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Creating Relationship Boundaries

Jun 27, 2021

Learning how to create relationship boundaries in life and business will have a monumental impact on your life. The quality of your relationships reflects the quality of your life. I've been through it all. Tension with my parents. Separation with my former wife. Disagreements with colleagues in my younger years. 
In this week's episode, I share the essential steps you should take to establish healthy boundaries with your intimate partner, your kids, your siblings, your parents or your staff.
Over the years I have learned that creating boundaries for each relationship in your life, will make a notable difference to the depth of those relationships. Once you listen to this weeks podcast, or YouTube video, you'll have more tools in your toolkit to enhance all of the relationships around you.

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Full Transcript

The following is the full transcript of this weeks episode of the Life On Purpose Podcast with James Laughlin. For weekly motivation please subscribe to the Apple Podcast, Spotify or YouTube Channel.



James Laughlin, Life Coach from Christchurch, New Zealand


James Laughlin  00:00 

Welcome to Life on Purpose. My name is James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician and now a success coach to leaders and high performers. Each week, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you live your life on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and 

investing in yourself. Enjoy the show!  


Welcome to the life on purpose podcast. In this week is a little bit different. Rather than bringing a guest in, I wanted to chat to you guys about creating relationship boundaries. And I don't mean just in say, an intimate relationship. I mean, all relationships, every relationship that you have, with another human should have boundaries. Why do we have boundaries? Well, it lets other people know where the line is. It communicates what our values are, it communicates what our expectations are. And how many times you know, do you come home from work. And whether it's you venting to your partner, or your family, or vice versa, and you come home and you're venting about all these things at work that went wrong, or someone annoyed you or someone did this or someone spoke about your idea wasn't good enough. And you vent, you get it off your chest and it may be over a glass of wine. We've all been there, right? But that behaviour in and of itself can actually lead to toxicity within relationships. And there have been studies done where when you're looking at your partner, and that person is venting about their day. And that happens almost on a daily occurrence. At a psychological level, you start to when you see their face, you start to feel that resentment, that stress, that anxiety, that overwhelm, because you're so used to them looking at the face, you're so used to them venting openly and ongoing, that you start to develop a pattern a neurological pattern. And so, the quality of the relationship does start to diminish. And so, when you are venting, here's a little tip that I picked up a long time ago. When you're venting rather than looking in to the person's eyes that you're venting towards, go for a walk or a drive and look straight ahead, don't look at their face, because otherwise you're starting to connect their face with that emotion. And that's exactly the opposite of what we want to do when we're trying to create beautiful, beautiful relationships. So, I wanted to define three or four ways that you can actually make this work and talk about this with people who you love. So, if you want to create those boundaries, which I think we all need to create, then firstly, you know, detach and observe. You know, you could be a leader of a company, boss of one person of 100 people, 1000 people. This process applies to you, you could be in a family of three, and you have a partner and a child, this applies to you.  

This applies to absolutely anybody who's interacting with other humans, because the quality of your relationships directly impacts the quality of your life.  



So, first things first, I want you to detach and observe. So, what do I mean by detach? Well, we are so microscopic, we're right in our own lives, we're right in the detail in the mud. And often it's hard for us to gain any perspective and remove ourselves and hover above and look down at who we really are. So, I want you to detach first of all, and to do that it's about maybe meditation could be breath work. And I'm a big believer in box breathing. If you haven't done box breathing here, it's a quick overview, but it's fantastic way to really shift your state. So, take a really big diaphragmatic breath and you know, using your belly, then fill your lungs for four counts. So, it could be 1,2,3,4, and then hold it for 1,2,3,4. And then gently release it for 4. 1,2,3,4. And then hold. I know you're tempted to breathe in, but don't 1,2,3,4, and then repeat that big deep breath in for 4 hold for 4 out for 4 hold for 4 do that eight to 10 times and you should feel very much a physiological shift, you will feel a little bit maybe light headed or relaxed or clear, Zen some people call it but box breathing is a great way to help you detach from the craziness of life. And it's a method that a lot of the Armed Forces use when they're under pressure certainly has worked for me when I've been under pressure competing at the World Championships, and I've used it really successfully with clients of all different backgrounds. 



So, first things first, detach, then observe. So, what do I mean by observe? Well, let's take, if you've got a partner, observe the relationship, observe their tone of how they speak to you throughout the day. Do they talk definitely to you in the morning, when they do at night? Observe their body language, and maybe even observe their language, you know? Is there certain language that they use towards you that they maybe don't use towards other people? You know, is there any assumptions that they bring to the table, when they just assume that you will do the dishes, light the fire, clean the car, do the groceries, do they assume those things? So, start to observe that relationship. And if you're running a company, start to observe the relationship you have with your senior managers, maybe even observe the relationship you have with your board of directors, but observing how they speak to the body language, the language itself, assumptions, and take some notes on that. detail it out.  



Next thing is after you've actually got the detail of how this relationship is functioning back and forth, is number two, define what's not okay. And it's okay to do that. In fact, it's essential to do that, you've got to define clearly what is not okay. And what do I mean by that? Well, there are certain things that people say and do to us, that's just not okay. You cannot speak to me like that, you cannot treat me like that, you can't assume that. I want you to write out your list of what's not okay, that it might just be one thing might be a few things. But if you find that there is friction, or disharmony in a relationship, then this process is so essential. Now, if you're in a beautiful relationship, and there's a lot of harmony, then hats off, because you've worked at it, and you're continuing to work on it. What if every single one of your relationships in your life is just full of harmony? There, you're one of the very few, most of the time when most humans are interacting, there's friction, right? So, define what's not okay. And it could be, Hey I don’t like when you swear at me. Hey, I don't like when you're really short, or really cold with me. I don't like it when you ignore me. I don't like it when you make fun of me in front of others. 

So, write these things down. You don't need to say it to your partner just yet. But actually, write them down, identify them, that's the first step towards making a little bit more of the boundary, more evident in that relationship.  



Now moving on to number three, okay, communicate calmly, that last word, they're very important calmly, if you're not calm, when you communicate, this is probably not going to work out very well, right. So again, use the box breathing, or go for a run or meditate, or do whatever you do, to get yourself in a calm state. Maybe don't do this, when you're hungry. Don't have this conversation when you're tired. Definitely don't have this communication when you're under the influence of any alcohol, or drugs. Not a good idea. Do it with a clear mind. So now that you've observed, detached, you've defined what's not okay. Now it's time to sit down and have a really caring, an open conversation with that person you love. And this is not about attacking them. This is not about saying, hey, you are a pain in the butt, and I want you to change everything you do. No, this is about sitting down to try and help this relationship flourish. And so, the best thing I would suggest is to sit down and start with questions. Hey, how do you think our relationship sits on a scale of one to 10? One being awful. 10 being amazingly vibrant. It could be Hey, what do you think is going great in our relationship? What do you think you're doing great in our relationship? What do you bring to the table? What do you think you could improve upon in our relationship? What do you think I bring to the table and the relationship? What do I do that's great? Hey, what do you think I could improve in this relationship? Now, those kinds of questions are open ended questions, right? And they're going to lead to very different outcomes than you sitting down going, Okay, I've observed the relationship. I don't like how you talk to me. I don't like your tone. I don't like your assumptions. Okay, right away, they feel attacked. That it's not going back and forth. It's not a dialogue, right? It's a monologue. So really important to get that person on board.  


James Laughlin  09:58 

So, start with questions like hey, what do you love about our relationships? Start with the positive? And then, you know, where could you improve? Where can I improve? What do I bring to the table that's great? Now, once you've warmed up that conversation, then you can say, okay, cool. But there's a couple of things, you know, that I've observed, that I'd love to just talk about. And I don't mean to attack you, I'm not trying to create any friction here, I'm just trying to make more harmony. But there's a couple of things that don't sit well with me. And maybe I'm filtering them in a different way. So, I just love to chat about them. And maybe you could explain them, you know, from your end and how you're approaching it, what you're seeing. That in and of itself will help both of you guys to get a greater understanding of where you're at. Now, you now need to make sure that they know you don't appreciate certain things, you're not going to accept certain things, it might only be one thing, it might be five or six, maybe the first conversation starts with one rather than all five.  



Now, once you've communicated that, and you're both on the same page, here's the most vital part. And this is where most people fall over. Number step number four, you've got to enforce those boundaries, right? So many people talk about the boundaries, and I don't like this, and I won't accept it. But yet again, they do. You know, how many times do we hear of someone who's been physically abused by their partner and is more often than not a female that gets abused by a male partner. 

And I know, I'm generalising. but the data shows that it's more often that way. So, they get abused physically. And yet, a week or two later, they get back with that partner, and they forget about it till the next time. And then they threaten to leave, and they leave for a bit, and then they go back, you know, that in itself must be so traumatic and so difficult for that individual to traverse. So, the one thing you can do for yourself is enforce those boundaries, be a badass boundary enforcer, and just say no, not okay. We had a chat about this, this is not cool. No, this is not for me. And to enforce them, you've got to stick to your guns, like you can't be backing down again. No, no, okay, or I'll forgive you, oh, it's okay. It's all good. There's got to be some consequence, to enforcing the boundary. And when you set a boundary, and you don't enforce it, you're essentially communicating to the other person in that relationship, whether it's a personal relationship or a professional relationship, you communicating to them that, hey, you can do what you want, how you want, when you want, and I'll roll over and be subservient. We don't want that we want this beautiful harmony in our relationships. To achieve harmony, we've got a traverse through friction, we can't get the harmony at the end of the forest without going through the thick, dense forest of friction, it's essential. So, once you've done that guys, so I'll just go through that again, firstly, detach and observe what's happening in the relationship. Secondly, define what's not okay. Third, communicate in a calm way or communicate calmly. Four, enforce those boundaries about us boundary enforcer.  



And the last step is, know your why. Why is it important to do this, write that down? Why do you want this relationship to thrive? Why do you want this relationship to be harmonious? And if you can't figure out why, then maybe you don't actually want it. So, take your time and think why does this relationship matter to me? If it's someone you're say, leading and accompany what why does their success and their wellbeing matter to me? If you're in a relationship with this person, you know, why does their feelings matter to me? Why do they as a human matter to me. So, I want you to take the time to really think about the boundaries you have in your relationships. It could be with siblings, parents, partners, coworkers, staff. Think of it all and pick one or two key relationships and just try this, try to establish healthier boundaries in those relationships.  


So, folks, if you've enjoyed this, please go and chat to someone you care about this. Share with them some of these thoughts, maybe try some of these approaches. And I'd really, really appreciate if you could follow subscribe, give me a rating and review here on Apple podcast. If you're listening on Apple, please do that. On Spotify, again, give me a rating. I'd really, really appreciate it and share this podcast with someone who might appreciate it. In a few weeks’ time, I'm going to be launching and publishing an interview I did with Sir John Key, our former prime minister. I hosted him and 10 of my leadership clients down in Queenstown, New Zealand for an amazing leadership weekend. And I got a chance to sit down and do an epic interview with him. So, I'll be sharing that with you guys here on the podcast soon, some absolute gold. The takeaway for you folks who are interested in investing, in business, in leading, in relationships, in parenthood. We talked about so many amazing topics so I'm really excited to share that. It's one hell of an interview, and I know you'll love it. So, guys, thank you so much for tuning in. As I say, please go and give me a quick reading and review. I really appreciate it helps me to impact more people but go out there guys and live life on purpose.