Healthy Boundaries | RU003

Healthy boundaries…ahhh! Learn the definitions of healthy boundaries and the different types of boundaries to be aware of. If you already have healthy boundaries and want to learn how to enhance them or if you are struggling to create healthy boundaries (like I was), you can learn about the gifts they offer…gifts of self-respect, trust in yourself, and being able to feel at home in your own life. These gifts can greatly impact how you move through your divorce and into your future.


Suggested reading: Living In Your Comfort Zone, Author Rokelle Lerner 


Questions for Reflection:

What does a healthy boundary look like for me, especially when dealing with my ex?

In what areas of my life do I want to create clearer boundaries?

What are the differences healthy boundaries make, or I hope will make, in my life?

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About the Host:

Divorced after many years of marriage, Barb Greenberg founded Rediscovering U, a company that provides education, support, and resources for women transitioning through a divorce and into a new life. She and her company have been recognized for “…creating equality, justice, and self-determination for women…” She is an award-winning author of 3 books, Hope Grew Round Me, After the Ball: A Woman’s Tale of Happily Ever After, and The Seasons of Divorce: Insights for Women in Transition. Her books are available at a special price for you at

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You can also find Barb at:

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Barb Greenberg:

Hello, and welcome to Rediscovering U where you will find valuable insights, support and education to help you move through the difficult and often painful process of divorce with grace and courage and hope, and find the ultimate gift of rediscovering yourself. I'm your host, Mark Greenberg, award winning author and founder of rediscovering you. If I'd had access to a resource like this, during my divorce, I would have not felt so isolated, I would have made much better decisions, I still would have breathed for that for so hard for so long. And I wouldn't have eaten so many boxes of macaroni and cheese. When women heal, families heal. When families heal communities heal. When communities heal, the possibilities are endless. Let's get started.

Barb Greenberg:

Ah, healthy boundaries, a term that you probably are very familiar with a term I heard a lot during my divorce. And it sounded very empowering. But I didn't understand what that meant. And that was probably because I didn't have any boundaries. So my theory is there should be a national healthy boundary day. Maybe there is I didn't check. But it would be right up there with a national have a cookie day, great popsicle day, and the ever popular last sock day. But I realized that during divorce, we really we focus on legal issues, financial issues, because we know they're going to affect our future. And boundaries should be right in that mix. Because creating healthy boundaries will also affect our future. So before I go any further, I want to say that a lot of the information I got for this episode is from a wonderful book called living in your comfort zone by Raquel Lerner. And I'm going to put that information in that episode notes for you. So she says that healthy boundaries is not just about physical boundaries. It's about emotional, intellectual, and spiritual boundaries. So if someone is telling you how you should or should not feel, what you should or should not think, and how you should or should not connect to your higher power, that's a boundary issue. And if you allow yourself, which I did, to let someone else determined those boundaries for you, man, the life you're living is really not your own. The path you're walking is really nice.

Barb Greenberg:

So of course, I looked up a definition of boundaries. And it's you know, the where you set the limit of what, what, where something starts and stops. And for our purposes, it's the limits of what you will or will not accept in a relationship. And it's, it doesn't come from, I'm really angry. So I'm going to push down this wall, but up this wall, upper bound, I don't know which way it goes. But because then you're reacting to something else. It's more from your heart. What you feel is right for you what you feel is safe and healthy and respectful. That's a huge word, healthy boundaries with something that are respectful to be respectful of yourself. So then what happens next is the other. The other definition that I got about healthy boundaries was totally different. And I loved it. This wise woman who I adored said, you know, you never walk into the Northwind with your code wide open. I totally got it. I grew up in Minnesota. You don't want to do that. You can get physically sick. It's cold. You can get resentful. When is this ever going to stop? I'm just sick of this. When is this ever going to stop? You can get anxious. Will this ever end? Oh my gosh. Will this ever end? And then what happens? If the cloak The coat is open for too long, you become numb.

Barb Greenberg:

So I'm going to share a couple stories about women who did the physical part. I think we don't realize how much our boundaries protect us physically. One woman, sweet woman. She said, I really I know I need to leave this relationship and she was getting sick. She was not very healthy. She said I know I need to leave this relationship but I'm going to get all my ducks in a row first. And then The issue with ducks is, they don't all get into a role, especially when you're dealing with divorce. And there are new ducks that are hatching all the time. So what happened and I know she wanted to leave. But what happened was, she stayed in this relationship, this toxic relationship. And fortunately, she became more and more seriously ill. Another woman ran that I just she sparkles. She was in a long term relationship. And she said, I used to be able to walk around the lakes. I walked for miles, I loved it, it was healing, it felt great. And now I can barely walk a block, and I have to stop and sit down. I don't know what's wrong. And she didn't connect it until she ended, she did end up ending her relationship. And she said, I had no idea. I'm walking again, I'm walking miles and miles around beautiful lakes, it came back. So I don't think we realize the effect, a physical effect of what boundaries can do not or not having boundaries can do to us. And then that resentful and anxious part. I was really good at both of those. I was especially good at anxious. That was my favorite go to default reaction. And it came from years, I think of doubting myself. And probably I doubted myself because I didn't have any boundaries. I didn't. I didn't configure out who I was. And I don't know if any of you have been in conversations like this. Women have told me that they've been they've had conversations like this and what it does, where this is just a generic example. Somebody says the sky is blue. And you go, No, it's a blue. Or they say the sky is green. I apologize. They say the sky is green. And you go, No, this guy is blue. And they look at you and roll their eyes and got enough courses out. It's green. Can you stand up for yourself a little and go? No, I'm sure I'm sure it's blue. I'm sure it's blue. And they give you another like that sigh? Like, please, you don't know what you're talking about? Of course, it's green.

Barb Greenberg:

Well, eventually, you start to doubt your reality, you start to stop yourself. You stop arguing because you can't win. And you slowly start to sometimes disappear. So that happened to me, I got really angry with myself looking back, you know, why didn't you just fight harder? Why didn't you just stand up for yourself? Why didn't you, you know, demand that you were correct, the sky is blue. So I was really angry with myself for a while. And then I realized, oh, my gosh, I need to be compassionate with myself because I never knew I could talk back. And I never knew that it would be safe for me to talk back. And for some of you, it's not safe at all. So it's maybe a very wise decision that you are figuring out how to protect yourself in the spot you're in now, and hopefully, things will change for you. You may not even realize your code is wide open. Or you don't realize that you have the power to close your coat. Or you don't realize you even had a coat that was me. Or you could take one off the rack somewhere. So I had no idea. So how do you find how do you figure out the clues? That what you can notice that boundaries aren't quite where you'd like them? Have you ever seem to agree with people, when you really don't have the habit of doing that? A lot? Not so good. Have you ever had a sense that something's not quite right? That job isn't quite right, the relationship isn't quite right. And I've known women who've said, you know, I knew that I knew something which wasn't quite right. But I married him anyway. And I think that's more common. Maybe then we realize you may not have been allowed to make decisions in your own best interest growing up. That's very possible. So be kind and compassionate with yourself as you develop this new skill. And if you're already doing this, yay. Maybe your boundaries get stronger and wiser and healthier and all those good things. And also thrown in the mix of you know, how we grew up is the also the added layer of what our culture expects us to be or not be or how you're supposed to act or not act especially as women.

Barb Greenberg:

So another clue is how to listen to your body. Listen to your body. If something's not right, does your stomach tighten up a little or do you get a little sweaty or do you again go numb and you noticing and paying attention are two really interesting things. Because I think so many of us, we were told, we were told I was, you know, don't listen to that, do what you're supposed to do. And I was raised to be a nice girl and nice girls, but everybody else's. Oh my gosh, everybody else's interests above our own above your own. And so I used to try to figure out what somebody wanted or expected of me before they even said it. Which I'm sure some of you are like, for the rod, whether you're lady. That's what I did. And some of you may be going, oh, yeah, me to be to which Yay, I'm here to give you hope. I'm here to give you hope. So I decided I'm going to get some healthy boundaries. So you can't like go to the store and buy it. It only comes with practice. So I was going to practice first, I decided to practice first with a really good friend. We were supposed to meet for lunch on a Thursday morning, or Thursday, Thursday, about 11 o'clock, about 30 minutes away from my house. And I woke up Thursday morning, and I was just drained. I was just drained. I couldn't do it. So I called her and I was very nervous. And I said, Nancy, I love you dearly. And I really am. So I really want to meet you today. But I just can't. And I have absolutely no excuse, other than I'm just exhausted. And can we please reschedule? And then I waited. And her response was, Oh, I'm so glad you said that. That makes me feel that I can do the same thing. When something that's worked for me, I can call you and say the same thing. So thank you, thank you, thank you. And by the way, I'm really proud of you. Wow, not what I expected, I was so happy. And then I got a little over ambitious. Because I thought I'm going to do this again, I'm going to do it with my mother probably wasn't a really good choice. However, I do have to say, as a spoiler alert, that it ended up being quite a powerful, meaningful conversation that I'm very grateful for. So what happened was, I was very careful about what I wanted to say to her. I was very I rehearsed it, I want it to be as gentle as possible. I wanted to be as sensitive as possible. And I go to my folks apartment, and we sit on little patio, and I start to talk and I don't even remember what I was talking about. And she looked at me, she stood up, she wrapped her sweater around yourself and said you never understood me and walked out of the room. And of course, I went numb. And my first thought was, well, no wonder I never told people how I thought because there was a chance I would be abandoned. And then I realized, oh my gosh, I know how much my mother loves me. I have no doubt at all. I I'm so sorry, that she is has has this to struggle with that I became very compassionate for her that she must feel what fear or grief or whatever it was that she felt that she couldn't listen to me. As a result, I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about my mom, I became much more compassionate for both of us. And we ended up having a much better relationship, as I mentioned before. And again, very grateful for the experience, which I mentioned before.

Barb Greenberg:

So creating boundaries can teach you a lot. You become aware of what works or what doesn't work for you. And the clearer your boundaries become,

Barb Greenberg:

the healthier your relationships become, which is very interesting, but it's very true. And creating boundaries, maintaining them. enhancing them is a lifelong process, but it will protect you from whatever the Northwind may blow your way. And I one of my favorite authors is Anne Lamott. And she has a quote about pretty much that. She said I'm here to be me, which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped. So be patient with yourself. And I guess you beginning to know your Self. It was just so wonderful, how wonderful it is that you're creating a sense of empowerment, you're being able to say no when you want what a relief, you are becoming more comfortable opening yourself up to close relationships, because you can trust yourself and keep yourself safe. Wow, that's a relief. And you are able to feel at home with yourself, by love that you can feel at home with yourself. And I want to close with this quote by Henry David of Henry David Thoreau's, which you may have heard before, what lies before us and what lies behind us is but small matter compared to what lies within us. But there was a next line that I didn't know was there. Then the next line is when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen and your healthy boundaries will support you and allow you to bring what is within you out into the world, and miracles role indeed.

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