Oh hi! I am so excited to meet you! I have been getting things in order while waiting for your arrival. You know how we do when preparing to take a selfie. We have to find the right angle, make sure we show our best side, and ensure everything around us is in place before we snap the picture. Oh… and that’s not the end…next comes the editing ….we have to lighten this, darken that, remove some blemishes, and pick the right filter, and voila, we are ready to post! Whew, chile, that is a lot! Well, I have been doing the same. Adjusting my words to ensure my thoughts are conveyed correctly, making sure I show the best side of me, editing out the unnecessary chatter, determining if I should add quotes or pictures, and posting it on this fancy platform, voila magic! When I think about it, this selfie process probably trickles over into our everyday lives, such as: how we present ourselves in friendships, the workplace, church, and other organizations where we are members. Hey! Don’t get me wrong, everybody doesn’t need to know your dirty laundry, but it is okay if they know you. We work so hard to show people this false version of ourselves, and quite frankly, it can be exhausting. Setting healthy boundaries, having realistic expectations of others, and being authentic is a good start to having healthier relationships and allowing the real you to shine!
Healthy boundaries, what exactly is that you ask? So glad you did. Healthy boundaries are boundaries you put in place to protect you from toxic relationships and ensure mental and emotional stability. Poor boundaries can be related to stress, anxiety, and other physical ailments. Healthy boundaries are different for each individual because our tolerance levels vary, and they require self-awareness of your personal limits. Limits? Yes, limits—when you feel yourself becoming anxious because people’s expectations of you are overwhelming or more than you can deal with…that’s your limit! It requires you to do a self-assessment and determine if the request, conversation, or expectation is beyond your capacity at the time. You need to say No! Now, I know someone is shaking their head right now saying, “I can’t do that!” but the truth of the matter is you can’t afford not to. You have to turn your attention to yourself and understand what is best for you so that you are mentally and emotionally stable, allowing you to care for those around you within reason. Below is a checklist to help you identify and develop healthy boundaries in your life.
· Understand your needs and make healthy choices for yourself
· Know when you Can and Can Not help others and be comfortable saying No
· Recognize your needs aren’t the same as others
· Prevent others from encroaching on your emotional and physical space
· Realize you are not responsible for the happiness of others
· Don’t drown jumping into other people’s drama, instead offer resources that will allow them to help themselves
Now I am not saying that I have mastered any of this. I’m still pressing towards the goal, like Paul in Philippians 3:14, but I have experienced some incredible growth opportunities, which is just a more positive way of saying mistakes, that have brought me steps closer to the goal. So, I will exercise my healthy boundaries by sharing a little bit about myself with the understanding that we are just getting acquainted and haven’t developed a close relationship yet. My name is Adria Chambers. I am the mother of a sixteen-year-old daughter, who sings, acts, cheers, and works two jobs; and wife of 20 years to my husband, the motorcycle enthusiast. Life in our house is very busy and unpredictable! I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor who was called into the profession to uplift, support and encourage those who enter my space. I was born and raised in Memphis, TN, “The Bluff City,” Home of the National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and Graceland, yes, I said Graceland, and no, I have never been to Elvis Pressley’s house, but I hear the décor is very colorful and eclectic. My mother is a retired schoolteacher, who pastors a church, my father is a retired computer analyst who is a deacon at his church, and my sister is a Literacy Coach with the school system. I enjoy being with family and friends, cooking, working on jigsaw puzzles, and watching a variety of television shows. I hope that our relationship will deepen over time as we explore and discuss the importance of self-care in our lives. See you in a couple of weeks, same time, same place….au revoir!
Adria Chambers is a wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend. She enjoys walking, working on puzzles, spending time with family, and traveling. Adria earned her Master in Education for Counseling from Winthrop University. She worked in community health as an intensive in-home and ACT team lead for two years. She has been employed as a counselor with Atrium Health EAP 7 years ago and has been the program coordinator for 3 years. She has shared her passion of self-care with EA professionals and internal/external clients to promote resilience and prevent burnout in their field. Her current area of interest is cultivating new leaders through mentorship. Adria is the Vice President of North Carolina Employee Assistance Professional Association which oversees the education and training committee to provide its members with quality and relevant trainings.