Remember when Covid became real and everyone flocked to Costco to stock up on supplies?
That was the first time James and I had ever partnered up for grocery shopping. And let me tell you . . .
It didn’t go smoothly.
We weren't prepared for the long wait outside. We hadn’t worn layers and were tormented by the winter wind. Neither of us had eaten breakfast and within minutes we were snapping at each other like angry dogs.
When we were finally allowed inside the building, we felt a rush of adrenaline and ran off in different directions, forgetting to inform the other of where we were going.
Our chaotic search for each other was successful, but our cart organization was NOT. We had vastly different approaches to product placement and our attempts to show the other a "better way" turned into a weird version of wrestlemania.
The check-out was worse. I tried to hand items to James (bucket-brigade-style) but my idea didn't translate and we found ourselves in a strange conflict—two keystone cops grabbing for the same items and bumping heads.
The ride home wasn’t fun.
Later, we sat down and talked, determined to learn from the experience so we'd NEVER have to repeat that particular misery again.
We went over what hadn’t worked.
We connected with our needs and communicated them.
We talked about the kind of experience we truly wanted.
We discussed roles that suited us best. (Hate to brag, but I used to be a space planner and I'm kind of a wizard).
Our second attempt was astonishingly better—no jostling for position, no struggle. There were still bugs to work out, but we took mental notes so we could improve.
The third trip flowed well—we tweaked and we polished.
By the fourth time around we were operating like a well-oiled machine.
James grabbed the items, handed them to me, and I put them into the cart in brilliant fashion. We knew exactly what aisle to start with and where to end. We knew our roles. There was respect and understanding. A sense of synergy.
THIS my darling, is an example of healthy boundaries in motion. If this confuses you, it’s because the word boundary has different meanings.
Boundaries aren't just about saying no or setting limits. Boundaries are also guidelines, rules, or systems you establish that honour all involved.
James and I needed a SYSTEM and we had to use clear communication (an important boundary tool) to develop one.
If something’s not working in your life, boundaries will help!
So pay attention. What sucks? WHY does it suck for YOU? Get in touch with your needs. What would you prefer instead? Communicate this to your partner or team members. Then LISTEN TO LEARN so you can understand their stress points (and needs) and come up with something that works for everyone.
Just please don't settle for a life of drudgery.
Life is here to help you learn and grow. Allow the clunkiness of the experience to inform you. Be willing to experiment.
If it's awful in the beginning, terrific! Anything UNWANTED helps you get clear about what you DO want and that's valuable information!
Keep going around the circle until the boundaries you need are in place and are working.
The fourth time around is usually when everything clicks. But if it doesn't? Oh love, you may need to call me. That's what I'm here for, after all.
And I promise I'll help you as many times as it takes.
Sending you so much love,
P.S. Fun fact:. James and I found a way to make our Costco events not just efficient, but ENJOYABLE. We listen to our favourite podcast on the way there, stop for breakfast and coffee, shop like champions, then treat ourselves at home once everything's been hauled in and put away. Creating systems that WORK is a part of healthy boundaries and a requirement for a life that feels good. If you need help with this, let's talk. CLICK HERE for a free consultation.