Setting clearer boundaries with my time allows me to be more present with others. Without boundaries, I’m unsure when to separate from others and when to be flexible.
It Took Trial and Error
Before I understood and communicated my needs, I found myself easily annoyed by others. I did activities that I didn’t want to be doing. It felt like I was wasting time. However, I was terrified to admit that to others. I didn’t know how to express my need for space without hurting anyone.
For example, I started a new daily work-from-home schedule, and my family didn’t actually know what I was doing all day—mainly because I hadn’t told them. They thought I was meditating and doing yoga all day, which would be awesome. But I had to be brave and speak out loud that I am beginning a new career. Verbally expressing it made it more real, and having to tell others my schedule helps me honor it.
Communicating important things with kindness is a bumpy road to navigate. It took trial and error. And in the famous words of Michelangelo, “I am still learning.”
Make Room for Presence
Lately, I genuinely appreciate the time spent with others. I understand the preciousness of each moment. Taking more space away has helped me truly see the gift in front of me.
It’s always been that way for me. Vacations, trips, and adventures are incredible in their own right. But the new sight that being away gifts me is even more so. Things once mundane become alive. Invisible trees are suddenly a prominent forest.
Remember to Be Your Own Person
When in constant contact with those you live with, bravely make space for yourself. And when you are together, be fully there (with yourself and others). Soon enough, being with others begins to feel the same as being on your own because you can recognize your energy. With this familiarity, it’s easy to know what is yours and what is another’s.
You are an individual. Others’ challenges are not yours to carry. Your purpose is to be a reminder of love alongside another individual. As I remember this and embody this, being present becomes easier.
Create your life. Fill it with things that make you happy, even if you must go alone. Talk to old friends. Make space for the trips that are calling to your heart. That’s the advice I give to another because it’s the same advice I give myself.
Be a good friend to the self, and all others will benefit.
It’s not just what you do but the way in which you do it.
There’s a silent river that flows behind all action. It’s this river that reveals to us one another’s inner world. It is the how of each action. The way in which one conducts tasks hints at unspoken emotions that one may be experiencing.
Now, I’m going to ask you to do some visualizing. First, picture someone washing dishes joyfully. Singing aloud. Perhaps a little dancing.
Next, imagine the same person washing dishes right after an argument with their mom. Things weren’t settled. Emotions are heightened.
Lastly, once again visualize the same person washing dishes. This time they have just received tragic news.
Although all three scenarios had the same setting, it’s likely you saw your character acting quite differently.
It’s the same for the main character of your life. That’s you! How do you apply lotion? How do you get from A to B?
Easy Steps to Speaking Kindly:
When Can I Do This?
The answer is simple: ANYTIME!
You can practice self-kindness during tangible moments like while washing dishes, showering, or driving your car. Positive self-talk can be an intention first thing in the morning when you wake up. It can be remembered in those moments that we’re running late or juggling children. There is simply no wrong time to be kind to yourself.
How we speak to ourselves matters. We all have days with to-do lists that are longer than humanly possible. Now imagine adding a nagging voice in your head through out accomplishing all tasks. Not so helpful. But kindness and support—those are useful!
What is a Daily Practice?
Your personal practice is the activity or thing that you show up for again and again. Ideally, daily. It is, as the name suggests, personal and should look unique, just like you. It is essentially the time that you set aside for yourself. What you do and when you do it are up to you!
It can look different every day or it could be structured and set. Either way, within your practice you can discover the constantly changing nature of our bodies and minds. Showing up daily helps to strengthen qualities such as resilience, perseverance, and discipline.
What Might Your Practice Consist of?
The activity or activities that you show up for every day are your choice. The idea is to choose the thing or things that make you feel connected. This could be a connection to yourself or to something higher. I like to think of it as 'plugging in.' Below is a list of possible activities. These are just examples. Your practice may include one or more of the following:
Discover What Works for You and Prioritize
Experiment and discover the practice or practices that you can’t live without, or at least you’d rather not live without. To determine what these are for you, answer the following questions:
If you’re interested in many things, take time to learn which is the most important right now. If showing up daily is the hard part, it may be helpful to pick the activity that is the easiest to show up for. As you develop the habit of arriving daily, you can add to the activity or switch to another.
How Much Time Can You Dedicate?
The amount of time is adaptable. It could be five minutes, a half hour, or a full hour. It doesn’t matter so much the amount of time, as it does the ability to be consistent. Make sure that you’re picking a feasible chunk of time. If you were a beginner runner, you wouldn’t try to run a marathon on day one! The same applies to your practice. Start small and build consistency.
Picking the time is important. Choose a space in the day that will be easiest for you to keep. Perhaps a time in the day where you usually have energy. For example, if you know that after work you have no energy, it may be difficult to start a new habit during this time. In this case, you may be better off to tack your practice on with your morning coffee.
Make the time and play with the when to determine what sticks for you. You could only have a few minutes to spare in the mornings before heading off to work. Don’t let that deter you. Even five minutes a day is beneficial. It can be in between tasks or after work.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Be patient with yourself as your practice grows and sometimes wanes. Don't give up when met with difficulty. Simply ask yourself, what can I learn from this?
May this be the encouragement you need to not give up. Take your time as you discover and build your practice. My wish is to spread the understanding that this journey is not about perfection. It is about playing and discovering.
As you experiment, make it achievable, prioritize what is most important to you at this time, and be honest with how much time you are able to give. And, most importantly, relax and have fun. :)
Brittany is a writer, teacher, and yoga facilitator. She believes in kindness, especially when applied to the self. Here she shares her personal experiences as a world traveler and as a 'trial-and-error' sort of person. She learns the hard way and hopes to relay her findings to help others in the most practical way.