Sunday, March 22, 2015

Holding the Line: Andes Mints and Channeling Saturn

Saturn would be first one to tell you that he gets a bad rap in this blog. But one of the areas where Saturn excels is setting and maintaining boundaries and restrictions.

Recently I've seen lots of situations that have gone awry because one person or another doesn't respect someone else's boundaries. On the flip side, many people often allow others to ignore boundaries, which can cause a person to feel like a doormat. 

I was told early on in life that there were "givers" and "takers", and the theme clearly was that the givers were inherently "good" and the takers were inherently "bad". And for a while, I thought of myself as a "giver". But my views have changed: I'm both a giver and a taker now. 

Sure, I'm a giving person--at least I'd like to think I am--but I enforce my boundaries a lot more than I ever have and take time and energy for myself when necessary. While it was a challenge at first, I've realized how much better I am now that I've done it. 

The Wiccan Rede actually says it very well--"Fairly take and fairly give". My mother had her own version: "Being Christian doesn't mean having your face stepped on."

It goes back to the idea of balance. Saturn helps us set boundaries so we can be successful as people. When we don't, we start to run into trouble.

So how do I set my boundaries? Well, I'll give you an example from my tarot practice. I'm very blessed with an amazing group of regular clients, and I'm humbled and honored to read for them. Occasionally, however, I'll get a new client who will ask me why they should pay me to read cards for them, since my "gift" comes from the Universe and I didn't pay for it. 

The answer is actually pretty simple: I'm a professional tarot reader. I spent lots of my time and energy learning the cards, taking classes, and studying to arrive at the skill set that I have now. I'm no different from any other professional. You wouldn't think of not paying your auto mechanic for their time and effort, right? It doesn't matter if your mechanic has a natural gift for fixing cars; even if s/he does, you don't expect that person to do the work for free, do you? It's the same principle. So my boundary is to tell people in advance what a given service costs, and if they choose not to pay it and go elsewhere, that's OK by me. But I won't work for free anymore. 

(NOTE: Before I started charging and had an open box for donations reading cards, one frequent customer gave me three somewhat melted Andes mints as a payment. So I'm glad I set that boundary.)

When I'm the consumer, I set boundaries in other ways. I establish a boundary of how much I am prepared to pay for a particular product or service. If I go to another professional and the cost is more than I want to pay, I can change my boundary and pay for it--which sometimes happens--or I can hold the line and find someone else. If I feel that I didn't receive the level of service I paid for, I will usually bring the problem to someone's attention and likely use someone else in the future. 

Let's look at a more personal example. If you have a friend who is constantly in crisis and you're always there to listen, you're just being a good friend, right? Sure. But if that friend wants to bitch for an hour a day and use up your cell phone minutes, causing you to have to pay for more minutes each month, well...that's a time to set a boundary. You're allowing that person to use your time and your resources, and eventually you will start to resent it.  

This is where it gets harder, because then you have to either 1) confront your friend and tell them--ideally nicely--that you need to talk less on the phone with them, or 2) you establish your boundary in a more subtle way, like not picking up when they call, for example. 

Depending on the situation, either one or a combination of both can work. But it's a challenge, especially if that person expects to talk to you for an hour every day, and the relationship as a whole will take a hit if you try to establish any limit at all. It can be frustrating and difficult. 

So how can you help yourself? 

1) Set your expectations accordingly. Don't expect people to allow you to take advantage of them; offer some kind of compensation for their time, energy, or resources. Note: Gratitude can be considered compensation as well under many circumstances, but to me that's basic human decency and it should be a given when someone does something for you. By the same token, expect people to respect your boundaries, and when they don't, bring it to their attention and expect a change and ideally an apology. 

2) Be careful with promises, and don't promise anything that you're not reasonably sure you can deliver. With the understanding that unforeseen circumstances occur and not everything goes your way all the time (like weather and traffic, for example), if you continually promise and don't follow through, then people will start to distrust you and think of you as unreliable. 

3) If a person repeatedly ignores your boundaries, you should question the value of this person in your life. Being a doormat is no better than being a mooch; it's just two different sides of the same coin.

In short, while Saturn can be a pain in the ass, there's a lot he can teach us about holding the line. I hope you'll channel his energy to "fairly take and fairly give", and not end up pissed off with melted candy as your consolation prize. 

No comments:

Post a Comment