“If the situation is hopeless, we must take the next step,” said Pablo Casals.
FEEL – Get in touch with your feelings. Setting limits or setting boundaries is something we often align with parenthood but as care partners, we must set limits too, taking that next step. My goal in setting limits was to decelerate risk behavior and defuse a potential crisis or confrontation—a power struggle.
SEE - Are we listening to and observing our care receiver? In trying to be the best care partner we can be, are we accepting of behaviors from them? When we are honest with our feelings, we are in a better mind-set, and we will be a better care partner.
DO - Are we setting a limit or giving a threat? There is no place for threats when setting limits. We are not giving an ultimatum—or else! Consider what we can tolerate and what we can no longer live with. Setting boundaries are a sign of self-respect. Feeling a bit selfish? Think of being selfish equal to self-care and self-care honors the importance of our feelings and wellbeing.
A dear friend told me many years ago that when I hated something enough, I would know what to do. Life has taught me that it does not always work like that—I’d rather not get to “hate something enough,” so learning to set limits is a skill like any other skill. Start small selecting one behavior you would like to change. And then build on your success. Setting limits takes courage and support, but we can master this.
Life Lesson: “To the whole world you might be just one person, but to one person you might just the whole world,” Pablo Casals believed. As care partners, we are that one person, and we must wake up grateful.