Learning to Set Boundaries

Jan Lazo-DavisAs I walked into my home I heard my husband gently chide me. “You’ve allowed your energy to be stolen again. See how much you’re yawning? It’s only 9pm, and you’re exhausted.”

“I know. Usually a party energizes me, but tonight I was cornered by someone who decided I needed to hear their problems. I considered moving on to talk with someone else, but I thought it was selfish of me not to listen. They were in such emotional pain.”

Do I really need to be the listening board for each and every person who wants to dump their problems? Do I have a sign on my forehead advertising I’m open to hear all life complaints?

Thoughts of the gossip I heard about their office personnel and of the unprofessional dress swirled through my mind as I remembered the sludgy-gossip which sapped my energy.

How can I stop this energy transfer? How can I be among people and not let them drain me as they tell me their woes? Do I even have to listen to their woes?

My answer came unexpectedly the next day.

As I scurried about my errands on Saturday morning, full of energy once again, I ran into a neighbor while grocery shopping. She stopped to talk, reciting the current gossip, and I felt my energy draining. Gently interrupting, I told her I needed to leave because I had another commitment.

Boundaries! My mind shouted at me. You need to set boundaries!

That day became a day of life-change for me as I realized how much I needed my energy to get through life. It wasn’t selfish of me to reserve my energy for me; instead it was taking care of me. But I couldn’t take care of me unless I set boundaries.

Maybe that’s why gossip is so deadly…it puts my mind into sadness over events in which I have no control, then steals my life energy. Yes, this person would find someone to unload her angst upon, but it didn’t have to be me.

Wow! I need to remember this. My family will be so proud of me if I can learn to set those boundaries.

©2014 Jan Lazo-Davis

Jan Lazo-Davis is the author of non-fiction magazine articles, and has co-written Infertility’s Anguish with her husband as a healing guide for infertile couples. She currently designs websites for authors and artists as well as working on her non-fiction magazine articles and a post-apocalyptic speculative fiction novel. Check out her website at: www.ryasolutions.com.