Setting boundaries has become a hot topic in the veterinary world. Let me be clear that setting boundaries is not avoiding the problem. Setting healthy boundaries is setting very clear intentions with co-workers, clients and even loved ones on what you are willing to do and when, in order to protect your well-being and energy.
I had a great opportunity recently to discuss boundaries with a staff member. My staff member had been really enjoying a task and now was uncomfortable with a client who wasn’t respecting boundaries. My staff member’s solution was just not to go and give up something she was liking.
What a great teaching moment for me to explain setting healthy boundaries. Clear boundaries in a sense gives us permission to protect ourselves, specifically our mental energy. It is okay to say no. It is okay to say this is not okay for me. Most boundaries may not even have to be spoken. Just having them set in her head as to what she will do or talk about is a great start. However, avoiding the task will just rob my staff member of this great opportunity that she really enjoys all because she doesn’t want to talk about something or to someone.
Setting boundaries is not avoiding a problem or a person. It is clearly stating what you will and will not allow into your space or let rob you of your time and energy.
You don’t want to talk allergies at church with the congregation member who comes to see you with their itchy pet? Then just kindly say when the topic comes up, “Sundays in the pew are for me and my spiritual growth, I am happy to call you on Monday from my office to discuss this.”
At the grocery store and a client recognizes you and saddles up their cart next to yours to show you a picture of a wart on their cat? Kindly say, “I would really love to talk about this in the exam room. Can you call my office later?”
Your husband is venting about the same discussion you have had a million times and it is exhausting. Lovingly let him know that you are unavailable for this discussion right now.
Our time and energy are precious. Take a moment and decide how you want to spend it on your terms.