This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is so beautiful, it needs to be its own meditation:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Interpersonal boundaries, the lines or parameters that define and protect the territory between individuals, can be difficult to discern. How do I know when my behavior feels invasive to you? How can you tell if you’ve offended my sense of propriety?
Because interpersonal boundaries are imperceptible to the human eye, and because they differ from person to person, they have to be communicated. Part of the work at work involves defining and expressing your own interpersonal boundaries.
Here’s a hint: If you are continually angry, upset or complaining about someone or something, you probably need to set a boundary.
In this case, anger can be your friend. It’s telling you that you feel invaded and probably need to protect yourself. It’s important not to act out in anger. Rather, notice who and what bothers you. Then consider whether you need to communicate a boundary.
If a coworker’s voice is too loud, can you ask that person to lower the volume – explaining that you’re having a hard time concentrating?
If your client is behind in payment, can you explain that until you receive payment for work already delivered, you won’t be able to move on future projects?
If your boss or coworkers habitually email you at midnight, can you stop responding to all emails after 10 p.m.?
Use your anger as a signal that someone may be inadvertently invading your territory. Then see what you can say or do to communicate your limit.
One concept that is very hard to comprehend but very powerful when practiced is acceptance. Most people mistake acceptance for something else; they think that accepting a person or thing is the same as approving of it.
“I’m not going to accept my supervisor’s moodiness. That would be condoning the behavior.” Wrong. Acceptance is looking at what is and saying, “this Is my reality.”
So, for example, you can accept the fact that the economy is reeling but you don’t have to like it. You can accept the fact that your lazy coworker always finds reasons to dump work on your desk, but you don’t have to complete his or her assignments. You can accept the fact that you don’t like a certain customer without having to forfeit the business.
The simple act of stating what is and accepting it as your current reality breathes some air into the problem; makes it a little less dense; acknowledges your reality.
When something bugs you today, try accepting it. Just say, “I accept the fact that I’m caught in a traffic jam,” or “I accept the fact that my computer is down,” or “I accept the fact that Joyce talks incessantly.” Write down the facts about the people or things you don’t like then practice accepting them.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
Unhooking is a system for changing your reaction to emotionally upsetting circumstances at work. It could be a difficult coworker, a demanding boss or an impossible client. To unhook, you have to stop waiting for the other person to change, and start taking back your power. The first step in unhooking is physical.
Unhook physically by taking actions to release the negative energy stored in your body from dealing with someone else’s bad behavior. Methods for unhooking physically include washing your face, taking a walk, playing sports, working out, doing yoga or simply breathing slowly and deeply. Try it today. If you feel your head throbbing, your neck aching, your stomach churning or your arms tingling, do something physical to unhook. You’ll be glad you did.
Some days start off well and glide by seamlessly. Other days are stressful from the start. If your workday looks like the former, take a moment to really enjoy the ease of it all. Appreciate your work environment and savor your interactions. If your workday is the latter (highly stressful), take many moments throughout the day to B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathing is the easiest way to calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Breathe in deeply (counting to three), hold the breath briefly (counting to three), and breathe out slowly (counting to six). Do this until you feel your body calm down. Breathing won’t solve everything, but it will help. Try it and see.