Feeling Bitter? Check Your Boundaries!
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
We all feel bitter at times, whether it’s towards your spouse for not helping around the house, your boss treating you unfairly, a family member putting you down. Overtime these hurtful moments build up into bitterness, feeling a sense of unjust treatment.
When we feel we are being treated unfairly, especially over time, this is breeding ground for bitterness. The good news is that you don’t have to continue in that feeling. If you were to take a moment and sit with that bitter feeling you may realize that it often arises in situations where you are not speaking up for yourself, but you wish to. It could be alerting you to figure out what action the bitterness needs you to take. Most often it needs boundaries.
_________________________________________________________________________________“I love it when resentment shows up, because it shows me when I’m living outside of where my boundaries are.” – unknown
Danny Silk, author of “Keeping Your Love On”, defines boundaries as, “simply you telling someone else what you will be doing. It is the ability to communicate that you have priorities and a dedication to protect those priorities.” Boundaries are not an attempt to control or punish someone for doing something you don’t like. At the core, boundaries “create and communicate value”, Danny Silk.
There are practical steps that you can begin to take and questions to explore in order to be free from bitterness and resentment. Karla McLaren, author of “The Language of Emotions”, suggests there are two very important questions to ask yourself.
1. What must be protected?
a. What desires do I have that this situation may be blocking me from fulfilling?
b. What beliefs do I have that I’ve been ignoring or overlooking?
c. What beliefs do I have that have limited my action in this area?
2. What must be restored?
a. What would satisfy my sense of fair play in this situation?
b. What would be a satisfactory resolution, if any?
c. If there is no external change available then ask, what needs is this situation showing me I need to pay more attention to?
What action will move me closer to where my true boundaries are in relation to this situation?
Often, we shy away from setting boundaries because we believe if we do so we will be perceived as a “jerk” or a “bitch”. We naturally want the approval of others but learning to allow others to own their own emotions and not worrying about fixing them is unbelievably freeing. Let them decide how they want to deal with the limit you set. Boundaries also ensure that the consequences of people’s actions land on them. It does not mean you don’t care. It means you value the autonomy of each other.
____________________________________________________________________________________“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene’ Brown
Practical ways to create boundaries:
· Speaking up for your needs or desires.
· Testing one small no on something that has a small risk attached to it.
· Renegotiating assignments or workloads or deadlines.
· Challenging your assumptions about what you “must” do.
· Saying no more often or reviewing what you currently have on your to do list that you could have said, or will say, “no” to in future.
· Being aware of your own feelings and allowing yourself to feel differently than others.
· Not trying to change, fix, or rescue others from difficult situations or feelings.
· Focus on what you can control.
· Give your expectations a reality check.
· Making peace with the situation as it is, by working to understand it, and asking the question – can I live with this being how things are?
“Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is.” - Mark Groves
I would be more than happy to explore this topic more with you. To help you find the freedom in “no” and begin to lift the weight of bitterness. Call Liza Young Counseling, LLC at 601-517-7854.