Frustration vs. respect of your boundaries
4 January 2022 • 3 mins to read
It was 3 am. I was laying in bed, squeezed between Florian, my sleeping 7-months old son and the edge of the bed. My patience was evaporating. I was feeling stuck. If I would move, I might wake up my baby and this would lead to another exhaustingly long attempt to get him to sleep. If I don’t move, I wouldn’t fall asleep. As I was laying there, not sure what to do, I was getting frustrated. I wanted to sleep, but I was so uncomfortable.
My frustration was increasing… I was looking for someone or something to blame.
What happened? Why tonight was he not sleeping? Was teething pain preventing him from sleeping peacefully? – Could be, but I cannot be sure.
Was there a full moon? On full moon he is usually more restless. – No, it was not.
Was it Florian’s fault that he couldn’t fall asleep? – No! How could be? He was doing the best he could.
Then was it my fault? – I continued looking for the villain. Did I follow his going-to-bed routine? - Yes!
Did I provide enough opportunities for him to get physically and cognitively tired? - I think so…
Was it Rogier’s fault then? – No, not really. He didn’t do anything different than all the other evenings…
I couldn’t figure out whom or what to blame Florian’s troubles sleeping that night. So, I’ve dropped that, and I’ve focused on my emotions. Why was I frustrated? Because I couldn’t fall asleep? Because I was feeling stuck, not only physically? What was it?
I was exploring my own emotions and I was persistently looking for their source. Not to punish, but because I wanted to know what is happening.
And then, it occurred to me…I was frustrated because I have crossed my own boundaries. With the goal to have a sleeping baby, I have given up more than what I was comfortable with - my own space in bed. I have made a compromise with my own needs, and this was causing my emotional discomfort and irritation.
The moment I had this insight, I knew exactly what I had to do. I’ve got up. I’ve gently picked up my baby and placed him in his own bed. I felt that this was the right thing to do. I’ve realized that I would be a better mom and a better example for my son, if I stay honest to myself, if I respect my own needs and if I approach him with love, care and confidence (rather than with impatience, frustration and self-doubt).
This was more than a year ago. Since then, I am observing my interactions with other people. I have noticed that also in my other relationships, frustration and anger are always triggered by the crossing of my boundaries. What I’ve also noticed was that no matter who is crossing my boundaries, I am ALWAYS the one allowing it.
I was so grateful to have fond the wisdom of these emotions!
If we stay away from judging and resenting how we feel, but instead, we look with a curious and accepting attitude, our emotions tell us truths, which we would otherwise overlook.
I am telling you, this is an empowering revelation, a tool to clearly see my responsibility, when it comes to how I feel. It gives me the opportunity to quickly take corrective actions and to restore my boundaries, to adjust my response to the situation and to avoid the dysfunctional state of frustration. My interactions stay honest and are more respectful to mine and others' needs. Sounds good, right? I think so.
Are you curious to also explore your frustration and anger? Here I am sharing with you my 3 steps to follow:
- The moment you notice that you feel frustrated, stop what you are doing, and ask yourself “where did I not respect my boundaries, my needs or my desires”. “Where have I given more than what I am comfortable with?”
- Put your detective glasses and I dissect the situation including the previous moments that led to where you are.
- Find where you were not truthful to yourself. Now you have two main options: 1) Keep the course of what you are doing, but with understanding that you didn’t respect your boundaries/needs or desires and making a conscious choice to do so. 2) Give respect to your need/desire or boundary which you have neglected and correct you actions in a way to reflect what is truthful to you.
Good luck, self-explorers!