Saturday, June 19, 2010

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries

Yes, say it three times fast and make it your mantra.

I did not become a people pleaser without having issues with boundaries.  I did not become morbidly obese without having issues with boundaries.  Yet I took a job in Human Resources that absolutely requires establishing and maintaining them.  Hmmmm...

You see, I learned how to separate my job and my life because I had to.  I was a "people person," which is resume-speak for, "I'm really sweet--please hire me."  I was the party planner, the funny one, the one who would never hurt someone's feelings.  Then I got into HR because it's a great job for someone who loves people, right?

It's really not.  You have to fire people, lay people off, tell people their breath smells, deny them benefits because they missed the deadline, etc.  It's not a job for the tender-hearted.  That's why, as you get higher and higher up in HR, people tend to be more and more bitchy and awful.  They kind of have to be.  Really sweet and lovely HR VPs and Directors are rare and lovely creatures that should be studied and have ballads written about them.  (And thank God I work for one of them currently, which I can say without it being ass-kissing because she knows nothing about this site).  Seriously, when was the last time you wanted to go to the HR Manager to chat, or go out to lunch, or swap recipes?

Suddenly, I realized I was in a field where you were almost guaranteed that you would not be liked.  Those first years were a rude awakening for someone who was such a people-pleaser.  The first time I had to fire someone I cried for 2 days before and 2 days after.  It was horrid.  And I realized that if I was going to continue in this field I would have to develop some boundaries.  I've been mostly successful doing this when it comes to work.  If I have to hold a difficult conversation, I coach myself, "Shields up, people!"  *shink-shink* (think the sound of Wonder Woman's bracelets defecting bullets).  But it is not a perfect system.  It's difficult to make that shield permeable enough to allow yourself to be compassionate, but solid enough to do the job.  It's something I will always have to work on.  

What does all of that mean for those that struggle with their weight?  Good boundaries are an absolute requirement to be successful at losing weight, and I have met very few people with serious weight problems that know when to draw the line.  We're the ones who let people run all over us.  We're the ones who don't tell people when they are inappropriate or mean.  We're the ones that don't tell our partners, friends, or kids what we genuinely need.  We feel too much, do too much, and generally tend to not stand up for ourselves when it is appropriate.

And for me personally?  Why is it that after I started being Wonder Woman at work that I still have a weight problem?  For me, I manage to sheild at work because otherwise I would be fired.  My personal life still poses a major challenge for me.  There are several areas of my life where I need to practice and perfect appropriate "shielding."  1.  Relationships with men, and 2.  Relationships with myself, and 3.  Relationships with food.  I think this is a good weekend to reflect on those (since my Emotional Eating class scheduled for today got cancelled).  Lucky for you, that means some heavy duty posting.

So, next post, I'm going to tackle one of those 3 areas and give you some examples of where I've fallen down in the past and that I hope to change in the future.  Stay tuned...

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