Over the years, I have used the term the ‘Loop Around’ to describe a process that many of us experience when new to setting boundaries.
It goes like this:
You realize a boundary needs to be set. You then check your heart posture to ensure you are rightly motivated. Finally, you communicate the boundary in a kind and clear way.
And one of a few things can happen:
- You are met with curiosity and respect
- You are met with anger/silence/confusion
If you are new to setting boundaries, then this form of communicating is a language that likely many in your close circle aren’t accustomed to. If so, you are probably often met with more of scenario #2 than #1, which may lead you to panic and begin to question if you said or did the right thing…
And the narrative in your head starts which sounds something like:
Are they mad at me? What if they never speak to me again? I bet they are talking to ‘so and so’ about this right now. What if they don’t invite me to that event? How long will they ignore me? I messed everything up. I can’t handle their anger or to see them hurt. Maybe this wasn’t that big of a deal. I overreacted. I shouldn’t have ever said anything about this…
This is when the urge to “loop around” happens.
You pick up the phone to call or text. Or you start to ask mutual friends if they have heard about what happened. Or you show up at their house even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t. You begin to work to justify, apologize, defend or explain yourself. Eventually, you fold, you cave, you quit— on yourself and your limit.
By doing so you may get their approval or attention back, and because of that you receive immediate relief from the inner tension you carry. But listen to this… it is only temporary.
It isn’t long before the cycle continues. Eventually you are faced with the initial problem again. The problem that continues to erode at your relationship. The one that would benefit from a boundary, if you could just hold the line long enough for the change to take place.
The loop around keeps you stuck living discontent, resentful and disappointed. But boundaries allow you an opportunity to be in relationship with others (even those who can be difficult) in a new, authentic way. Part of this work will be learning how to sit in the discomfort and not acting when the “loop around” arises. Like a muscle, your ability to withstand the pressures to fold will grow with time, reps and consistency. And remember, just because others don’t like or understand your boundary, doesn’t mean it is wrong.
Good boundaries never hurt good relationships, it is often the unhealthy or one sided ones that suffer the most. It will take time for the work of your boundaries to produce any good sort of fruit. Be patient and consistent.
I walk you through this and more inside my new book; have you got yourself a copy yet? If not, take advantage of the coupon Amazon is offering below!
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How to Establish New Patterns When Loving Others Has Left you Hurting
Oh and one last thing- I promised on social media this past week to share the recent green juice powder I discovered. As much as I prefer Whole Foods over stuff like this, sometimes I just don’t get in what I need to and this helps on those days! (Please also note I don’t get a commission on these items, I just like sharing what I am enjoying.)
Devotional Reading Plan
Core values are the foundation of life—shaping your thoughts, emotions, and actions. If you don’t know your values, you risk acquiring others’ beliefs and behaviors. Identify your core values, and take steps towards fostering healthy habits that reflect your new identity in Christ. Begin to positively impact others, and write a purposeful legacy in this five-day reading plan adapted from my book, Loyal to a Fault.