In this episode we talk about the need for boundaries to protect you as you heal. You will learn 3 ways to start creating clear boundaries that allow you to grow, heal and move forward towards a future. Included, are several boundary scripts to practice exactly what to say and how to say it. When you learn to set a boundary with others, it is an invitation to meet you where you are with empathy and respect.
Welcome to one well widow, a podcast to empower and advocate for widows moving forward. My name is Kathi Gerke Balasek, teacher, Coach mom of five. And yes, the big W. We aren't checking the boxes here and having your circumstances define us. Where you are now in widowhood is not who you are or what you will become. In this podcast, we will explore ways to move forward, teach others how to treat us, hear from widows, guests, sharing their stories, and discover some wit, wisdom and fun along the way. Grief is grief, no matter how you spin it, it can define you, destroy you, or strengthen you. So let's choose strength to walk forward together. And let's play it forward.
Hey, everybody, welcome back to one weld widow. So today, we're gonna talk about boundaries. And I was reminded of boundaries the other day, because with COVID happening, we bought a puzzle 1000 piece puzzle. And we dumped it out on the table. And it was like, Where are the side pieces? Where are the corner pieces? How do I even start. And that's sort of how you feel. When you're a widow, specifically a new widow. Not only do you not have the picture on the box, so that you can, it can guide you to put the puzzle pieces together. It's like you got a puzzle from the garage sale. And that was missing half the pieces. And there were no corner side pieces. So you're thinking how can I possibly start to rebuild my life, get the courage, confidence, and decide what I want. And then create boundaries that protect myself, and also teach others how I need to be treated. So as puzzling as that is, Haha, yeah, my, my kids are sick of my puns. But anyway, when you're a widow, not only do other people walk on eggshells around you and not know where your boundary line is, but you don't know where your boundary line is, everything has been turned upside down. I mean, imagine playing a board game backwards, or upside down. So here's a quote that I read a few months ago, and it says your personal boundaries, protect the inner core of your identity, and your right to choose. That's by Gerald Manley Hopkins. So I was always thinking that boundaries were to keep each other to keep other people out. But what I'm starting to learn is that boundaries, keep me safe, keep me protected. Because if you're a widow, you are at the most vulnerable. People do not know what to say to you, they don't know what to bring to you or help you. They just stumble around, hoping that you will create the boundary. It reminds me of somebody knocking at my door after my husband passed. And, you know, you're inundated with food and casseroles and all those things. And people are amazing to bring these things. But there was a knock on my door from an acquaintance. And she said she just wanted to pop over, because she was cleaning out her freezer, and found a tuna casserole that she wanted to bring for me and my kids for dinner. And God love her. God love her if you're listening to this, I'm sorry. But I should have created a boundary that number one, tuna in a casserole is wrong. Number two, she asked me if I had room and space for it. And I'm thinking Oh yes, I know exactly where this is going to go. And finally number three, she showed up about six months later asking for the dish that was from her aunt who had passed away. And I'm thinking Oh shit, I have no clue where the dish would be if I kept it, gave it away. And then I have to go into complete panic mode.
So there's a God in the universe and he loves me because that day we found that frickin bowl. And I gave it back to her. So I thought a lot about this because when you're a widow, people bring you things, they say things to you, they want you to do things they want to fix you. And what you're really needing from them is empathy. It's not about fixing me making it all better. It's about connecting with me and meeting me where I am. But please, please, I am appreciative. But please don't bring me a tuna casserole. So who needs a boundary in your life? Is it some friends, a family member? Your in laws? Your kids? You know, are people telling you what to do? Are they judging your decisions? Are your kids complaining about what you fixed for dinner? Are people asking you? When are you ready to date? or Why are you wearing your wedding ring? All of these things that are personal, that you are not ready to answer. Because back to the boundaries, your personal boundaries, protect the inner core of who you are, and having boundaries give you choices.
Another point I want to make is that, you know, boundaries gets a bad rap. You know, we should be calling them bold, beautiful boundaries that we not only create, but we but dazzle the hell out of them. When you're a widow, and you start to grow and move forward, and release some of the pain of the past as hard as as hard as it is, you start to go in a direction that puzzles people, and they don't know how to treat you. Now, they This is unexpected. And so this is really, really important where boundaries are necessary. But rather than thinking of them as a hard line, I read recently, and this just spoke to me. And I'm mad at myself for not writing down the author. So I'm sorry and advanced. She said something about view boundaries, as a ladder, in envision yourself high up on that ladder, okay, where you are moving forward and keeping your eyes on the goal. So the ladder rung, it's your boundary, and you want to stay up there. And everything you're carrying and navigating, and helping for you to sustain needs to stay on that rung. And if you bend down to accommodate somebody else, or their priorities or their needs and not put your own needs, first, you're going to bend down and grab them and the ladders gonna fall over. But when we hold our boundary, and we stay up on that rung of the ladder, we are asking that person to come up the ladder and meet us. And it basically says, You know, I believe in your ability to meet me where I am, then we can move forward together. It's an invitation for somebody else to rise and meet you where you are. So how do I start with creating boundaries that protect me, the first thing is, you want to start being very clear with what you want, and what you don't.
When you're a widow, we live in this overwhelm and indecision phase. But when we talk about boundaries, it's either an A or a B, get out of indecision, and either I like this, or I don't like this and make a choice. You know, in the pit of your stomach when somebody puts you in a space or asks you something and you know, in the pit of your stomach that you're just not ready to talk about that you're not ready to do that. You feel a little taken advantage of you feel a little overextended. So you know that in your gut, okay, so you got to trust that intuition. Number two, now that you've decided what you either want, or don't, you've got to be very clear, like crystal clear in your delivery and in communication.
I think sometimes we get angry and fueled and so we're like harsh and rigid and aggressive and we sound like a bitch, when really, we just want what we want. Or we're just really vague and unclear and kind of a wimp. You know, we can Get a pass because we're a widow. And so other people should really figure it out of what we need. Know, we need to be assertive, clear and confident. So when you are assertive, you want to look the person in the eye, you want to give some type of positive reinforcement for their care. And then you need an i statement of what you need. I need this, I have chosen this, I think it's really important to validate the other person's attempt in helping you, and then you hit them with what you need. Here, I'll give you a couple examples. So let's say you're widowed, or single and several friends, like they think it's time for you to date. So here's a couple things that you can say. I appreciate that you care about me. And when I'm ready, I'll let you know. Or I know you care about my future. But right now I'm focusing on the present. So here's another scenario, your in laws, or a relative or a close relative offer their disapproval of a choice you're making to move forward. So here's your response. I appreciate our close family bond. But please, respect and accept my decision. So notice how I'm not apologizing. I'm not justifying. I'm not giving them any reason of why I will not answer their question or meet their demand. I am stating assertively my boundary. Remember, boundaries, teach others how to treat us take your emotion out of it. And just state what you need, unapologetically.
So with boundaries, the last to number one, be very clear with what you want and what you don't. Number two, be assertive in your response. And number three, is dealing with yourself. those first two, were dealing with others. But the number three, I like to call the bullshit boundaries, you need to call yourself out on the bullshit you are telling yourself or thinking or doing that is not working. I know you are sad, I know this is the hardest thing that you have gone through, I get it. However, there has got to come a time where you square up with the fact that he's not coming back. And I say that with love with adoration and feeling. I mean, I'm getting emotional just thinking about it. Because my john is not coming back. And it took me a long time to realize that and just square up with it. And when I started moving forward, I would take two steps forward. And one step back, and sometimes two steps forward and five steps back. But I started to recognize and become aware of things that were killing me and keeping me stuck. And I'll give you an example. I don't know if you've watched shits Creek, but Moriah when she gets in a down a spiral hole, she goes in the closet. Well, I have all of the pictures in a closet. And I call it memory lane. And I used to go there daily and just look at pictures and cry and laugh and, and I think that was a part of my healing. But at some point, it stopped comforting me. And it was just exhausting and sad. And then I didn't even want to go in that room anymore because it reminded me of that. So I had to create a boundary. And I still go to that closet. I still love looking at these photos and these memories of my five beautiful children that I got to have with this beautiful man. But I have a couple boundaries. If I feel like doing it. I wait a day if I feel like doing it tomorrow I can't do it till after lunch, because it will destroy my day if I do it in the morning. So, as hard as it is, memory lane has to be shut down sometimes for you to move forward, it does not mean you are letting go of him and the love you shared. What it means is that you are honoring and respecting the love you shared. And the time you spent on this earth together is a gift. And what are you going to do with that gift,
you cannot stay where you are, you have got to take that gift that that experience of knowing this man of losing this man. And you've got to share it with others.
Because this is what I know. When you're a widow, you don't learn about death, you learn how to live, there is a beautiful, bold, bedazzled life, waiting for you out there. And I just encourage you to take one step forward. And as you take that step, you need boundaries. First, you need to be very clear of what you want and what you don't. Second, use assertive language in your response. And third, call yourself out on your bullshit what you're thinking saying and doing that isn't serving you any longer. You know, on a day to day basis, what you want and need. It may change tomorrow, it may be different from yesterday. But becoming aware of what you want and need and how to get it is key to that one step forward. So I hope this helped today. And I hope that you start to see yourself in the terms of what you will become your potential. widowhood is where you are, it's not what or who you are. So start creating some boundaries. And you will decide exactly who you are and what you want. And before I go, I wanted to tell you, I created a boundary scripts for you at she plays well.com. Just go to the website, and you'll see the boundary scripts, and then you can download it. https://www.sheplayswell.com/backoff It's about I think it's 34 different scenarios of how to say what you want to say, with assertive communication. So I hope you enjoy that. And feel free to reach out we'd love to hear from you. In case you're wondering, I so so enjoy and feel blessed to be able to do this and share my experience and story with you. And I pray that it helps at least one widow. And that's the name one. Well, widow when one of us wins. we all win. Have a beautiful, beautiful day. Cheers. Thank you so much for listening today. My wish for you is that this podcast gave you a perspective of hope, a bold action to take and mostly moved you toward that brave, beautiful, divine soul that I know you are as your sister. When you heal, we all heal. And I am your biggest fan and I want to grow with you. Reach out to me, I would love to connect with you. If you need more strategies hope inspiration action steps just for widows. Join my text message community. text the word sister to 530 to 203-6273. Or the link: I will text you a ray of sunshine throughout the week that helps you keep on the path of hope and healing. So until next time, I hope you take one step toward finding your true self. Blessings to you all.
Cheers, xoxo Kathi