeling. And Dennis was asleep [laughs]. He was asleep. He just slept right through our imminent death, and it got so bad, like I was full-on bawling, crying, that I had to like shake him and wake him up [laughing] And he was like…it was kind of funny. I was like “Dennis, wake up! We’re dying, and you’re missing it!” [Laughs] Because that’s, that’s how we are, right? I’m like, “we’re dying, and you’re missing it because you’re fucking asleep,” right, and he’s just peacefully sleeping his way through the worst turbulence of all time. Such a funny, the contrast of how different we are in so many ways, it’s so funny.

[24:24] But, so…[laughing]. If you know Dennis, you just know that is so him. He is the calmest, like chillest, chillest person alive. But anyway, so the moment I can, you know, even before a trip, like if I’m conscious about the fact that “okay, hey, this is challenging for me because it’s triggering traumatic experiences that I’ve had in my life, it’s triggering that sense of, of discomfort, of fear,” and then when I feel like I’m getting to that place of like, “I’m triggered now, a lot of things are happening, I’m stressed out traveling, here are all the, like, unknown factors that make me worry, that kind of get me into that place of like, becoming a challenging person to deal with.” If I, instead of jumping into that place where I just react and I go a little crazy, if I’m aware of the fact that “hey, this is part of who I am,” right, and I can give my husband a little heads up like “hey, you know, were about to go on this trip, you know, that’s, that’s stressful for me…can we like, can we talk about that right now, you know? Can we, can you be in charge of these things, for instance? I’m going to overpack a little bit here,” because that’s something that we fight about, sometimes he would travel with like, nothing, and I always overpack.

[25:32] And when I explain like, “hey, it makes me feel safer and calmer when I know we have food for the whole day,” you know, “is that okay?” Instead of him like, on the plane like, “what the fuck did you put in here? Why did you pack so much stuff?” You know, kind of having that like, agreement beforehand where he’s aware of the fact that we’re entering a space where I feel unsafe, which is going to stress me out, that he can have more compassion. And then I can have more compassion for myself, so instead of adding guilt on top of all these feelings that I’m acting in a way that I quote, unquote shouldn’t act, I can bring compassion in, you know? I can take a breath and I can turn to him in the middle of that flight and go [Lea laughing in background, Rachel laughs] I bet you heard my kid laughing. I can turn to him in the middle of that flight and go “hey, this is one of those moments where I’m really scared, can you hold my hand, can you stay awake?” You know, “can you be here with my for this scary moment? Thank you.” Like those things, it’s so small, it’s so little, but just by being aware of it, I can address it and I can have a totally different outcome of that whole experience, right?

[26:34] So that is why, like this fear of this pandemic, it was a good thing for me that I actually to face the fact that there are so many moments in my life where I already don’t feel safe. And I want to work through that. I’ll probably never become, you know, that, I’ll probably never experience the kind of calm inside that a person who’s never experienced trauma probably takes for granted, and that’s okay, right? It’s not about, you know, doing this kind of healing work because we’re trying to become someone that we’re not, or we’re trying to change our personalities, or become different people, but for me to, to search for that sense of peace in my life, and to make it a priority, like knowing for me to feel safe, that needs to be a priority in my life. And when I get into areas where I don’t, or parts of my life where I don’t that trigger that sense of “I don’t know if we’re going to make it. I don’t know if we’re going to be okay. I don’t know if people are going to die here or not.” For me to address that, work with that and calm those fears as much as I can, that needs to be a priority in my life, hundred percent.

[27:40] And the fact that it hasn’t? It’s kind of crazy, you know? And I think we all do this in different ways. Like we all have these major wounds, these big things that happen to us in our lives that we’re not even presently working through, that we’re not even aware of. So we just go into these kind of reactive modes where we just act the way we act because of what happened to us, and we’re not present with it at all, and of course it creates all of this drama in our lives, all of these issues or problems.

[28:09] So that is why, whenever we find ourselves in a place where suddenly we’re in the advanced class, advanced version of the class that we’re always in, that is a super shitty, terrible place to be, but it’s also a massive opportunity. It really is. The things that are coming my way now, like these strange things that are happening, and it’s like strange things happening around our business in a sense, I have some strange things happening in a couple of relationships in a sense, it is really the same stuff that I was already feeling inside. Like it’s really, [laughs] it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really quite fascinating.

[28:48] One of those things that I’m really working with right now is boundaries. And I’ve shared that a couple of times on this, on this show, we’ve had I think entire episodes dedicated to boundaries. And setting boundaries in our lives, it’s one of those things that if we’re not actively doing that, if we’re not aware of where and how it’s important for us to set boundaries for ourselves, it’s going to be such a freaking game changer the moment we even bring our awareness to the fact that this is possible that you’re going to wonder “how did I live my whole life without these boundaries put in place?” I’m going to give a really small example, this is just something that came my way yesterday.

[29:27] So a friend of mine, a girl I super, super, super mega-love, who if you don’t follow her online, you must, because she’s incredible, Haley Jakobson, maybe you guys know who she is already. So, I was on her profile, she was, she writes beautiful things, she’s a writer, she’s, she’s amazing, and she has a highlight in her profile, you know on Instagram profiles you can have like little highlights where you collect things in your stories, and it’s called “Boundaries.” And maybe she mentioned it or directed people there for some reason, and I was like , “what’s this?” And I open it up, and it’s literally her telling her community, so the people who follow her on Instagram what her boundaries are in terms of how she wants people to interact with her and how she’s willing to interact with people in this space.

[30:15] And just opening this up, just reading just the flash of it, like “here are the boundaries that I’m setting.” Like, “here are kind of the, the rules of interacting in this space. This is my online space, like this is a piece of my heart, a piece of my brain, we spend a lot of time, obviously, in these little bubbles of online and social media, and here is how I want you to respect me.” And my, my jaw dropped to the floor. It has never…I’ve been on social media for what, eight years? Like seven or…no, eight years I think, since like what, 2012, it’s 2020 now, yeah. I have spent eight yeas of my life present somehow in the online world, and I have never, never, it’s never occurred to me that it’s well within my right to set a boundary for how I want people to interact with me and how I want to interact with people on that platform. It’s never once occurred to me.

[31:11] I have kind of lived in the online space, like as if it’s like a free-for-all, right? Everyone’s invited. I, I, I did this for a long, for a long time I like prided myself in the fact that I would never block people. Never. Never, for years, I would never block people from my Instagram account, even though I have millions of followers and obviously the likelihood of people who are maybe crazy, maybe super mean, maybe they’re for really bad reasons, maybe hateful, maybe…whatever, like those chances are really high, right? And I prided myself with this, this idea that I had that everyone is welcome here, everyone can enter this space, this is a space for everyone. We are a community, I love all of you. Everyone is welcome.

[31:52] So I would like encourage healthy discussion, you know, “you can say anything and I will not delete comments.” I never deleted comments and never blocked people for years, [laughs] thinking that was like this good, kind thing to do, right? That everyone should feel welcome to voice their opinions in their way. Like somehow, like that’s just…like, like, kind of like my Instagram profile and platform should be like a dumping ground for everybody’s opinions about everything, including hostile, violent, negative and really mean opinions about me, like I would leave that that. Can you guys, like now that I’m even saying that, how fucking crazy is that? How crazy is that?

[32:36] Now, I know there are like, there are some people who exist in the online space who have a total inability to deal with people who don’t agree with everything they say, and that’s not my thing, alright? I think it’s absolutely like, there’s a difference between having healthy discussion about a topic where I can actually learn something new from other people, it’s like, you know, we don’t need to all be sheep and just mindlessly follow people forever and that’s it. You know, there’s a difference between, you know, having a healthy discussion and debate and letting people be different, and allowing people to dump hateful shit in your lap every day. And I would have that every day, even though I’m, you know, in this yoga space and you would think that the people who follow me online are like, I don’t know, somehow into, somehow into spirituality in some shape or form. Like I have had such horrible things come my way through the online world, it is absolutely unreal.

[33:28] I have seen blogs online dedicated to hating me, accounts created dedicated to mocking me, people who have literally, you know, if I, like sometimes I’ll see like a negative comment or a hateful comment from a person, and the first thing I do is I click on that person’s profile, and then I click the button that says “Send Message” as if I want to send them a message. And that opens up the direct message link, right, the direct message thread. And oftentimes, like more often than not, the person who is writing something hateful or who’s upset about something or who’s whatever, has spent years, years in direct message with me that I haven’t seen, you know, you have to allow direct messages for them to end up in your inbox and I get too many to be able to approve and engage with them all, so like…people who have had a one-sided conversation with me for years, where they just hate everything I do. Where every single message they’ve ever sent me is negative. “You’re…you look so old. You have wrinkles everywhere. Ew, that’s disgusting, your skin looks terrible. Ugh, you’re so fat, how did you gain all that weight? You’re a terrible mom, get that phone out of your daughter’s face, duh duh duh.” Thing after thing after thing after thing.

[34:45] And it’s like now, you know, just because I’m [laughs] I don’t know why it took me so long, but now the moment I see that it’s like “oh, here’s a person, fucking hates my guts.” I have no reason, there’s no reason in the universe why I need to have that land in my lap every day. I don’t need that person in my space, and I can make the conscious decision to block them. Bye. Like, that’s okay, probably their life will be enriched too, because they won’t be triggered by whatever it is that I’m doing that’s triggering them every day. And I absolutely definitely do not need to see that kind of hateful stuff in my space all the time, like that is not a healthy to do. And for me, seeing how Haley had these, like her boundaries included, it was stated so clearly, “I am not…it’s not my responsibility to respond to every message I get on here.” [Laughs] And I was like “what?” [Laughs].

[35:35] “It’s not your responsibility to answer every direct message?” And I’ll have days where I exhaust myself trying to get back to as many people as possible, because I somehow feel like it’s like, it’s a privilege to have a community this big and I want to give it back, I want people to feel seen, I wanna be like “hey, you’re writing me something beautiful, or you’re cheering me on in some shape or form, or you’re just along for the ride,” and I just want to be like “yay, thank you! Hey, I see you,” you know. But then sometimes I’ll do that to the point of like, of it being totally exhausting, of it feeling like, like it’s my responsibility, like I owe it to people to answer everything they say.

[36:13] That’s not true. And she had that boundary set, like it’s not her responsibility to answer all of this, so you know, “you do not have the right to get upset if I don’t answer your direct message. If you want to engage with me, you know, in a proper, real, manner,” she had like another avenue for specific areas. And then she had like, “here are triggers for me: I do not want you to write me including stories about X, Y, Z because that’s triggering for me and it’s not healthy for me to see that.” It was just, it was really not that complicated, but for me, just the whole mere idea of having a boundary set in the online world, it has never occurred to me, blew my mind open, and I am really kind of sitting with “I would love to, I would love to have some parameters for that.” I do not want to be a dumping ground for everybody’s feelings and emotions and horrible, hard things, and hate and violence and things that comes my way scarily fucking often.

[37:06] So now, like, I am way quicker in hitting that block button, you know. Whenever something feels off, when it feels like “ugh” you know, I don’t, I don’t need that, it’s not my responsibility, it’s not, I don’t owe it to anybody to sit with that, or to entertain that person’s hateful thoughts. Or to explain myself. And that’s also something that’s been a big one for me, I spend a lot of time explaining myself if there’s someone there who doesn’t agree with why I do what I do. It’s like…I got a message this morning, and it kind of hurt my feelings, and it hurt my feelings because it wasn’t true, and it hurt my feelings I guess because it’s sensitive for me because I actually live my life the opposite way. And the message said like this: “it is an abomination that you are charging people for your online platform, especially during challenging times like this. Be a good person and open up your website for everyone to practice for free. It is not yoga to charge for what you do.”

[38:05] And it was like, matter of fact, like basically, “you should do this for free. I cannot believe that you’re charging for these things.” And it triggered me because one, I do a lot of things for free. We just had the platform open for 30 days to like, in a scary kind of detriment to the site, where we had the first two weeks of like, “holy shit, we don’t know if we're going to make it.” People started like unsubscribing, leaving the platform because now it's free, why should they pay? How are we going to pay our bills? Like we’re a business, we’re not a, it’s not a non-profit. Anyway, and I felt triggered by that. And then sat with that, and I was like “okay, I feel triggered because it’s not true, I feel triggered because actually, I spend a lot of time giving. I spend a lot of time giving for free, there’s a lot of things I put out into the world that are free. I have a lot of non-profits that I give an enormous amount of money and time and energy to, you know, every day.

[38:57] And then I started drafting this response, and I was like “Hi,” you know, trying to be diplomatic, like the Libra in me was like, “it’s very clear to me that, that, you know, maybe there is a challenge in your life right now, like I can see that you’re hurting and I understand this angle of course, and wouldn’t it be amazing if we lived in a world where we could all just gift everything,” and I just started, “duh, duh, duh, and actually, we had this one month that was free and now I need to pay my employees,” and I drafted this whole thing. And as I’m writing it, I just get this achy, icky feeling in the bottom of my stomach, like this feeling of like, nausea, just, just writing this person, just explaining myself and why I do business the way I do business, and what’s going on, and “actually I do a lot of good in the world,” and…fuck that! [Laughs] Like it just hit me mid-response of like “I do not have to explain myself to anybody. It is not, like up to me to explain everything I do to everyone just because they don’t agree with what I do. I don’t have to tell the world I do great things all the time, I don’t have to justify my actions, I don’t have to justify the fact that we are a business and we charge for a platform that we work really hard at every day. Like a valuable thing that we put out into the world where we deserve to have an equal exchange of energy. Like I do not have to sit here and waste my time explaining myself to people that probably have decided that, you know, they’re not here anyway, they’re not in this for what I do anyway. Like it’s not worth it.

[40:29] And I just deleted the response, and, and went on with my day, right. And so much time has been spent, at least for me, explaining my actions, and not just online but in real life, you know. And how often do we do that to ourselves? Like allow other people to second, you know, to make us second guess ourselves in a way. And I think having boundaries put into place, even, and it doesn’t even have to be boundaries that I have to communicate, but for me to know like, “hey, I don’t have to explain myself if I don’t feel like it. Oh, cool. Wow.” You know, if it feels draining, if it’s something that challenges my mental health, if it’s something that I feel, you know, maybe is violent or hateful, which sometimes happens online, like I don’t have to, I don’t even have to follow that lead, I don’t have to go down that rabbit hole and get lost in that space. I can choose to walk away, I can choose to exclude that person from my space the same way I would if it was a person in my real life, right?

[41:31] So, so inspired by Haley and setting boundaries. And I’m kind of experiencing this in so many ways, in relationships, and in relationships that have kind of been solidified for me, that I’ve actually thought that “this is what the relationship is,” you know? Maybe you have a relationship like that where it’s, it's a long one, it’s one that’s lasted for a long time, maybe it’s very intimate, maybe it’s with a close friend or a family member or a co-worker. And you’ve just kind of settled with the fact that “this is what the relationship is like,” right? And then you wake up one day and you realize “I don’t feel good. This relationship is not making me feel good.”

[42:10] For me, the realization has been “I am giving way more than I receive in return, and this does not feel like a fair energy exchange.” It’s not. That feeling of like fair energy exchange, it’s showing up for me left and right. Like it’s almost like the Universes is like “hey, let’s get really clear on your output and, the output and the input in your life, in every single way. In every relationship, when it comes to money and abundance, when it comes to business, when it comes to family, every area of your life. Let’s look at the input and the output here, and where there is an imbalance. Where in your life are you giving more than you receive in return? What relationship do you feel like the person on the other end is kind of draining your energy, but never there to, to lift you back up when you need support, right? Or where in your life do you have friends who only show up when something terrible’s happening, but they’re never there to celebrate with you when things are going well? Where in your life do you have that person who constantly steps on your toes, or constantly leeches off of you in some way, or tries to take advantage or, you know, puts themselves in that place of being a martyr and you constantly have to be the person to save or help them.

[43:20] I have lived that way my whole entire life, with this idea in the back of my head as if I’m the one who’s here to serve everybody. My reason for existing in this life is to help other people, and to be there for other people and to pour myself into other people, whether that’s my kindness, my time, my energy, my money, funds, work, whatever it is, that’s my job to just give to everybody. And my eyes have just been opened, you know, because I’m in the advanced class of the regular class I’m always in, where it just occurred to me that that is not my job [laughs]. It is not my job, at all, to give, and give, and give, and give.

[44:04] And then I started looking at all these areas of my life where there was an imbalance there, where actually, I wasn’t receiving in return, where actually it didn’t make sense for that person to have that place in my life at all, where actually I should have put a boundary down long, long, long ago. And, just getting to that realization of “I can put a boundary there. Like actually, it’s not crazy. Actually, it’s not even hurtful. What’s hurtful is dragging a relationship on that isn’t serving either person, right? Because even the person who’s on the other end, you know, maybe it is that kind of energy leeching person in your life, or a person who takes advantage, or a person that isn’t trustworthy, like whatever it is, for them to stay in that dynamic also is not helpful for them, right, being codependent with someone is not helpful for that person either. And it keeps them locked in that same dynamic where they also stay stuck, right?

[45:01] So, me thinking that I’m like helping people by, you know, everyone who has a need, it’s like “it’s okay, it’s okay, I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it! I’ll be there, I’ll take care of that. I’ll lend you some money. I’ll give you this thing. I’ll be there forever. I’ll be on the phone for five hours, I’ll give you whatever you want. I’ll give, I’ll give, I’ll give,” you know. And realizing that it is not my job, and if it doesn’t feel good to give, I don’t have to. And of course, you know, doesn’t mean that I’m going to go from being a giving, generous person to a, a greedy, like hateful person who doesn’t give anybody anything, no. I think what it’s going to do is align me with a place in myself where I actually organically, naturally, really wanna give from my heart. And then the time and the energy and the love that I’m able to give, or the money, or whatever it is, it’s going to have a totally different energy and suddenly that input and output and what I get in return, it’s going to feel even, right, because it’s like giving from a genuine place instead of giving from a place of thinking that’s what I have to do.

[46:03] It’s been a huge thing, actually. And I’m, I’m so, [laughs] I’m so, I obviously love Glennon Doyle. If you haven’t read her new book, Untamed, I know you’ve read it, the whole world’s read it. But it’s so good, and she has a line in there that also struck me har…kind of hard. She talks about when she started getting, becoming successful as a writer, and she started, you know, making some money and feeling abundant, and then started her non-profit. And she wrote it like this, she said, of course, because she had to give, right? And she wrote it like this: “because for a woman to do well, she also has to do good.”

[46:41] And that’s kind of the feeling that I have had drilled in the back of my brain, it’s like “it’s not okay to just do well, you also have to give it away.” Like whatever comes my way, I have to give it up, and realizing now that that is not true, you know, it’s anchored into this old limiting belief that isn’t even real anymore, right? It isn’t even true, doesn’t have to be true unless I make it true every day. But that I can choose to be there and show up for the people that I love when I can. When I want to. When it’s real and big. And not at the drop of every hat, you know, throw myself to help the other person just because now they need me. It’s like yeah, I’ve lived like that my whole life, everybody needs me all the time, and at the end of the day, there’s nothing left for me. Is it strange that I burnt out, you know? Is it strange that I’m frustrated that I’m not feeling safe? It’s like, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure other people have what they need, that I’ve, to the point of forgetting to look at my own and myself.

[47:41] And it’s not a shameful thing to want to take really good care of ourselves. It’s not a shameful thing to put ourselves first. It’s not a shameful thing to hold onto what you have, it doesn’t make you selfish, doesn’t make you egotistical, doesn’t make you a bad person, right? It means you’re filling your cup to the point of, you know, hopefully one day that cup overflows, and it’s gonna be a natural thing to give something away. Doesn’t mean that you have to do it, right? And if you’re in that — and I’m not talking about money right now, I’m talking about that energy, that energetic exchange of kindness, of love, of support, of advice, of showing up for other people. For me right now, my big, big realization is “it’s time that I show up for myself.” That’s it. That’s it.

[48:28] The question I want to ask every single day when I wake up, really, is “how can I show up for myself to the best possible degree that I can, today?” Because in the end of the day, wanting to serve and be of service for other people, [laughs] it’s directly impacted by how I feel inside. And when I’m drained, when I feel empty, when I’m burnt out, when I’m tired, when I’m exhausted, I can’t be of service to anybody, right? I think I am, you know, because I’m giving a lot away, but it’s like I’m not aligned with my true longing of service because I’m not serving myself yet.

[49:05] These are all…yeah. [Laughs] It’s almost like the eye-openers of being able to set a boundary, and it’s looked like, like telling a person in my life “hey, I don’t want to talk about this with you,” you know. Maybe you have a person in your life who won’t stop talking about something that triggers you a lot, I’ve had that, absolutely had that and felt like it’s my responsibility to listen to that, to listen to that story so I can help them. And then realizing that every time this person talks about this, it triggers me, because that hurt me [laughs]. In my past, that was so hurtful, that was so scary for me that that didn’t make me feel safe, so when this person keeps talking about that, it’s triggering, and it makes me feel unsafe all the time. It’s like, someone’s like opening that wound again and again, and it’s like “hey, let’s not do this. Actually doesn’t feel good for me when you talk about these things, could you please stop?” Oh, wasn’t that hard actually [laughs]. Right? Setting that kind of boundary was like “okay, I can do that.”

[50:07] It’s [exhales] it’s an empowering thing to start laying down some parameters, not just in terms of how we are willing to engage with the world, but how we want the world to engage with us, right? So if you are in that place right now where you are, or have become some sort of dumping ground for other people’s problems, a dumping ground for people’s feelings, for their fears, or in that space where you’re giving and not receiving in return, right? That feeling of, that feeling of being taken advantage of, if it’s there or present in your life in any way, like let’s really get clear with where is that coming from, and what is the role you have been playing to allow this to happen in your life? Because that’s a really, really, really big one, the things that reoccur, the things that happen again and again, you play a role in that as well when it comes to these relationships being allowed to exist.

[51:01] It’s like me and that relationship where I put that boundary down, every time I allowed that person to talk that way but didn’t say anything, I allowed for that dynamic to continue, I made that relationship possible because I didn’t say anything, right? I didn’t set the boundary. So the change actually has to come from us, if it’s in those areas of our lives where, where we can, where we can be empowered enough to talk about it. Draw that line in the sand and go “hey, I gotta do what’s best for me,” right? “I’ve got to take care of myself.”

[51:32] And it’s kind of a [inhales] a radical idea, I think especially, especially for women, and I think especially if you’re a mom, when we have it kind of imprinted in us that it’s our job to take care of everybody else. I kind of have that, I think, I mean so many of us do, but especially women, like it’s our job to be the nurturer, to nourish other people, to save, to rescue, to fix, to be there, you know, all the time, for everybody else. It’s a radical thing to wake up one morning and decide “hey, I’m going to be there for myself,” right? “What would that look like if I really lived my life that way?” Man oh man. [Laughs] It kind of, it excites me to the point of like, crazy laughter, like that’s, that’s really how I feel about that.

[52:18] No, there, an example of that, and this is something that literally just happened, this is yesterday afternoon, teeny tiny thing. So I have been practicing in my day-to-day, especially now with the pandemic, carving out time in the day for myself where no one depends on me in any way, right? Completely, completely. And this is kind of hard, and, and my husband doesn’t struggle with this, he’ll go “I’m going surfing, bye!” And he’ll go for three hours and he’ll go surf and when he comes home, he doesn’t ask “hey, did Lea eat? Did she brush her teeth, did she take a bath?” Like he knows all those things happen, right? When I do those kinds of things, if I stay at home or if I’m like “I’m going to go practice,” and then I hear her crying and then, you know, she’s still crying, I got outside and I prepare so the food is ready, you know, and Dennis will stick his head out like “hey, did she drink that?” Or “is that still good?” or, you know? So it’s kind of like, I’m, I want my me time, but I haven’t set firm enough boundaries of actually saying “hey, I’m going to take an hour to myself, no one is allowed to disturb me,” and really keep that boundary there. That’s the thing.

[53:20] So when I allow him to stick his head in, or when I leave the room and I go “hey, here’s the thing she’s looking for, I can hear she’s crying about it,” then it’s like I’m the one to break my own boundary, and that just tells everybody that this isn’t sacred time, anyone can disturb mommy at any time. And that happens all the time for me, right? And it’s me, like I’m the one who breaks that boundary. Or I’m in a meeting and then Lea walks into the office space and I let her stay because it’s like “yeah, I can manage this meeting with her here, it’s okay,” when actually like “hey, you know what? This is, like I need to do this now.”

[53:52] So I’m practicing this, and then yesterday, I told Dennis, like “okay, hey, I’m going to spend, I’m going to spend 30 minutes in the garden.” He went for a run, he was away like an hour and a half, and then he came back and I’m like “hey, I’m going to be in the garden for 30 minutes, this is my me time. Lea’s inside, so like, don’t disturb me. Okay.” And I garden, I have my music on, and I’m like “mmm,” like feeling myself, feeling my garden, like enjoying my moment, and then Dennis comes out. He’s like “hey, shit, I’m so sorry, fuck, I forgot to bring the neighbor this helmet that I borrowed. Um, I’ll be back in like, five minutes, okay?” And then he just starts walking out. And I go, my immediate gut reaction is like “yeah, yeah, yeah, okay. It’s just five minutes, right? It’s just five minutes, I can go back in the house and be with Lea, it’s just five minutes.” But something inside — and this is a tiny thing, I know, I don’t want to make it like, you know, like it’s a bad, terrible thing — but something inside of me was like “no.”

[54:42] And he was on his way out the door, like “what?” And I went “no. No. It is not okay. No. Five minutes is not okay. This is…you had your run, you were away a long time, this is my time to be in the garden. No.” And he just looked at me like, “man. Yeah. I guess I can go, I can go later, I can do it later, I can go another time.” And I was like “thank you.” [Laughs] And then he went back in the house, left the helmet, stayed with Lea, and I resumed my gardening moment. [Laughing] I gotta laugh about this now because it’s kind of a silly thing, you know, but it means a lot. It seems like a silly thing because it’s small, right? But it means a lot. So me keeping that boundary there or setting that, resetting that boundary again of like “no. This is my time, these are my 30 minutes, they’re just for me, it is not okay to leave even if it’s five minutes. Even if it’s go to take a piss, like no, this is your time.” You know, the same way I show up fully for the family all the time, for Lea all the time, like everyone else around in my life, especially Dennis, needs to do that the same way, and give me that privacy and respect that this is my space, right.

[55:52] And it felt really good. It felt kind of weird, I kind of felt like when I walked back in the house, like I should apologize? Like I had that instinct of like, you know, maybe it came out with like, fire when I was like, “no.” But then I realized “hey, that’s just how used to breaking my own boundary,” right? I’m so used to doing that; “yeah, yeah, it’s okay. I know I’m supposed to be doing this for myself but it’s okay, she’s hungry now,” or “I know I wanted to go for a run or practice, but someone has a need, so I’ll just abandon myself and attend to that need” and it’s automatic. It’s automatic. And for, at least when I talk to my friends, it’s like a lot of, for a lot of our husbands or the dad role, it, it doesn’t work the same way, right? It’s really like, “hey, I’m going for a surf. I’m going for a surf, like that’s just what’s happening.”

[56:38] I’m in the apartment, like he’ll, Dennis will go biking, he’ll bike for two hours, nothing will disturb that, it’s not in his second nature to abandon that to tend to other things, you know, because I’m the person who has that role in the family. And when I came back inside, I was like “should I apologize that I said no, he can’t go drop this helmet off for five minutes,” then I thought “no, maybe he should apologize to me for not respecting my 30 minutes in the garden.” [Laughs] And then I thought “maybe we don’t have to apologize at all, and we can just, like, you know, address, address this as like a ‘hey, I set a boundary there, it felt really good.’” You know, it’s not the end of the world, it’s not a huge thing, but it kind of is a huge thing.

[57:17] And for every time we do that for ourselves, right, every time you choose yourself over tending to the other person’s need, every time you trust the other people in your life to also step up, it’s actually giving them space to do it. Right? To not have them have them have that second nature of “I can leave it anytime because mom’s going to pick this up.” But to actually be like “hey, oh, I’m the only one in charge, mom is not available, she really isn’t. It’s like she’s not here.” [Laughs] Right? “So I’m not going to disturb no matter what happens, like I’m really going to respect that, this is my time now to be with kid, she’s doing that.” Every time we just affirm that to ourselves, we draw that line in the sand, every time we choose ourselves and we choose to meet our needs over other people’s needs, even the needs of our children and that’s so hard, but every time we do that, every time we choose ourselves, it’s like we can breathe a little deeper. It’s like, we can stand a little taller, we can hold our chins up a little higher, we can feel more solid and prioritized in our own lives. It’s like we’re going to be empowered to make the changes that we actually want to make and move toward the life we actually want to have because we are the ones in charge. And we matter. We matter. What matters, really, really, really is how you feel every day. And putting ourselves at the top of that list is kind of a radically amazing, epic thing to do.

[58:42] Yeah, that’s my rant [laughs]. That’s my rant about boundaries. So, would love to, would love to leave you with, you know, if you’re finding yourself in the advanced version of the class that you’re always in right now, if you are sitting with big, hard things, right? Changes, challenges, crazy stuff that’s suddenly coming your way, take a moment to really reflect on how is this already present in your life somehow? How has this always been playing out in your relationships? How has this feeling kind of been there, deep inside, nagging at you all the time, right? And what does it say about how you’ve lived your life? And maybe some major changes that you are actually ready to actually make, to set that boundary, to leave that relationship, to really decide to choose yourself every single day, right? To change the dynamics of relationships that maybe haven’t been working in your life. You have the power to do that. You do. You really, really, really do.

[59:43] We are in this place right now for a reason, and I think we should, we should squeeze all the learning that we possible can get out of it. So, makes it feel like when crazy hard things come our way, like, “okay, it’s here for a reason, let’s go.” [Laughs] “Let’s look at that. Let’s sit with that, let’s feel that, you know, let’s take it all the way.” All roads lead to the same place, right? We’re all just finding our way back home to ourselves, every single day. I want to thank you so much for listening, really, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for respecting my boundaries, which I actually don’t know if I have [laughs] if I have, if I have set them yet for this, these kinds of relationships that we have from afar, but I think it’s intriguing, right? How can we actually get really firm with, with every relationship in our lives? And I’m so grateful that you’re here listening, doing this practice alongside with me, just being who you are every single day, it means a lot. And it empowers me to be who I am too. So thank you so much, Yoga Girl podcast will be back next week.

[61:00 — End of Episode]