January 2024

Loving Boundaries

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Loving Boundaries

On your self love journey, you might have heard of boundaries. It’s a work that comes up in many conversations, but can be hard to really understand. So what are loving boundaries?

Many of us our trained to ignore our boundaries (or personal limits) for the sake of others, which can drain our energy and cause us to feel a lot of negative emotions.

Loving boundaries are not only how we communicate to others what we can tolerate, they also communicate a trust for another person.

You are setting a limit with someone and having faith that they can respect and handle that limit. It is not divisive, instead it is a way to connect through mutual respect.

Start by Knowing Your Rights

Our confusion about boundaries can happen because we might not really know what we should be able to say no to.

When we were younger, our lines overlapped with those of our care-takers. Some of the things they did were to protect us, and we did not always have space and privacy that we now have as adults. There were acceptable levels of overlap so that we could be safe. 

Now, though, we might need to visit our personal rights to understand what limits we might need to be setting with others.

Boundaries are Not Controlling Others

As you see that you have rights, you also know that you can only control yourself. You cannot control others and make them be a certain way or get them to do things how you want. When you begin to communicate your boundaries, you are simply letting those around you understand what YOU will put up with.

If this leads to a conversation where someone decides that they would like to change their behaviors around you, that’s great! But that is not the purpose of boundaries. 

For you to understand this it is important for you to understand the stages of boundary development and where you fall in that. This is self awareness and must be in place for you to grow. 

Boundaries are About Trust

Loving boundaries are special because they communicate trust to someone. You are trusting them to run their own lives, so you are watching yourself to see if you might be crossing someone else’s lines. You are doing a self-check to ensure that you are allowing others to live their best lives without your total interference.

On the other hand, when you communicate your loving boundaries, you are letting someone know that you trust in their ability to hear you and love you. If they are struggling with your boundary, you are giving them time to adjust and talk with you about what you need. You are trusting them to love you in a way that you are worthy.

Love and Boundaries

Overall, your boundaries communicate so much love, that they are flexible but full of high expectations that anyone can live up to. If you are not sure where to start, we offer a program called Loving Boundaries.

There are also a ton of resources out there to get your boundary exploration started. You can also sign up for a series of free boundary exploration emails to start you on your path here

Dr. Autumn Thomas

Does an anger management program sound like the next step for you? Purchase our program here.

This blog may contain affiliate links, any affiliate links are resources I actually use in my programs.

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Ways to Complete the Stress Cycle

Ways to Complete the Stress Cycle

Use these activities as you follow the suggestions fro this article.

Our mission is to train you to love yourself fully and confidently because when you love yourself, that energy ripples out into the world. Because of this, everyone benefits from your presence. Also, self-love provides you the strength to face all adversity as you transform into a world-healer.
Shared Lotus offers educational programming that is designed to help you be happier, more confident, and enjoy life to the fullest. For instance, you can purchase a self love program or class to take online. Furthermore, you can sign up for a workshop, or consider an in-person retreat (coming soon).
Happiness and self love are a matter of mindset combined with values. Self love is possible! In fact, this is the place where you can start to change your life with self love. On top of that, start the journey with a community here, or in our Facebook Group: Confidently Love Yourself.
Truly, self love is a healing exercise and we have both free and paid programs for beginners and advanced learners.

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Toxic Stress

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Toxic Stress: Stopping Your Self Love

As a child or younger person, you might have started a cycle that you never intended: You entered a toxic stress cycle and were unable to get out of it. 

Usually this cycle begins when someone needs to react in order to feel safe and loved within a toxic family system. a young person learns to react in similar ways that their parents react so that they can be accepted and have their needs met.

Unfortunately, this cycle can actually lead to other problems such as addiction, self-harm, increased sensitivity to stress, anxiety, and depression. Also, there tends to be an increased suffering tolerance that occurs, which means, you might be more willing to put up with situations that are harmful to your mental and sometimes physical health.

While other people walk out of situations that do not serve them at a faster pace, or see red flags and exit from toxic relationships quickly, you might put up with something longer because you do not realize that you actually CAN walk away. Here’s what a toxic cycle looks like:

Are You in This Cycle?

Notice that in this cycle, you might actually be a toxic person as well. When you start to live in this cycle, you can put others in the same position as you because now you have an increased sensitivity to stress. This means that you might lash out at others, use manipulation to control your environment, be passive aggressive to get your needs met, or worse, use self-harm or substance abuse to relieve your stress.

All of these things keep you stuck in the cycle of toxic stress and you will continue to suffer and decline. 

It is actually the suffering that pushes people to begin to break this type of cycle. This is where people begin to realized that they need to pursue a self love journey, even when they are not sure they are worthy of it.

Completing the Stress Cycle in a Healthy Way

One of the best presentations I have seen on completing the stress cycle was given by Dr. Eleonora Cahill of Resilient Futures. I have adapted their graphic below so that you can see how you might actually find healthier ways to complete your stress cycle:

In this version of the stress cycle, you can see that you need to find ways to feel safe in your body again after the stress you are facing is over. This helps you regulate your emotions. 

There are many different ways to complete the stress cycle. Here is a list that you can look at. You can decide which ways work best for you and your personality. Just make sure that you are choosing healthy releases so that you are not feeding your mind with continual negative thoughts and emotions. 

It Takes Time and Practice

There are so many pathways to help you break a toxic cycle. For me, I recognized that I was just not happy and really wanted happiness. This lead me to a book by the Dalai Lama called “The Art of Happiness.” 

That book lead me read about Buddhism, but also was the beginning of a study of self and self love through many different authors and thinkers. It took many years for me to understand that you really do have two minds, your conscious mind and your unconscious mind. 

It is your conscious mind that brought you to this article for relief from toxic stress and cycles. It is also this part of you that is your personality and the observer inside of you that knows, on a deep level, that there is more to life than this suffering. 

So sit down with yourself and have a conversation about the cycles you would like to break, and which steps you want to take. We offer a course called Techniques for Self Love, and that’s one step. But really, you have infinite choices and that is exciting!

Dr. Autumn Thomas

Resilient Futures is an organization dedicated to teaching others about trauma and how it can manifest in people’s lives (mostly students and teachers). They have taught me a ton about how to manage my own emotions when working with others. I fully promote them when I can and they are not an affiliate, so I do not gain financially from referring them.

Does an anger management program sound like the next step for you? Purchase our program here.

This blog may contain affiliate links, but I only link resources that I use myself.

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When You Are The Villain

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When You Are The Villain In Someone's Story

If you have found this article, you have probably found yourself the villain in someone else’s story. You are the bad guy and it really doesn’t feel good.

Unless you have done something egregious (like violate someone’s rights), whatever you have done has probably been done before. One of the most common ways that a person ends up a villain is when they lay down a solid boundary with someone else.

This means you have said “no” to something, ended a relationship, or rejected someone in some way. How do you cope with this situation?

Start By Reflecting

If you are the villain in someone else’s story, first you need to decide if you did harm to the other person. If so, is the harm repairable? If you think it might be, you can try some communication techniques to begin the conversation.

If you have reflected, and decide that you have not done harm, then consider how important this relationship is to you. Do you feel like this person is someone you would like to work with. If so, and this person is safe, don’t be afraid to start the conversation. It is just a small discomfort for you to face someone and figure out how to clear up the problems.

But what if you are done? What if this is not a repairable situation and you are no longer interested in working things out with this person?  

Since you have reflected, you will know that this is the best choice for you.

Let Time Do It's Work

If you are done with this relationship, and they are out there telling others about how you have done them wrong, slow down. The best thing you can do is to not discuss this situation with many people. You are done and you do not need to talk about it or defend yourself. The less you say the better.

If you have to discuss it with someone, seek out a therapist or counselor who can help you process your emotions. If you have people you know you can trust to keep your point of view to themselves, then it is okay to confide in them. Just really keep your conversation about this person to a minimum so they cannot collect evidence or ammunition against you. Anytime that you talk and it gets back to them, they will weaponize your words further and do what they can to paint themselves as the victim.

What you need to do is be patient and allow the other person to just be who they are. If you know that this person has been toxic, then they will continue to be toxic with others. You do not need to prove this, just allow time to pass and they will prove who they are.

Take Care of Yourself

You might not ever be proven “right” to let this person out of your life (usually, though, they show who they are). Also, you might never get closure that proves you were not “the bad guy.” What you CAN do, though, is take care of yourself.

Remember, you are not going to gossip about this person, you are going to let time do its work. Also, if you are someone’s bad guy, you’ve been through something serious, possibly even traumatic. This means that you need to really work on processing what is going on and moving on with your life. You need to heal and decide what your life looks like. 

You Can Handle Being the Villain

When I became the “villain” in someone else’s story, I was devastated that someone in the world might not actually like me. In fact, someone in the world HATED me! It was like my whole identity was called into question. 

But here’s the thing; if you are pleasing everyone, then your identity is already lost and your boundaries are not clear with others. It is natural that you will be disliked by others and even a key player in their lives as a “bad guy.” 

What others think about you really is none of your business. All you need to to is understand yourself the best you can, know your values, and stay true to yourself and it will all work out. 

Dr. Autumn Thomas

Does an anger management program sound like the next step for you? Purchase our program here.

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Healing Your Inner Child

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Healing Your Inner Child is Not an Insult to Your Parents.

Healing your inner child was a strange topic to me when I first started my self love journey. I had felt that my inner child was healed from any problems of the past…I was resilient. 

Then I went to therapy for some problems that were manifesting in my adulthood.

I am not too public about my childhood, not out of fear or secrecy, but because it is a personal journey. Many of my close, loving relationships have gone through some sort of healing phase, with some that are unrepairable at this point.  I also do not know if publicly rehashing the past will really heal me or do harm, overall.

What I will reveal, though, is that one of my parents (the one I already knew would be) was pretty reactive when I began to publicly talk about healing and re-parenting my inner child. I also found out that my healing was NOT a betrayal of my parents or a blaming. My hope in writing this, is that it will help you fast forward your inner child healing instead of allowing any parent to hold you back. Here are some things you should understand about healing your inner child, so you can do it without any guilt.

Your Childhood is Yours, No One Else's

Your experience was your own. the way you saw things was between you and your higher power. As you look back on your life, you perceived things that no one else had any awareness of. As a child, you might have not realized that other people were not having the same experience as you.

Revisiting those experiences is not something that anyone has a say over expect you. Even with trauma, someone might have an experience and not be phased by it, while you might have been traumatized. It is the way YOU internalized the situation that matters and that might need some healing. 

You have every right to honor, work through, and understand your experience so you can integrate it into your adult life. You can have conversations with others and understand their perspectives, but it is not up to them to tell you how you should have experienced YOUR past.

If Someone is Taking Your Healing Journey Personally, They are Toxic.

It’s understandable that your parents might get somewhat defensive as you start to work with some inner-child injuries. But if they continue to tell you that you are acting like a victim, or say that you are “blaming” them, then they are being toxic.

The healthiest response that your previous caretakers could give you is to support you working through this time of your life. They can join you in therapy, or have repair conversations. Probably, they did try their best at the time when you were younger, but it takes nothing away from them to make amends or work side-by-side with you to heal. 

Someone who loves you without animosity and anger will want what’s best for you. You do have to own you own journey and not expect them to give something they can’t, but conversations and bonding is a natural step in healing. 

If they are making your journey about THEM and their needs and feelings, this might be why you are in a deep need of inner-child healing to begin with.

Everyone Can Grow

When I started to heal my inner child, the parent who took it personally was eventually not invited on my path with me. But my other parents (yeah, it was a lot of parents) all grew WITH me. They all had their own healing to do. 

My inner-child healing was a catalyst for others to heal, as well. This is healthy and loving growth. You and your family members all still have plenty of growing to do as long as they are alive on this earth. I even witnessed a massive transformation in one of my grandparents in his last years as he became gentler and more loving.

Don't Stop

Overall, just don’t stop this journey out of guilt or shame from someone else. There are plenty of spaces waiting for those people to commiserate and gaslight their loved ones out of fear of the what you might say about them.

Let them live in their own pain and fear. Send them loving energy and release them to their own lives. Hope for their own healing out of love.

Then keep going and do not stop healing. Do not stop discovering the beautiful layers of yourself that need you right now. You deserve to be free and loved.

Dr. Autumn Thomas

Does an anger management program sound like the next step for you? Purchase our program here.

This blog may contain affiliate links.

Get 30 Days of Gratitude sent to your inbox

Get a Free Boundary Workbook to Download

Explore our Programs Page and find one to further your self love journey.

Healing Your Inner Child Read More »

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