About today’s show
Personal and Relational Boundaries are easy to talk about but can be challenging to implement. In this episode, we’re sharing how setting and honouring boundaries is an act of self-care and ultimately helps increase your sense of self-love. These are the questions we’ll be discussing:
- What do boundaries mean to you?
- What are some things you practice setting boundaries for?
- How do you know when you need to set a boundary?
- What are some fears that come up for you when setting boundaries?
– Connect with us –
Welcome to the game and going deeper a podcast by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about everything, personal development, mental health, and sexuality, your host today are Michael Calan and myself, Matt. So today we’re going to be talking about personal and relational boundaries. We’ve come full circle because we, the, one of our very first episodes I did actually was our first episode was on boundaries.
And it’s been about a year and a couple of months. And we have the three of us have grown tremendously. So we wanted to reintroduce this topic and bring it back in to the zoom hangout so we can all unpack it because it’s so important. So today we’re going to be unpacking four questions. The first one is what do boundaries mean to you?
What are some things you practice setting boundaries for? How do you know when you need to set a boundary and what are some fears that come up for you in setting boundaries and how do you overcome them? So next Thursday, we’ll continue to discussion in the gay men’s brotherhood, zoom, Hangouts, where you will have a chance to share your own personal experience.
But first let’s read a review from one of our listeners. So this is from sugar, Kush, 72, and he, or she gave us five stars. It says, thank you. I just started listening to your podcast and I’m listening to your social media one. And thank you extremely very much. No one will ever come over to my house to even just hang out with me.
But they like talking to me through texts and messaging, but they won’t interact with me. Human wise. I even have had to end a friendship because they wouldn’t respect my wishes. And when did they hang out with me? Not to please be on their phones, then they choose their phones. Anyways, how hurtful is this? So, yeah, I’m glad that our podcast is stimulating some of this inside of you.
And I think this is a perfect testimonial for us to read today because this is all about boundaries. So somebody is recognizing that their boundaries have been violated and that they’re standing up for that. So awesome to hear that this podcast and YouTube channel, our listener and viewer supported. So if you really enjoy what we’re creating, you can support us by heading over to our Patrion page in the show notes and contributing anywhere from two to $10.
This helps us to continue creating awesome content for you to consume and supporting our community. And we do thank you in advance for that. So I wanted to start off by introducing today’s topic, which is personal and relational boundaries. So there is a difference between the two. So, you know, when you’re looking at personal boundaries, these are things that we set with ourself.
These are little fences that we set within ourself of things that we need to do rules. We need to follow values. We need to follow moral codes that we need to follow. And when we do this, it allows us to really be clear about the structure that we need or the, or the, the needs that we need to have met in our lives in order for us to feel like I’m good,
right? In order to feel happy and peaceful. Then once we have these personal boundaries established with our solves, we, it makes it a lot easier for us to set relational boundaries, which is bringing these, this wisdom of knowing what we need to get our needs met into a relational dynamic, right? Which is why boundaries are so potent because they really allow us to get our needs met.
Right? I, I, you know, boundaries for me are essentially ways that we are ways that I teach people how to treat me, right. And it’s extremely important to get clear about what my needs are, right? And this is why this is this podcast is, is after the getting your needs met podcast, which if you haven’t listened to that one,
go back and listen to it. Because today we’re going to be talking about how to get your needs met through the use of boundaries. And so, so there’s, there’s, there’s three things that I’ve, that I, when I was thinking about, you know, what I wanted to say on this topic, there’s three things that came up for me and the three CS of boundaries,
clarity, courage, and communication. And we talked a lot about clarity, which is, you know, getting clear about what our needs are, what is it that we need in order to feel good once we know that we need to muster up the courage to be able to speak our truth, right. Be authentic about what my needs are and sharing that with other people.
And then we’re moving, we move into communication, which is, you know, boundaries for most people. I wouldn’t say the most challenging thing for boundaries for most people, at least in my experience would be the communication part. I think it’s the courage part. And it’s the worthiness part. Do I feel worthy to have these boundaries and to enforce these boundaries and to initiate consequences,
if these boundaries have been violated, that’s where I think most people struggle the communication component for, for me, it’s, it’s quite simple, right? We’re just simply telling somebody what we need in order to feel good. Right. So, but there is a style of communication that can be used when we set boundaries that can be more gentle and it can be more receptive to the person that we’re setting boundaries with.
So I do think communication is still really important. And I’d be curious to, to know what your guys’ experiences with these three things, clarity, courage, or communication. So let’s, let’s start with the first question here, which, cause I just basically talked about what boundaries meant to me. I want, I’m curious Callen for yourself. What do boundaries mean to you?
Oh, well I love this topic. A and B you had a lot of good stuff in there. I love the three CS. Cause I think that you’re very right. When you say that, like the first one is like the hardest one to clarity or, and then the courage to be able to like actually like follow through. Cause even the courage leading to the communication part,
it’s having the courage to communicate it. Right. So yeah. Huge boundaries for me. I think growing up, we all kind of learn how to navigate our own boundaries and we don’t really realize that that’s what we’re doing. But for me, it’s like when this’ll come later in the questions, but like getting angry is always a significant tell of mine that like a boundary is being crossed and I need to analyze where and why and how it ended up happening.
Because when I was younger, you know, you just get mad and all these things, but then you learn how to navigate those boundaries. So then you don’t get mad later, right? You’re like, okay, well this is my boundary. And now you know what it is. So now that anger doesn’t need to ever come up because those boundaries are being crossed.
What do boundaries need to me? Boundaries mean freedom to me having just like clear, concise. Cause I’m all about like clear is kind unclear is unkind very Bernay brown up in here, like clear is kind unclear is unkind. So w with my boundaries, they mean they give me freedom because I’m always clear about them. And that means that I’m always trying to be kind with other people because if they know my boundaries,
then they can respect those boundaries. But if they don’t know them and then I get angry, well, that’s my fault. I’ve not communicated that properly. So how can I expect them to know they’re not mind readers. So to take a step back into myself and go, okay, I haven’t communicated this clearly. I haven’t been kind with boundaries and me,
my favorite, favorite, favorite thing that I had out to you is I used to be, we’ve all talked about how overachiever and like perfectionist and all of these things that we’ve been working on boundaries was a huge part of me moving through that and kind of getting to the other side. They still, it still comes up, but in regards to like work and like work ethic,
I have a very strong work ethic that would fall also under the I’m not good enough category. And therefore I would work too much and I’d have to prove myself. And so when I started doing entrepreneur work, I would kill myself working just like endless hours and endless days and taking no breaks. And like, I would forget to eat sometimes, like I can get crazy.
And so I had to set really clear personal boundaries that I did not work past 5:00 PM. And I did not work on the weekends because if I weren’t to set up those clear boundaries with myself, I would burn myself out and I would burn myself to the ground. And so by learning what those personal boundaries are for myself and they were hard because it’s not like I wanted to do them,
but I needed to do them because they were in necessity for my freedom, because I knew if I was going to do this work long-term I had to have a healthy relationship with the work. And I had to have a healthy, healthy relationship with my personal boundaries in like when and where I would work so personal or so boundaries to me, it just,
it means, it means that I have the freedom to enjoy my weekends. I have the freedom to enjoy my evenings. I give my self permission to enjoy the weekends permission to enjoy the evenings because I have those boundaries set up for myself that allow me to actually fully engage with relaxing instead of having, oh, the list of things to do, blah,
blah, blah, blah. I have so many things which I’ve also talked about before getting my personal calendar. And I use a program called the sauna, plotting everything out that like has to get done and timeframes so that I don’t have a constant running list of things to do in my mind. I know here’s my calendar. I know what day that’s going to get done.
I don’t need to think about it until then so that I can fully pull out and I can fully engage with relaxing, watching Netflix, doing whatever I want on the evenings, doing whatever I want on the weekend. So that boundary setting is really freedom, like allowing me to enjoy freedom. So yeah. So that’s what boundaries means to me. What about you,
Mako? Yeah. I, I love this topic as well. And you guys have already touched on so many great points. I would agree with, with the freedom aspect as well, with respect to the personal boundaries, when it comes to relational boundaries, I I’ve had a harder time with this one throughout my life. And so this is sort of where my most recent learning has been.
I would say that boundaries for, for me have been historically quite difficult to implement because of exactly what we had talked about. Like that those consequences of someone violating a boundary can be very hard for someone who has a long history of people pleasing. But I will say this, the great thing about boundaries is I think they are a very, very powerful tool when they’re used correctly to create more intimacy and even more authenticity in our relationships.
It just, it’s a matter of getting that courage and having to overcome that fear of creating them and setting them. I do teach this a lot in, in a slightly different way. And I’ll maybe I’ll share a little bit about that today, like throughout the podcast, but I will say the word boundaries gets used a lot. We see this in the,
in the Facebook group and just in general, like we use that word very sporadically and sometimes it’s not in the way that I I’m kind of technical about it. So the way I see a lot of people using boundaries is like, as a means of controlling others behavior. And I always say, that’s not why we set boundaries. We do not set boundaries to try to control others.
We set boundaries to protect ourselves. And I think a lot of times people will, will. And I, I mean, I’m guilty of this as well. Like I used to think I’m going to set all these boundaries, build this little fence around myself and, you know, keep everything out, but it’s really about protecting yourself. So the part,
the hard part is, is, is not asking others to respect our boundaries, but in fact, respecting them ourselves, I think that’s been very difficult because at least for me, it, it’s easy to, you know, get a, get away from myself and kind of be like, oh fuck. Now I have to now have to do what I said I was going to do.
And that can be very, very difficult. But yeah, I think that’s three seasons are, are great. What I had, what I had thought about was what is required for a boundary is first of all, being very clear, we’ve all said this. So this is very important, very clear on what you will stand for and what you will not stand for.
And then the harder part is communicating that to others when there is some kind of boundary violation. So when someone steps over that boundary and you have to be like, oh, wait a minute, this isn’t cool. I’m not gonna, I’m not okay with this. Or Hey, if you continue to do this, this is how I teach boundaries. If you continue to do this,
if you continue to violate this boundary, here is the action I will take with respect to our friendship, with respect to whatever that may be. And that, that is the hard thing. So what abounds me then is not, again, this is me going back to being technical is, and I’m not, there’s nothing against these things. I think there are wonderful things saying no on its own is not necessarily a boundary.
It’s just saying no. And that’s a very valuable thing. Also, oftentimes people will say, oh, I set a boundary. I told them to stop doing that. And I’m like, that’s not a boundary. My friend that is just a request and chances are, they might not, they might not fulfill that. So that’s only half of a boundary is the request.
So, you know, Hey, you know, don’t give up, my friends is a request. Or if you, if you say, you know, I don’t want you to do that again. That’s just a request. The other piece of it is the hard part of having the consequences. And that’s something that you do for yourself. So again,
it’s not about, oh, this is what I’m going to do to you. Not at all. We don’t, it doesn’t matter. It’s about, here’s how I will protect myself when my, when my boundaries are violated, when my needs are not being met. And again, saying no is very valuable. And in fact, I will say this,
the more I’ve learned to say no, the less I have needs for boundaries, because people will just learn like, oh, Michael’s going to say no to that. He’s not going to stand for that shit. So yeah, those were, I guess the two elements of a boundary, a clear request of someone else. And then the follow through on what you will do if that a boundary continues to be violated.
So I guess in the, in the example of the, the gossiping, instead of saying, Hey, don’t possible about my friends, the way that I’ve done, this is, Hey, if you continue to like, say negative shit, or if you’re gonna stand up, if you continue to talk shit about my friends, I’m just gonna leave the room.
I’m gonna leave the party. I’m just gonna walk out. And then, you know, because autonomy is such a value in my life. I love this because it gives them autonomy to make whatever decisions they want. They can continue talking shit up to them. No, I’m just going to leave. I’m just going to walk away. And it’s just so much more empowering,
I think, to look at boundaries from that perspective. So yeah, that’s, that’s what they are to me. Beautiful. Yeah. You guys have both some really good things. I love. Calan how you talk about freedom, because I think that’s really at the end of the day, that’s what you get. When you do speak your truth, you get freedom,
you get authenticity, you get all the good stuff that we’re all looking for. More of. And Michael, I love the idea of making a request. I just think, I think it’s so too, to also lead with this idea that yes, most, most of the times it’s like when somebody is doing something that we don’t like, I think we focus on the behavior of what they’re doing,
that we don’t like. And I think an important aspect of setting boundaries is focusing on what we want behavioral activation. Like, what do we want out of that person? Behavioral modification, I should say, you know, so sharing that sharing, like, you know what you just did. I didn’t like that. It wasn’t in alignment to me, it made me feel blank.
Is it possible that you can show up like this, right. Giving them an opportunity, then following up with a consequence, if somebody is unable to, I just think there’s so much value there. Right? And I think that’s where we, where we deepen the intimacy in a connection. When we give requests of, of the needs, we need to have met by somebody else and how they can make us feel safer and more trusting in the,
in the relationship. I just think it’s, it’s pretty powerful. So, yeah. Thanks for sharing guys. All right, let’s go to the next question. So what are some things you practice setting boundaries for? Let’s keep the order going. Calan Well, here’s some things I practice setting boundaries for. I think I’ve been pretty good at boundaries in my life.
I’ve I’ve, I’ve never really been a people pleaser. Like I’ve had moments of it. And I, I want people to be happy, of course, but I guess maybe my experience growing up or my interpretations of my experiences growing up had led me to being really clear with my boundaries because when I was younger, they were violated so often that as I got older,
I made it very clear that like I’m now in control of my life, that there is no adult who is telling me what to do simply because they are an adult, even though they are wrong, just, you know, past experiences with my dad’s girlfriend and other people who just had no respect for other human beings, you know, personal boundaries. And so I got really good at practicing those really,
really young. And as I got older, I just got really good at keeping them clear. So the things that my practicing with boundaries, I guess communication is probably the part that I practice the most now, because our communication with kindness and compassion, let me say that. Cause I’m, I was always good at being clear about it. And people,
people knew them, a boundary is where, but it’s practicing that kindness and compassion part. That’s a little bit more difficult for me because I’ve talked about this before. I’m a very like analytical brain person. I’m very logical minded. And I don’t take into account a lot of emotions a lot of the time. I’m very, just like, this is the fact.
And I don’t think about like, you know, how somebody’s gonna react to this or how am I going to sound? I’m just like, well, this is the information like, perceive it however you want, but this is the information. And so I’ve been needing to do a lot more work around the delivery of that information and the delivery of those boundaries and that the delivery of those things and saying,
you know, instead of just being like, no, I can’t do it, wrapping it around something like, oh, thank you so much. I appreciate that. You’re asking I can’t at this time, but ask again in the future, it’s just not going to work out for right now. So that it, it it’s a very clear, no,
but it’s wrapped around with kindness and compassion. So it’s not, you know, very off putting to that person or making that person feel bad. It’s, you know, it’s just me being clear, but still allowing them to know that it’s a clear, no, but I’m not trying to be mean or rude or anything like that. It’s just, this is the information.
And so I’ve been really practicing kind of being able to have that as part of my repertoire. Cause that does not come naturally to me. So that’s definitely something that I’ve been practicing with boundaries so far. And it’s, it’s a continuously ongoing process to remind myself that it’s like, right. Not everybody processes information like me when I receive information, I’m pretty much like,
cool. This is the information. I don’t usually try to take a lot of it to heart. Whereas I think a lot more people than myself, or are more emotionally inclined and I’ve seen that in people’s reactions and their facial reactions that I have to go, oh wait, what’s going on here? Maybe like, I definitely didn’t do this in the kindest and most compassionate way.
So learning how to navigate that is definitely been probably my biggest learning practice for setting boundaries. What about yourself? Makeover? Yeah. I love this question. I would say with myself, starting on the personal side, it’s been not beating the shit out of myself mentally. I talk a lot about, you know, my inner critic, very loud, very nasty,
really nasty guy in there. So I think the work for me has been a lot of, Hey, like don’t, we don’t talk to, we don’t talk to Michael like that, that sounds like I have a literal other person in my head. And sometimes I feel like I do. So that’s been a lot of my work is when I sense myself,
shaming myself and that voice because it’s my own. It’s not always very clear. And then I realized, oh, wait a minute. Oh, I’m doing that thing again. So I would say setting boundaries with myself in the personal sense is, Hey, like cut myself. Some slack, give myself some grace, that kind of thing. On the relational side,
I would say, you know what? I don’t, there’s not recently been too too much where I, I I’ve been working on this a lot lately. I don’t get offended very easily. Not much really rattles me when it comes to other people. I’m pretty good at letting people do their thing. Let them be them not get too, too involved in that.
I don’t mind people swearing or using off-color language. I don’t mind if people sexualize me, objectify me, flirt with me. Sure. That’s fine. Like I don’t have too, too many boundaries in that sense. I can handle myself if someone does go, go over the line. And that since I it’s really easy for me to just say, Hey,
this isn’t cool. Don’t do that. Or whatever. I can even handle people having different opinions of me. I think, I think I am my own worst enemy when it comes to that. But I would say, you know, when it comes to relational boundaries, the greatest need for me is when I feel like my sense of autonomy is being jeopardized.
If I feel like I don’t have freedom, or if I feel like I’m perceiving that someone is taking away my freedom of choice, my freedom to do what I want my freedom to be who I am, then I, you know, then I get that’s when my kind of back that goes up and I feel the need, okay. Something, something here I need to create a boundary.
Other ways like I’ve talked about is, you know, when I’m with my friends and family, people are just talking shit about people. I love, I just, I really don’t stand for that. It’s it’s, it’s not that I don’t stand for it. I just find it a very boring conversation and be like, why would we be talking that way about someone that I care about?
I’d say going back to my corporate days, I definitely had a much bigger need for relational boundaries there. Anyone who’s worked in that kind of office environment and knows what that’s like, but I remember getting yelled at and berated either by colleagues, other people or even clients. I was in a call center environment. And so when people wanted to speak to the manager,
that was me. So I got a lot of really escalated people on the phone and they would yell at me and they would just yell and yell and yell. And eventually I’d say, Hey, listen, if you’re going to continue talking to me like this, I’m just gonna hang up the phone. And that’s that. Luckily, you know, we had the support of that.
The companies kind of, I was towing the line with what our company culture was there, but there’s no need that. I would have to take that. Like I can understand people being angry for a little bit of time, but if they kept doing that, I would just hang up. It was harder in a situation where it was a colleague and it was a meeting and they would just berate me or my team eventually I would say.
And it’s only happened once, thankfully, thankfully, but I, I said, if you continue this kind of tone, I’m just going to leave. I’m just going to get my stuff and walk out of the meeting and you can book another meeting when you’re, when you’re up for it. And I’ve had to do that actually once, usually I would say 90% of the time people chilled out,
but there was one time I actually had to just leave. And everyone’s just like, what the fuck is happening. So yeah, I think those are the ways that I’ve had to practice boundaries. In that sense. I will say this though, if I may, one thing I’ve learned and maybe we’ll get to this later. But one thing I’ve learned is that it’s best to not attack and not yell.
So it’s not like setting boundaries saying stop doing this, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, that’s not the tone. Like when I’ve set a boundary from a very calm, like, Hey, if you wanna, if you want to talk shit about so-and-so that’s okay. You do, you, I’m just going to get out of here.
That seems to have a much, much better effectiveness than trying to push my agenda on to others or getting angry because it just makes them more angry. So that’s just one little best practice I’d like to throw in there. Matt. I don’t think you answered the question. Where are you working on your boundaries? Yeah. Thanks. I wanted just to reflect a few things that you guys shared,
because I think that’s important. I I’ll start with you, Michael. I think it’s, it’s powerful to watch you recognize that that inner critic within yourself, and I’ve kind of seen you grow in this area tremendously in the last year, and it’s been really, really beautiful to see that because you’ve your visibility and your willingness to put yourself out there is like tenfold different from when I first met you.
Right? So there’s a lot more confidence there. So that’s really beautiful to see that your boundary, your personal boundary with yourself is actually helping you grow as a person and be more confident. So I love that. Thank you. And Calan, I I’ll, I’ll share a similar reflection because I think, you know, your, your growth has been really huge in the area of empathy and like being more mindful of how other people are impacted emotionally.
I think that’s huge. Right? And I think, you know, our interactions, we’ve had a lot of interactions that I think both of us have grown a lot from. And I, I thought that would be the area that I think I’ve seen the most growth out of. You would be your ability to be able to practice empathy. I think it’s huge.
So, yeah. Yeah. You’re welcome. I think for me, and I will stay on the topic of empathy because I think for me, I’m, I’m kind of the opposite to Callen where I’ve struggled most of my life being an empath and being too unfiltered and too expose to what other people are feeling. And I think for me, I’ve bled my energy out because I’m constantly have these little feelers out there and I can feel people’s stuff,
right? So one of the reasons why I didn’t set boundaries most of my life is because I can feel the anger. I can feel the disappointment. I can feel the disapproval from people and it’s made it extremely uncomfortable for me to speak my truth because it makes me have to sit with all this things that people don’t want to sit with because they, they don’t want to set boundaries.
And so I’ve had to almost develop this like fierceness inside of me. This really like, it almost comes from a place of shadow inside of me. And I, I use that sometimes when I’m feeling maybe like the guilt or the, or the, the yucky feelings of, of having to sit with a boundary. But one area that I’ve really porous in is my time and energy.
If somebody reaches out to me, I will give them my time. I would give them my energy. And as I’m growing my business and becoming more exposed, like having more exposure and more public over the last year, that’s the skill of how to develop is saying no, and even not responding in some cases like to messages or emails and things like that.
And I try my best to, but it’s my time. And my energy as an empath is very, very precious to me and it can easily be thrown off, right? I can easily be my energy can be drained very, very quickly. So I’ve had to really be mindful of this. So some areas that I’m practicing boundaries for would be my time and energy.
It’s funny, Michael, how you talk about sexuality? Because I think that’s an important one for me right now is I did go through the years of objectifying myself, allowing myself to be objectified and, and putting myself out there in ways that they weren’t in alignment to who I was. They were just ways I was getting externally validated for. And I think now I’m in this energy,
my sexual self has really changed. I’m like completely different now from like, let’s say two years ago. And so an area that I’m really practicing boundaries for is like consent and like speaking up for my body, what does my body want? Right? Because for so long, my sexual self was governed by my mind. And I think now I’m learning how to allow my body to govern itself and say like,
okay, I’m feeling anxiety in my stomach while I’m in this interaction with this person, what does that trying to tell me instead of just bypassing it or numbing out from it and going forward with it anyway. So bringing voice to what my body needs, I think has been really important, but it’s very vulnerable for me to do that. And I think that was a big barrier to me doing it in the first place is like telling somebody what I want sexually or what my body wants.
It’s just, for me, it’s something that’s super vulnerable. I don’t know why it’s makes me feel so vulnerable, but you know, as I’m learning to embrace this more slowed down demisexual side of me, I’m really like honing this skill and it’s becoming really, I’m becoming very confident in what it is that I need for my body to feel good. And as I speak my truth,
and as I set these boundaries and practice consent, it’s almost like the shame is melting away and the confidence is rising just simply by setting the boundary and speaking up for my body. It’s had such a profound impact on, on my life. So yeah. Yeah. Such good stuff here, guys. I really enjoyed this conversation a lot. Okay. So Calan,
you kind of answered this a little bit around. How do you know when you need to set a boundary? Do you want to maybe a laboratory? Hopefully I know when I need to set more like clear boundaries when I really get angry, like anger is my trigger point of like, Hmm, what’s going on here? Why am I angry? Cause I wouldn’t have gotten angry.
Had there been some clear boundaries set. And again, this goes to what Michael was saying about boundaries. Not trying to control somebody else. So it’s not like I get angry when you don’t text me back because I told you, you need to text me back in order for my happiness. No, no, no, no, no, no, no,
no, no. That is, that’s not a boundary that has a request. And that’s, that’s, that’s the other biggest stuff that needs to be talked about. I’m talking anger in the way that it’s like, I’ve said no clearly. And you clearly, you know, did the thing anyways. And this can be, you know, be said for many different things,
but it’s like when I have a clear no and somebody disregards that no, and pushes through and plows through and goes, well, this is going to happen anyways. Or this is going to go on anyways. We were actually just talking today before the podcast and how today I was told, you know, 24 hours ago that I needed to be out of my apartment today for four hours and up to eight hours because they needed to do some spraying.
And my boundaries are okay, 24 hours notice. Yes, that’s understandable. But 24 hours notice to completely be out of my house for a Monday for a Workday is unreasonable because you know, working professionals like you can’t just tell me 24 hours. This is like, you should have told me like a week or two weeks ago. But even then it’s like,
there’s certain things where it’s moving parts where it’s just like, could there even be a request like any other day would have been fine, you know? But you know, Mondays are like the worst. So, and it’s just like having feeling like I don’t have any say in the matter, I think Michael, you touched on this as well is like,
that really sets me off because it triggers me from when I was a kid and the experiences I had of like as a kid, it was just always cause I’m the adult, there was never an explanation. There was never a desire for the adult in this situation to go, okay, well this is why this needs to happen. Or this is why this is going on because kids just want to know.
Right. And, and when I see, let me back up a second kids who are curious, just kind of want to know answers. They don’t need to know the in depth stuff. They just want to know like, why is this happening? And when you meet that with, because I said, so we’re because I’m the adult that doesn’t educate that doesn’t give you no depth to,
to the conversation. Kids. Aren’t stupid. The reason kids ask questions is because they’re learning about the world. And I actually have my friend, Leanne, her aunt, an uncle and her niece and nephew. When I met them, I was blown away at how intelligent these children were. I think there were maybe like one was like three and the other one was like full five or six.
And they had a clear rule in the house that when a question is asked, they answer it fully. Even if it’s a question that they aren’t going to understand the concepts behind or the, the depth of the question. But they were always answered with when, when one of the kids asks, why they were always answered with a proper answer and the level of intelligence that those kids had blew me away.
And it’s because their parents clearly took the, you know, the rules of like, no, if they’re asking, there’s obviously something they want to know. And so for me, that’s not the experience I had. I had such the experience of like, well, I’m the adult I say, so. And it just made me so angry because I just,
like, I just wanted to know like give me any answer. I don’t care. Or even as a kid just being thrown around between households and like I had no say about what was going on. Or like if my dad’s girlfriend was being horrible, I had nowhere to escape, you know? So there was just like so many things that like, my boundaries were constantly alienated that when I grew up and I was old enough to have very clear boundaries,
I made those suckers like right away. And so when I get angry, like really angry, that’s when I know, okay, what boundaries has been crossed? How has it been crossed and how, what can I do to rectify that boundary being crossed? Where have I not been clear in my communication with somebody so that they know, because it used to be the other person’s fault,
you know, before you do the work, it’s always somebody else’s fault, but doing the work. I know that it it’s my, it’s my boundary. It’s my rules. If I’ve not calculated a communicated that to somebody else, I can’t blame them for crossing that I then need to have the conversation and go, okay, I need to have that courage to have the communication.
Like you were talking about Matt to say, Hey, so this is a boundary that I have. This is something that I have and pardon me. And I apologize for not clearly communicating this to you, but this is, you know, something I need you to know. You can take that and do whatever you need with that. But like Michael says,
if this doesn’t get followed, then I’m going to remove myself because that is my right. And that is my choice. And so when I get angry, like about something like that, when, when boundaries are pushed, that’s when I know it’s a very clear indication that it’s like, Ooh, something is not right here. What about you, Michael?
A hundred percent to all of that. Yes. Yeah, exactly. The reason, you know, when I’m in that place of anger or frustration, the reason is not because of what the other person is doing. It’s because I have failed to show up for myself in some I’ve failed to, to create a boundary for myself. I failed to create a boundary with other I’m failing to speak my truth.
That was a big one for me growing up as I was, I kept a lot of stuff that I really wanted to say inside. And I was just seeding under the surface surface, but really that had nothing to do with them. It was just, it, it showed me that there was a lack of boundaries there. So yeah, feeling resentment definitely is how it shows up for me.
A great one that you noted was blaming, right? People really like to blame others, but it’s a hard truth to learn that, Hey, sometimes oftentimes all the time the work is within people are going to do what they do. People are going to, you’re going to set boundaries. So they’re going to trample all over them and that’s the right.
And it’s your right then to do whatever you think is necessary to protect yourself. So blaming anger, you know, we talk a lot about people pleasing. Usually it’s a sign like, oh, where I kind of asked myself the question, am I people pleasing again? And just a little slight way. And if so, where is that? And again,
it’s a sign that I need to take care of my needs and, and take responsibility for the situation. And I will say this too, it’s you don’t really even have to explain yourself. You don’t really need to justify. That’s a big lesson I learned is I always felt the need to apologize for my boundary. Like, you know, like, okay,
I’m really sorry, but this is what’s happening, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I’ve learned that I don’t, I can, I can, I can give someone that grace, if I want to, if they’re very, very important to me, if it’s my partner, then yes, I will explain, but I don’t have to,
if it’s someone else, I just like, Hey, listen, I’m out. Peace, no justification needed, no explanation required just as they don’t have to justify and explain themselves for what they’re doing. You know? And the other thing is you don’t need to necessarily eliminate this person forever and come to this big blow out. Like I’m getting rid of you from my life forever.
It doesn’t have to be that. It could just be like, I’m going to walk away and we can continue this another time. I’ll give you an example. And I’ve talked about this. I don’t know if it’s on this podcast, but I have talked about this before, where I had a member of my family who often would tell a particular joke that he thought was funny.
And I thought it was racist. And for a long part of my life, I felt very uncomfortable with it. He was older than me. And you know, an adult figure in Italian households, you respect your elders, blah, blah, blah. So I just never said anything. It just made me feel very uncomfortable, but over time. And we’d always,
you know, see each other during these family dinners every once in a while. And I would come to resent and hate every time I’d have to do this. Cause I know he would tell this joke and I knew he would find it funny. And I knew other members of my family would appease them by laughing or they genuinely would think it’s funny, just totally fine.
But I didn’t, I hated it. It, it made me feel terrible and I just couldn’t stand listening to it. And so eventually it was at, it was at my mother’s house. So I felt like it was kind of on home ground. I said to him, Hey, listen, if you’re going to tell the joke, you know the one about blah,
blah, blah. It makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I’d really like it. If you didn’t. And I started off with that request piece and he’d like, oh yeah, blah, blah. You know, made a comment to a being so sensitive. It’s like, oh yeah, I should have known you. You know, you’ve always been very sensitive,
something like that, which made me even more angry. But I said, listen, you know, you can, you can say it. That’s fine. I’m just going to take my dinner. It was a, it was a family and everything was Christmas. And I’m just going to go in another room. I’m just going to pick up my plate,
go to the living room and like watch TV with the kids and go over there. That’s okay. And like, he was just met with this, like, like you just kind of froze and ultimately he didn’t tell that joke. Now I have no doubt that if I wasn’t there, he would continue to do so. Or he still has a story about Michael is so sensitive and soft and all these other things,
but it allowed him to be him. I didn’t ask him, Hey, you know, don’t be that way I could have, but he, he got the vibe and I got the vibe. And so that was that. And until this day, I’ve never granted, I haven’t seen him in two years cause it’s COVID but it’s never happened again. So that’s an example of having to do it in a way that was very uncomfortable.
Do not get me wrong as I’m explaining this, it sounds easy. So much shit was coming up for me. All of my historical familial stuff was coming up. Like, I’m speaking out of turn, they’re going to think I’m rude. They’re going to think that I’m causing something. And so that was really challenging to do. But on the other side of it,
it felt so liberating to be able to say that and do that, and guess what? It’s never happened since. Beautiful. Yeah. That’s a great example. Hmm. Okay. How do I know when I need to set a boundary? So I’ve noticed a pattern in myself and when something happens where there’s conflict with somebody, I, my initial response is going to be to try and make up an excuse or defend the behavior or something.
So I don’t have to deal with the conflict. That’s my initial people, pleaser response. Then what happens is I ruminate and I get angry and resentful. And then I, I know that in when I’m ruminating, it means something. If there’s an unmet need, right, it needs to be addressed. It needs to be voiced. And usually for me,
as soon as I bring voice to it, it eliminates the rumination, the rumination stops. But I had to really get really, you know, I don’t really do it anymore than making excuses for other people. That’s more of an older pattern that I was doing, but I really had to beat that one. That’s the very codependent pattern that I had.
It’s making the other person’s needs more important than mine or not wanting to move into the conflict. But I’ve actually learned that conflict for me is one of the greatest ways to build intimacy with somebody, right. It’s really powerful what can happen through conflict. So, but anyways, I wanted to bring voice to the two responses. Usually for people, when you,
when you bring a boundary forward, there’s usually going to be some sort of guilt when you’re new to this, right. You’re going to experience guilt. And then when you don’t set a boundary, you experience resentment, right? So these are the two it’s like here, pick your choice. Like, do you want to experience guilt or do you want to experience resentment?
But there is a third option, which is to speak your truth and get good at being okay with moving through that guilt and realizing that it’s the other person that they have an emotional responsibility to themselves and that you don’t need to take that on. I think that’s the biggest lesson for me. And once I, I learned that, which this is quite new stuff for me,
like relational boundaries and being good at them is like quite new for me. But there’s a, there’s a blanket statement that I use. And it, it involves the word alignment because I think it’s such a, it’s a neutral word. Right? So when somebody has a request of me that I just can’t meet, or I feel like something needs to change or whatever,
I’ll just use the blanket statement that this isn’t an alignment to me, I’m wondering if blah, blah, blah. And usually I’ll try my best to pose another option. Right. But in some cases, like I have people requesting my time or my energy and it’s just, they’re not in alignment to me. Right. And that’s, that’s been one of the hardest things for me is just telling somebody that I’m,
don’t really want to be around them. They’re not my, they’re not my people. They’re not in alignment to me. And I think that’s really hard for me to set that boundary because I don’t like hurting people. And, but I also don’t like hurting myself. And I don’t like being in environments where I don’t feel like I’m thriving. Right. And that’s something that I’m really honoring my time and my energy to do that.
So I think as I’ve developed more of my authentic self, I’ve gotten really good at knowing what my needs are, what my values are, what my morals are and all of these things. And it’s from that place of alignment, to those things that I’m able to kind of use my words and speak my boundaries. And then for the most part, I structure,
you know, the right kind of people, the right kind of things in my life. But the odd time people speak through and I have to really, you know, sometimes that fierce shadowy Matt can come forward and I allow him to come forward because I think there’s value in allowing that shadow Matt to come forward in some cases, as long as I’m conscious about it and for the most part kind around it.
But so, yeah, so alignment is, has been a big, a big lesson for me to learn about, about my alignment so I can teach other people what that is for me. Nice. Yeah. That actually pairs perfectly into the next question, because my response to that is, and going into this next question, I didn’t mean to pull that out of you,
but it goes so well, is what are some fears that come up when you’re setting boundaries and how do you overcome that? And with what you were just saying is, you know, the two different things that guilt or the resentment and this pairs perfectly, cause I just did a teaching in the gay men going deeper membership about the power of saying no.
And a lot of it was taken from Bernie bounds teachings. And you know, she talks about it when you’re, when you’re cultivating this, you know, healthy boundaries, energy and saying no is if you are a people pleaser and you choose to say, yes, what you’re really choosing to say yes to is comfort in that moment. And what you’re really choosing to say yes to is resentment later on,
because you’re not going to get away from it. And instead of choosing to say no, and to live in that 90 seconds of uncomfort in order to have your freedom later, so what do you want now? Do you want that 90 seconds of a comfort, but total freedom later? Or do you want that comfort now in exchange for resentment later? And that pairs perfectly with what you were talking about with guilt,
cause that that uncomfortable could come in the form of guilt. Right. And so I just think that that’s so important to understand that and that when you do say no to have statements kind of ready to go, like you use the word alignment, she used the example of it’s like, you know, oh my goodness, thank you so much for thinking about me.
It’s not the right fit for me right now. But again, thank you so much for considering me, you know, kind of sandwich. It’s like the good, the not so good. And then the good you’ve got a sandwich, the compliments, you know, they do it on like TV reality shows all the time. They’re like, oh, this was really great.
We’re not going to say yes to do to you, but keep working on it. Like you’re going in the right direction, kind of a thing. And I think that that’s really important to be able to do. And that goes back to what I was talking about of like me working on that empathy and compassion side of when I do say no, because I’m great at saying,
no, I’m great at being clear, but I’m not so great at is putting the compliments on either side of that and recognizing like, Hey, this person went out of their way to ask me or, Hey, this is a person I really care about. Maybe I should put a little bit more, you know, finesse on it. I guess you could say so that it does land in that,
you know, it’s a solid, no, they might have whatever feelings come up for them, but I can soften that blow and make sure that I’m wrapping it in that kindness and that compassion when I am choosing to say no, if that’s what the alignment is. So, so yeah, I wanted to say that about, you know, what fears come up and people pleasing.
That’s a lot of what the fears come up is like, well, how do I say no, they’re going to judge me. They’re going to do this. It’s like rapid and kindness and compassion and remind yourself that you’re only saying no, or you’re only going to try and say yes, because what you want to do is live in that comfort. Instead,
challenge yourself to live in that know, get, get, okay, get friendly with being uncomfortable for that 90 seconds that it’s going to take. And then their feelings, they’re all in their feelings, they’re on their feelings, but you did your job of being as kind and as compassionate as you possibly could in that moment. And you have no control over somebody else’s thoughts,
feelings, emotions, and reactions to what you’re going to do. Right. So, so yeah, that’s what I want to say about that. That’s great. I fully agree. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. I think the better, the more we do them, the more tactful and graceful we get at them. And I think one thing I always try and do is save face for other people,
because setting a boundary can be really embarrassing for some people I’m very vulnerable. So it’s like, how can I allow this person to save face while still being really authentic to myself? Right. Because I think at the end of the day, like we’d really need to take care of ourself and we need to let other people have, you know, take care of their own experience,
but we can do, we can do our part in, in being tactful. I like that. Yeah. What about you, Michael? Yeah. I’m still thinking about that example with my family member. I think what I said was, yeah, being viewed as unkind or uncaring or rude, but here’s the thing I wasn’t necessarily kind or caring or gentle with them without setting the boundary.
I was rude to him anyways. I was just carrying that resentment and that was coming across. So regardless, you know, I was, I was going, I was coming across that way anyway, might as well, just be honest with myself and speak my truth while being unkind or caring or rude. And he’s going to have a stories anyway. And same thing with the other fear that,
you know, the first one I thought of for this question, the fear of rejection, fear of causing conflict, making things uncomfortable about things. But, but to your point, if you’re not setting a boundary, then you’re only rejecting yourself and you’re not honoring your own needs. So in a way you’re projecting, you’re rejecting who you really are. So your choices to either reject and I’m using air quotes,
somebody else, cause they might not see it as a rejection. I would argue that it even is that rejection, but you’re, you’re risking that or you’re rejecting yourself. And I, for a long part of my life would have rejected myself so that I could people-pleaser so that I would avoid the conflict or avoid that fear. But I’ve learned it’s so much better to risk the rejection of another.
And by the way, it hasn’t very often happened. And if it did it’s for the best then to reject my own needs and not honor myself and same with same thing with the other ones I said, causing conflicts, like if I’m not causing conflict out here at the dinner table with my family, I’m certainly causing a lot of conflict within me. You know,
I’m all angry and I’m in a mood and there’s so much going on and I’m all emotional and I’m not letting it out. And so yeah, like to your point, you know, you got to make a choice and I’d always choose well, I’ve learned, sure. I shouldn’t say always. I’ve learned more often than not to choose my own needs.
And I will say this when it does come to rejection, because I know there’s a lot of people up there who have that fear of rejection with respect to dating. In some cases you do have to actually risk the relationship. You have to risk the person that you’re seeing, the person that you’re dating. If they continue to violate these boundaries over and over,
you have to be willing to risk that. Because as we said, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to adhere or respect what you’re asking of them. And they might try to push you. Right? A lot of people will say, oh yeah, I am call your bluff. I’m going to do it anyway. And you know, you have to be willing to take that risk.
And that, that for me is, is a very big fear is like, wait a minute, if I don’t honor this boundary of credit, I have to risk this friendship. And I have, I’ve talked to you guys about that friend. I had who we had a break in our friendship, shall we say where we just didn’t. I just didn’t talk to her after,
after a long time. And you know, and there isn’t was that, that sort of gossipy mentality and stuff. And, and eventually I had to just pull the plug as a word, which wasn’t anything big and branded, it just was let that fade, let that relationship fade someone that I, that I loved and respected. And I had a very long friendship with,
and you have to be willing to risk that, but you know, the truth shall set you free. I don’t know who said that quote, but that is a very popular common quote. And I live by that one. It’s very true. The truth shall shits shall set you free and it’s always worth setting a boundary and adhering to it for yourself because you will release the anger and release the frustration and release the resentment.
And you will just feel so much lighter even though yes. There’s going to be a lot of discomfort in the front end of that. Yeah. Amen. Maybe it was Bernay brown Or a, I’ll do a little spiel on this question. So what are some fears that come up for me? I think the biggest one is people not liking me and rejection.
That’s been a big four thing of mine. I feel like I’m so much better at that one now, because I’ve had so much practice again, when you’re, when you’re more public with your life, it’s just inevitable. You’re going to get people that aren’t gonna like you. And that’s just part of, part of it, you know, but I think one of my fears is it’s like,
okay, when I set a boundary with somebody, they therefore can’t tolerate that. They, you know, go into their wounding and then, you know, they maybe spread rumors about me or they’re malicious or, and I’ve had this happen in my business. This happened at the beginning of the brotherhood. People sending me really mean things. Writing mean things all over my social media work and all that sort of stuff.
And it it’s, it’s hurtful. You know what I mean? It really does hurt, but the more it happens and the more that you develop your authentic self, the less it impacts you. And I feel like, so for me, that’s something that I’ve moved through and I’ve, I think I’ve grown a lot in that area. The area now that I’m really finding is most impacted is the loss of connection.
Because when you, like you said, Michael, like we, you know, a request is just controlling somebody when we’re not willing to, to lose the connection, right. When we’re not willing to walk away from a connection, we’re not actually willing to set those of consequences. Right. And sometimes walking away is important. So I have to be willing to lose connection.
Otherwise, what I do is I control right. If I’m not willing to walk away, then what I do is I just try and control the other person into being what I need them to be, because I’m not willing to respect my own personal boundaries. Right. So I’ve had to make peace with that one. And I don’t like that one at all.
Right. As a recovering codependent, like the loss of connection is one of our greatest fears, right? Fear of abandonment. So it’s something that I’m really still working through quite a bit, but I’m making more peace with it. And I think how I overcome this is there’s a question that would, that really changed my life. And I ask myself every time when I need to set boundaries is what would somebody who loves themselves do,
right? This is a question I have to give credit to teal Swan because that’s where I learned it from. And it’s very powerful because you’re, you’re literally start, you detach yourself from the experience of you and you put yourself in the, you by the use of empathy, in the shoes of maybe the other, you, the PR the you that you can kind of have know separation from.
And you say, well, what would somebody who loves themselves do in this situation, right? How would I practice self-respect? How would I practice authenticity? How would I practice alignment in this situation? And I think this question for me is really powerful because it allows me to let go of the guilt, allows me to let go of the fears and just really root myself into what’s best for Matt,
right? What’s going to make Matt happy. What’s going to bring Matt inner peace because that’s, that’s the pursuit that I’m on. I’m on a pursuit to experience more happiness and more inner peace as a human being. And these things are really important for me. So I will not let fear of setting boundaries, Trump, my ability to set boundaries, because I know on the other side of setting boundaries is like all the beauty,
all the yumminess that I’m, that I’m seeking in this life, relationally happens on the other side of setting boundaries. So I will put the bow on it. There. Is there any final things you guys want to share or no, thank you so much. Okay, wonderful. So thanks for joining in today, guys, listening and doing, if you have not yet already come and join us in the,
in the Facebook group, gay men’s brotherhood, God, we’re at like almost 4,200 guys. Now, lots of beautiful things happening in that space. So come and join us if you have not yet already. And if you are watching us on YouTube, please subscribe, hit the bell icon. You’ll see that you’ll get, we released content weekly and leave comments below.
We will answer them. And we will also use those as reviews for, for the podcast. So if you have nice things to say about us, you can drop them there as well. And if you’re listening on the podcast that you prefer, give us a, a star review, preferably five stars, and also leave your reviews there. Things that you’re benefiting from listening and watching our content.
Yeah. Much love to you all. Thanks for tuning in.