resetting boundaries if you are as thin-skinned as me - part III

Clutter is one of the very common complications of being thin-skinned (thin skinned = thin boundaries) ie someone who lets in too much.

I have been working in this space for years - trying to grow tougher skin (I think I've had some success with this since my elbows look like crocodile this winter), shore up my defenses, not take things so damn personally.

Thin skinned people often have more reactive immune systems. We tend to internalize things, are more easily hurt, more easily affected by outside stuff - we think we are a kinder and gentler form of human, but we are not always being kinder and gentler to ourselves.

There may be a bit of ego involved in internalizing stuff (everything isn't really about us) - there is also a lack of self-value going on with this.

Like our aptitude toward being more right brained or left brained, this probably isn't something we can change and I'm not really sure we should want to. There is a lot of good stuff that can come from being sensitive and open and emotional.

But sometimes it can get in the way. And sometimes it can come at the cost of us not valuing ourselves. Sometimes boundaries can be a thin-skinned girl's best friend.

So, during my year of changing one thing by changing something else I am working on the complications of being thin-skinned by creating stronger boundaries. I will ...

1. wear better skin cream and hats (we should all do this anyway plus I have noticed I can really keep out the negative energy when wearing a hat, makes sense)
2. take daily Vitamin D
3. ask the question of everything new I am about to bring into my space "does this add value?"
4. clear the clutter with the same question
5. hang a curtain between my studio and the rest of the house
6. use high energy aromas and music to create the sensory stimuli I choose
7. make quick decisions about unimportant stuff (note to self - most stuff is unimportant)
8. use boundary meditations - I like Marthe's
9. practice "no" as a complete sentence
10. when I take something too personally I know that it is triggering something else, I will see what I can take from it that adds value to me and let the rest go immediately - hasta la vista baby

If I must be around some trash talking fool - I will remember they are just unskilled; seeing someone as unskilled, knowing they are doing their best but do not having the proper tools - it helps (and it's totally true).

For thick skinned people; people who tend to use boundaries to keep things out - some clutter might actually be a good thing. I would try taking off your hat, taking down your curtains, practice saying yes. Studies show that both thin boundaried people and thick boundaried people feel things equally in their physical bodies (heart rate, pulse, inflammation) - so everyone could probably use a little reset with this stuff. xo all


KJ said...

I like No as a complete sentence.

I told my mom this past Christmas that I did not need anything. I have enough stuff. (And yes, I am talking about the external stuff of everyday life.) Then I went stopped by the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan two weeks ago and came to the conclusion that I do not have enough art and beautiful things.

With both kinds of clutter we need to be discerning. The hardest lesson of my life, and I am still learning, is to keep my broken heart open to all the many opportunities for love that surround me.

Catherine Ivins said...

Discerning is one of my favorite words - and yes, please keep that broken heart open my friend .... what a challenging lesson, so many gifts if you can manage it you won't need that winning ticket ... although I still think the ticket is possible. I need more inspiring art, too - especially wall art- I had a horrific sunflower painting in the stairway for years that my sister had abandoned with me when she moved across the counrty - I finally gave up trying to fill it and just hang our bikes there.

lynn bowes said...

Did I tell you that this year I am having NO tattooed on my palm so that the next time someone asks for a volunteer and I raise my hand, the answer will be there? Okay, probably not but the intent is there after that killer 2013.

You know, we just can't be expected to do everything and not be affected by criticism, to let things seep through our thin skin. Those expectations are usually from within and much of the criticism is self-imposed - at least that's my experience. So saying NO and committing to less gives peace and calm and allows open-ness. Boundaries are hard but necessary. It's the resetting of boundaries that confuse everyone on the outside.

I know the Chinese think this is the Year of the Horse but I have already declared this to be the Year of Ed and Lynn. First dibs.


Catherine Ivins said...

The year of Ed and Lynn - I love it Lynn! I am flipping the old treat others as we'd like to be treated into treat myself the way I treat others .. yesterday someone was telling me about a problem and in the past I would have jumped into the mess with solutions, but instead I just said 'what are you going to do?', she was totally confused that I didn't offer up anything other than a glass of water ... and ... when she left, I didn't think about it again. The world didn't collapse - oh course I woke up sick today, no doubt a shock to my central nervous system ...

lynn bowes said...

Ahhhh, excellent way to turn the problem back to the kind giver. I once read an article about keeping the monkey off your back and this is exactly how it's done. I wish I had kept a copy of it (before the Age of Google in the Land of Internet) but trust me, you didn't even let that monkey rest. Perfect. My problem is - as if there were only one - after I shrug the monkey off my back, I still want to tickle him once in a while and I can end up getting attached. Progress. Slow progress.

Post Super Bowl Sickness?

Catherine Ivins said...

I read that monkey article, too- probably in the 90's or late 80's - my manager's manager gave it to me, even then I had monkeys ... progress, yes - George has been sick (still working of course- he's covered with monkeys) and I have been sleeping in the extra room, washing my hands 20 times a day and sucking down vitamins, but this morning it all caught up with me - and I'm behind with work. Every year I say I sell very few lockets for VDay - you would think locket/VDay goes together, but never for me - this year I'm overrun and now sick and it's snowing which means I have to decide between shoveling out car and driveway to get to the shop to weld or going back to bed ... I guess since it's the year of us and VDay is still over a week away I should go to bed ...