The Coping Kete

No. 76: Remembering Boundaries

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…I will practice putting boundaries between other people’s responses and myself. So often, I can find myself upset or anxious about the way in which other people like my family and friends respond to me. It is so easy to believe that negative reactions or unwanted responses from others are a result of something about me, some flaw or failing or lack of worth. This can lead me down a spiral of negative thoughts, unpleasant physical responses and distressing emotion.

This week, when other people respond negatively to me, I will practice saying to myself “That response is about them, not about me. We all have our own sets of issues and idiosyncrasies. Right now in this moment, I am also responding to my own set of issues and unique preferences.”

I will then mindfully move my attention to something else. I will try to observe how thinking this way affects my perception of things.

This week I will practice acknowledging that we each have a different make-up and we do not need to like the same things or have the same attitudes and values. When someone responds to me in an unwanted way, I will remind myself of this insight. This way, I will not feel the need to take on too much responsibility for the way things work out or the responses other people give me.

This week, I am here living my life, having my responses and I am allowing other people to be here living their lives, having their responses to it. 

Once I am comfortable thinking this way, I will add ‘remembering the boundaries between us’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing the sting out of distressing interpersonal situations.

To extend this exercise, if I need to, I might think through some of the other, non-personalised reasons that the person responded the way they did, as is described in strategy No. 65.

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