Getting to a state of complete peace, harmony and tranquility within yourself is not easy, it can take months or even years. After attaining inner peace, the best thing to do is to protect it. No one has to tell you how to, it merely becomes an instinct and we tend to our state of mind like an overprotective parent.
Boundaries are very essential for maintaining healthy relationships. The quickest way to emotional burnout is to neglect your boundaries in relationships. Takers have no limits and if you make yourself fully available, you lose your self-esteem, self-worth and identity.
Life is not very straightforward. There are certain people that will be put in your path as a test of your progress. Some people have red flags and some others are just difficult to be around, could be a family member or a work colleague.
You know when you’re in your lane and someone comes with their drama, toxicity or dysfunction but you don’t want any of it? Those are tests. Tests to the state of your inner peace. So how do you handle that type of situation?
What I have fully come to understand is that boundaries cannot be set forcefully, it has to be tactical, and in some cases, gradual. The best tactic for setting healthy boundaries in my opinion is to practice detachment.
Though I love to attend social gatherings and meet new people; I cherish my personal time and introverted side. I really do not like drama! I am very passionate. When I start to over analyse, I find myself going to the dark side. In the dark side, it’s easier to lose your focus and reasoning rationally becomes a challenge.
Some will come with their crazy mind games- I call these people “psychopaths”, I don’t care if they are professionally diagnosed or not. “Psychopaths” will test the limits of your dark side and this is where you have to practice detachment to stay grounded.
“Psychopaths” will set traps for you to fall into their games and lose your peace of mind so you have to stay on guard. I have noticed that, in the course of staying on guard, I become too defensive. But this is so counter-productive because defensiveness makes me more vulnerable to fall into the game trap set by a toxic person.
Emotional detachment helps you to look at a situation from an outsider’s perspective. To stay objective in scenarios where your emotions seem to be in control. It is not very easy, but can be mastered.
In the process of setting boundaries, we might find ourselves intolerant to bullshit or receive comments from loved ones telling us we have changed. I have been called a demon once for trying to set healthy boundaries, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t care as long as I’m happy.
Detachment can be used to stay grounded in the following ways:
- Focus on your self awareness– listen to your body and pay attention to your thoughts. Our thoughts and feelings might not be entirely accurate but they are always trying to communicate something. Read between the lines and pick the relevant message.
- Identify your triggers– whether formed from our childhood or past traumatic events, triggers make us act out of balance. Identifying them will keep you a step ahead of your emotions.
- Practice “wei wu wei” which means “action form inaction” or to not be forceful. Alan Watts describes this as sailing rather than rowing; while respecting your values and principles. In my case, I believe in God so I trust and ask him to take control.
- Grey rock approach– Some people say certain things just to get a reaction from you. Others don’t mind their business or are really controlling. Imagine yourself as a grey rock when you’re around these people. Stay neutral.
- Be patient and gentle with yourself– no one is perfect and Rome was not built in a day. Like anything else, detachment is a journey. Embrace it and don’t beat yourself up if you fail along the way.
At the end of the day, everyone has emotions so it is important to practice compassion. Emotions creep up on us and that is normal. However, you don’t have to express it all the time. Step out of the situation, be patient with yourself, be patient with the other person, respect yourself and stay firm.
I am still growing but I am happy with my progress. Hopefully this is a step closer to building more healthy relationships.