Viewing entries tagged
opinion

Boundaries & the art of saying no

Comment

Boundaries & the art of saying no

Boundaries & the art of saying no

(Aka The Murican word that we also need to learn to incorporate into our lives here in the North)

Beautiful clothing by Finnish company Vimma and photography by Jonna Monola

Today I felt the need to write about boundaries. How do we inforce healthy boundaries in our relationships (personal, work and romantic) and communicate them to other people wisely. It’s a thought-provoking topic and something I’ve at times personally struggled with. I am still learning to draw the line in certain areas of my life and unfortunately more too often than I’d like to admit, I have a tendency of being just a little too floppy which will result in me feeling drained.

Firstly, if you’re unfamiliar with the word ”boundary” or wording ”having boundaries”, what this refers to are your personal limits and guidelines (your rules so to speak) that you establish to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards you. It also refers to how you will respond when someone passes those limits. Think about them as your invisible fences you have around certain matters. These boundaries can involve how you want to be treated in a romantic relationship, how you wish to be treated at work or just with other people period. Your boundaries are not static and they are also constantly being shaped and created and tend to shift over time.

News flash: people cross our boundaries constantly.  What it basically means is that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world with other imperfect fellow humans. Our boundaries will get crossed as at some point someone will do, say or ask for something that does not feel right to you. Despite the mundane nature of having boundaries, I had never heard of the expression before moving to Mexico and befriending a bunch of Americans/Canadians. It’s simply not a word that is used enough in our Scandinavian culture. Thus, I feel like it needs to be addressed more, hence today’s lil blog post. Because at the end of the day what it comes down to is having the balls/ovaries of saying no when we don’t feel like it. Why one might ask, well the truth is, people are sick and tired, and way too many people in our society burn out due to their boundaries being crossed over and over again. But this is not just in the world of biz, maybe you’ll notice it in your personal life or perhaps even in your romantic life. Just a tiny example is if when you feel obligated to for instance attend an event you don’t want to go to but you go anyways. What this comes down to is your lack of boundaries/ your lack of communicating them. As you start to see, your boundaries are part of your everyday life in many areas as they determine what works for you and what doesn’t.

Some argue that having healthy and clear boundaries has a dirrect correlation with your self-esteem. I agree to a certain extent, but I think it’s more complicated than that. It also has to do with self awareness, your communication skills and the idea of being a ”yes (wo)man” or plain simple, just being too darn nice. In the corporate world there might be a myriad of reasons why someone is allowing the workload to keep piling up. Perhaps the person is afraid of losing their job, perhaps they are hoping for a promotion etc. The thing is, it’s not just black and white.

So how do we create healthy, reasonable boundaries? Good question. I am no master as I honestly like I mentioned, still battle with this myself, but, I have gathered a few tricks and tips under my belt. Below shared:

1. Gain clarity and learn to check in with yourself. Watch your emotions, feelings, energy level, mood, thoughts. If you’re feeling exhausted or drained, the odds are something is sucking the life out of you. If you notice yourself feeling resentment towards someone or something, most likely you need to change something. Recap of step one: become aware.

2. When you’ve pin pointed a situation where you’re unhappy or feel like someone is taking advantage of you or doing anything else that triggers you, mark it mentally. Figure out what, exactly, you're comfortable with and what you aren't. Step two is about learning about and setting your limits.

3. Make self care your priority. I’ve said this before, but the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Put yourself first. For realz. Step three is taking your power back and wanting to change things.

new_blog_post.jpeg

4. Communication (surpise surprise!). Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take the bigger step of communicating this to others. As hard as it is, you’ll have to verbalize where you stand and perhaps even break it down for others to understand where you’re coming from. Be direct. Like we’ve seen on Pinterest and the gram, growth (and sometimes change!) happen outside of the comfort zone. Step four in a nutshell: take action.

5. Baby steps. Just like with learning any new skill, it takes practice and courage. Start small and be assertive when communicating what you’re okay with and what not. Step five is a reminder of how you can be strict, yet soft at the same time.

6. Reach out. Sometimes we need a lil push/kick or enouragement from our peers, friends or fam. Talk to them about your feels and perhaps you’ll gain some new insight or another perspective around your issue. At the end of the day, we are all different and how we perceive the world is our reality. By changing perspective, your whole situation might change. Step six is a reminder that you’re not alone, ask for help.

eva_estlander_vimma_company.jpeg

What’s important to understand is that everyone has their own set of boundaries and we are all responsible for holding them and also sensing and respecting other people’s boundaries. As I am typing this I am also realizing how nuanced this topic is and how it actually affets all areas of our lives constantly. We have boundaries in all areas of life: emotional, career, relationship, physical, sexual and the list goes on. Like with all things in life, it takes some time for your patterns of boundaries to develop, and it may take some time to relearn and practice something differently, consistency is key. 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How do you communicate your boundaries without upsetting someone? Do you struggle with this issue? Do you find it easier to have clear boundaries in some areas of your life, but in others not so much?




With love and healthy boundaries,

Eva

Comment

Real and talk about instagram, selfies and self promotion

Comment

Real and talk about instagram, selfies and self promotion

Dear reader,

If you're a millennial like myself you’ve most likely stumbled upon the expression “shameless self promotion”. If you’re unfamiliar with it, what it means is putting yourself out there with the idea of marketing something you sell, provide or do without feeling any shame about doing it. I believe the infamous hashtag #sorrynotsorry sometimes goes along with it and most of you have probably seen a cute selfie on instagram by someone you know along with the hashtag. I guess the #sorrynotsorry is a way to acknowledge that something you’re posting might trigger some feelings or opinions in some people but you decide to do it nevertheless. More than the #shamelessselfpromotion, the #sorrynotsorry is often used when someone is simply just giving themselves permission to post that cute pic (nothing wrong with that) and perhaps not as used when marketing a product or a service.

So like I mentioned the whole concept with shameless self promotion is basically not feeling any shame in blasting (presenting would be a nicer word) your services or products on the world wide web. In all honesty though, unless you’ve got the confidence of Kim Kardashian or Queen B (um, Beyonce hellooo) (not even sure she’s got that good of a self esteem actually…) the odds are you might feel some sort of shame or insecurity in posting pics of what it is that you’re trying to sell. I mean, at least I do. And I wanted to write about it openly and honestly. Social media and especially Instagram are great tools to gain traction for whatever it is that you’re selling or promoting. Good content on your feed translates to many likes that will lead to more followers that leads to a wider audience and that again will eventually result in more business. So yes, in a nutshell social media and self promotion are key parts of a smart marketing strategy. Unfortunately or luckily though (however you wanna look at it) if you’re a yoga teacher or someone whose product happens to be a service you sell yourself, it most likely will mean that the content you’re sharing will involve pictures, opinions or words of yours.

The raw truth is that we live in a world were pretty pics of pretty girls gain followers. I mean who doesn’t want to look at a girl striking a one armed handstand in a thong…. hmm, some might not actually want to. BUT many do. For some it might be inspiring, for others it might be entertaining and for others they simply enjoy the beautiful images. But the truth is these accounts have a lot of followers. The important thing is to understand that an image is just that, a glimpse of a moment, and a pose is just that, a pose. It all comes down to your perspective and the pair of goggles you’re using to look at your world though. Learning cool ass ninja tricks like arm balances or being skinny, fit or good looking does not equal happiness. Being fit and attractive are ideal attributes many strive to attain. Knowing how to rock cool ass yoga poses might be empowering for some. BUT again plz remember, it does not necessarily mean that the person is living a balanced happy life. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. We have really no way of knowing, unless we do. So remember that next time you’re scrolling through your feed. But that being said, pretty pictures work in marketing.

Posting pics on social media is a hard dance between creating content that empowers, motivates, gains traction and is beautiful and real all at the same time. As someone trying to promote something you’re obviously hoping to get likes and to gain followers in order to grow your business. But if you’re a yoga teacher like myself, how the heck do I do that in a graceful and successful way. If I scroll down my own feed for example and review the pics that have the most likes, I can see a pretty clear pattern (well now it’s harder after the new algorithm change). Not surprising, the pics with the most likes are close ups of my face or me in a swimsuit. So does that mean I think I’m the shit and hot as balls, well, nope, I can assure you NOT AT ALL.

To put yourself out for the world to see is hard and takes a lot of courage in the first place. Sadly we yoga teachers get constantly judged and criticized for the content we post on our feeds. And this does not only happen with yoga teachers, I see this with many women in many different fields of business. Why the fuck are we not allowed to be smart & sexy at the same time? Seriously though, who are you to say what is appropriate content and what’s not. I mean if you have a social media account clearly you want to share something with the world as well, so why is your content more appropriate than mine!? I remember it like yesterday when a person commented on one of my pics when I posted an image of a landscape “nice, not a picture of yourself”. This made me sad cuz putting yourself out there is already hard enough to begin with. Well watcha gonna do, haters gonna hate, right!?

This image has the most likes on my  instagram feed . Taken by talented friend  Jess Leigh Photography.

This image has the most likes on my instagram feed. Taken by talented friend Jess Leigh Photography.

So my point is too often we might be too quick to judge and think “omg look at Bethany just posting pics of herself”. Well, lemme tell ya something Mike, perhaps Bethany needs a little extra validation and has a low self esteem…perhaps Bethany is dealing with a breakup and needs to feel good about herself OR WHAT IF MIKE, Bethany is actually trying to sell or promote something and is using the best possible marketing strategies she knows. So please before jumping to the conclusion and thinking that Bethany thinks that she’s the shit and throwing the first rock, I suggest you step back and check yourself. Sure, most of us might agree that if Bethany is simply looking for validation through social media, it might not be the best way to cope with her low self-esteem issues. But then on the other hand, who the hell are you to judge. I mean are you perfect? What I’m trying to say is, that we are all different and today the gram happens to be a big part of our lives, in the good and the bad, and we all use it in different ways, some for marketing, some for posting pics of their sushi platter, some of them surfing, others for selfies and some for posting pics of their their kids. And this is all completely fine. So please, Mike, try to be more understanding and kind in a world that’s already harsh and hard enough as it is.

With love,

Evita

Comment