(Who gets the early 80s rock reference?)

An experience that stands out clearly in my memory is the time my mother confronted me about something (via email) and I noticed – in the moment – that I was donning my metaphorical boxing gloves to engage in the conflict.

I started typing my angry defense and then something came over me. Another realization. I didn’t want to spar.

So I deleted what I had written and wrote instead, “I understand.”

She wrote back and thanked me.

The conflict was over.

And I felt amazing.

(And let me say right here that all I did was acknowledge her anger. I didn’t change or fix the thing about which she was angry).

So what does this have to do with boundaries?

Boundaries are your values in action. ~ Randi Buckley

I value peace. All those times in the past, when I donned my metaphorical boxing gloves, I was ignoring what I value.

In fact, I used to think I was weak and ineffective because I either didn’t know how – or didn’t want – to spar with her. And THAT actually reminds me of the time I hyperventilated during an actual sparring match in a kickboxing class I took years ago.

The way that I can put this value into action is by making an intentional choice to abstain (and also know that I can make an intentional choice to respond in a way that feels right and good to me, which is different than reacting in the moment).

Something to consider: Sometimes, the best way to have boundaries with your mother is to have boundaries with yourself. And the best way to do that is to ask yourself what you value.

Something to journal on: What do you value? How can you inject that value into your relationship with your mother? What can you take responsibility for?

Something to practice: Just notice. Notice, like I did, in the moment that you are reacting to what she’s doing or saying, and then observe what’s happening in your brain. You are fascinating and you deserve your own compassionate curiosity.

Now, let’s dance!