Episode 23: The Long-Awaited Boundaries Episode with Poplar Rose

poplar rose holding a fern in front of her face

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Boundaries are a hot topic, and for good reason. People with histories of trauma — particularly developmental trauma — find setting, sticking to, and respecting boundaries insanely difficult. Setting boundaries is activating to the nervous system, so people with trauma (ie. nervous systems with less flexibility and resiliency) often don’t know how to reclaim their power through setting and respecting boundaries. This episode is all about boundaries — but perhaps, from a perspective you haven’t yet heard.

poplar rose holding a fern in front of her face

Poplar Rose is a plant-loving witch. They’re magical practice pulls from Celtic folk, radical queer, and activist reclaiming traditions, while also being a part of the modern explosion of feminist witchcraft. Her mother is also a witch as are many of the women in their mother’s family. Her activism and professional life reflects their commitment to enlivening a more just and sustainable culture. Poplar Rose it’s also a trauma informed yoga teacher, youth support worker, facilitator, author, and whale song lover. She lives in a forest full of mushrooms by the ocean with her dog, cat, and 2 goats.



Show Notes

In this episode, Poplar Rose and I…

  • discuss boundaries as self-awareness and prioritizing time, energy, and resources in a way that is grounded in integrity
  • share that part of the boundary-setting process is making peace with the fact that our boundaries will disappoint others
  • talk about people-pleasing, fawning, and over-explaining
  • discuss choosing discomfort as a reality of boundary-setting
  • hold space for the many feelings, including loss and grief, that naturally arise as we set, stick to, and respect boundaries
  • talk about boundaries with bosses, co-workers, in-laws, and other relationships
  • discuss the importance of emotional neutrality
  • validate anger as a sacred feeling
  • answer the boundaries questions that came from Instagram



Hi there. And thanks for being here. I’m really happy that you’re joining me today for this very special, very long awaited episode about boundaries with Poplar Rose. However, before I get into telling you what the show’s all about in my interview with Poplar, I want to let you know that if you make it all the way to the very end of this episode, there’s a really exciting opportunity waiting for you. So you’re not going to have a hard time making it through this episode. It’s a fantastic episode. Maybe, probably definitely. In my top five of all the podcast episodes so far. So my interview with Poplar went so long. We recorded three hours of content so I’ve decided to divide up our conversation and it’s going to become two separate episodes. So this is the first one episode 23, and the next one episode 24 will be published next week. However, I also kept the recorder going. Recorder going. I’m dating myself. I also kept the tape rolling. Um, I also got the tape rolling and when Poplar and I we’re finished talking about boundaries, we went into talking about all kinds of other stuff, and that is going to be turned into the first bonus podcast episode yet.

And there’s only one way to access bonus podcast episodes. And that’s what I tell you about at the end of the episode. So before I tell you about this episode, I want to tell you about my guests. Poplar Rose is a plant loving, witch they’re magical practice pulls from Celtic folk, radical queer, and activist reclaiming traditions. While also being a part of the modern explosion of feminist witchcraft. Her mother is also a witch as are many of the women in their mother’s family. Her activism and professional life reflects their commitment to enlivening a more just and sustainable culture. Poplar Rose it’s also a trauma informed yoga teacher, youth support worker, facilitator, author, and whale song lover. She lives in a forest full of mushrooms by the ocean with her dog cat into goats.

In this episode, we are discussing boundaries self-awareness and learning to prioritize time, energy, and resources. We share that ultimately our boundaries will end up disappointing someone and we need to make peace with that in order to remain in our integrity and successfully set boundaries. We talk about people pleasing fawning and overexplaining ourselves.
We discuss choosing discomfort as a reality of boundary setting. We hold space for the loss and grief of missing out and or disappointing others as a real consequences setting boundaries. We talk about boundaries with bosses, coworkers in-laws and other relationships. We validate anger as a sacred feeling, and we talk a lot about energetic tethers. So I hope you enjoy this episode with Poplar Rose.
LINDSEY: Hey Poplar. Welcome to the podcast.


LINDSEY: So we’re going to talk about boundaries today.

POPLAR: Yeah. A favorite topic of mine.

LINDSEY: When Clementine told me about you for the podcast, she was like, Poplar is the boundaries person to talk to. And I get a lot of questions on Instagram about boundaries. I have definitely had to do a lot of work learning how to set boundaries and my own life. We have some questions from people on Instagram that I love to answer on podcast today, if you’re willing to do that. But let’s just talk about boundaries just to talk about.

POPLAR: Yeah. Like I think I should probably share that. Yeah. Boundaries are like a pretty resonant topic for me because of a number of reasons. Like I used to teach. I wrote a class called Hawthorne heart, which I shared like several rounds of cause my approach to boundaries is like I’m a witch and a herbalist. And so I really work with some of the more esoteric, energetic aspects of setting boundaries. And I’m very grounded in like the personal work aspect of it. But I also used to work for a program that was in schools where I worked with youth, teaching them like violence prevention, which was rooted a lot in sort of boundary practices. And like I went to school for women’s studies.

Like I was very much raised in the sort of feminist boundary practices. But I also grew up in a home where my mom didn’t really have very many boundaries. And I think the more that I learned to articulate that and share that with my mom, like my mom has really been a big inspiration for that with me, because we like I’ve really supported each other to learn, to articulate our boundaries better. And my grandmother, who is my mom’s mom, she grew up in a very abusive home and went on to have a very loving non-violent marriage. And so there’s like a lineage for me with the women in my family of like really working on like, How to make peace within our families and our relationships. And boundaries aren’t always about peacemaking. Like they can also create conflict and it’s it’s a very broad topic that my, even my feelings about it change all the time.

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. So I think I speak for a lot of people whenever I say that, learning how to set boundaries is very difficult. We live in a society that like basically discourages us from having boundaries. I’m wondering if you could just chat about why is it so hard for us to set boundaries?

POPLAR: Yeah, I think, for everyone it’s hard to do in the context of like capitalism, where we need money to survive, like I think that’s one of the biggest ways we get pressured to push past our own limits and our own integrity. But I think for women, there is this expectation that like part of succeeding at being like a woman in a standard sort of patriarchal senses that you’re like compliant. You’re compliant and your worth is derived from your service to others. And when you learn to say no to that, there can be like some pushback around that. But I also think it’s hard because there’s a lot of pieces around like disappointing people. Like people want. We want all kinds of things from each other, which are usually like the want of the thing is not necessarily bad. Sometimes there are instances where maybe a want is not necessarily fair, but it’s just challenging because when we come into this awareness of I don’t know, I think about boundary setting as like just having an awareness of yourself and having an awareness of your limits and your desires. And, there’s a limited amount of time in the day. There’s a limited amount of energy that we have to put towards things. And boundaries is all are also about prioritizing how we want to spend our time. And inevitably we disappoint people when we prioritize something, but we don’t prioritize them.

And, but the reality is that like you can’t do everything, and you end up doing a disservice to yourself, trying to spread yourself way too thin. So a lot of my work around boundaries is about first of all, like allowing people to like, learn to tune into themselves and what they authentically want and what they are capable of, but also processing the fallout. Ideally we can set boundaries in a way that like maintain our relationships and create clarity and allow things to be easier and smoother. But that’s not always the case. A lot of the boundaries that I’ve set in my life, like the resulted in people, like people are still mad about boundaries I set years ago that for me were totally necessary, but for them were devastating on some level. So it’s complex. It’s complex conversation.

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. Is it okay if I share a story from my real life with you of an experience I had recently with setting boundaries.

POPLAR: Yeah, totally go for it.

LINDSEY: Okay. Ever since the summer of 2020 one of my really good friends shared with me the motto, if it’s not a hell, yes, it’s a hell no. And this friend is a fawn type like myself. And she said that having that motto in her life, Had really helped her be able to stay in her integrity with what she wanted to say yes to and what she needed to say no to. And that if it wasn’t something that she could say yes, with a hundred percent excitement, ready to invest herself, ready to show up and give it all like that kind of enthusiasm. If she couldn’t say yes with that kind of enthusiasm, it had to be a no no matter what, because she wanted to show up that way and be able to give her best, be excited about it. Stay in her integrity. And I was like, wow, that really makes sense because I am chronically recovering people pleaser.

And so I’ve always had trouble distinguishing, like where is it that my wants and needs and desires end and someone else’s begin. And like I found myself saying yes, most of my life to things that in hindsight. I wish that I would have said no to, or even in that moment, I would say yes, but like that little voice inside of me was like, you don’t really want to do this. This is not really your thing. You’re too, you’re spread too thin. You don’t have time for this. You don’t have the energy for this isn’t your specialty. Like whatever. Ever since the summer, I’ve gotten really a lot better with tuning into myself. When somebody asks me to do something, I tune in and I ask, is this a hell yes or hell no? And I answer, honestly, like that’s not gonna work for me or whatever. So a few weeks ago, a person in my real life asked if they could bring kids over to my house to hang out. And he sent me this an a text message can I bring the kids to hang out? And then I was like, Oh wait, hold on. I checked myself. Like I was feeling my nervous system responding. But I can handle this.

So I go back to my phone and I’m like, actually, it won’t work for me for you to come over this evening. I don’t know if I’m going to have enough food to feed all these kids. I, my house is clean and I really don’t want to getting messed up. And then he told me about all of the reasons that I didn’t want for him to come over the eye. Now, I know it was over explaining myself that my house is clean and I didn’t want it messed up. I didn’t want a bunch of kids over. I wasn’t sure I wasn’t having the food to feed everybody. He told me that those were trivial excuses. And so I was very hurt. It was very hard. But I still maintain that it doesn’t matter why I say no to something I’m allowed to say no, even if I want to sit at home and alphabetize my spice cabinet, like that is enough of a reason to stay home and say, no, like I don’t have to have some big reason like my mother just died, that’s why you can’t come over. That’s why it’s not a good time. Like any reason is okay. And so I still stand in my integrity when it was a no for me, like I know it was a hell, no, I was nice. And I said it, the mistake that I made was I overexplain myself. So I’m wondering if you can speak to that. I know that over-explaining myself as a trauma response. I know now that I can just say no and it can be okay. I can just say no, that won’t work. No, I don’t want to, or whatever. I don’t have to give five excuses or reasons why. But can you talk about that a little bit more?

POPLAR: Yeah. I’ll say first of all I don’t know this person, I don’t know the background of why he feels how he does, but just to speak to the fact that maybe there’s some piece of context for him that makes his behavior make a bit more sense. I don’t know. But I do think that I would find that uncomfortable if I was you and yeah, you’re right. Like you can say no. And I think there’s, yeah, there’s a couple of things that come up for me with this. Like the first one is like with overexplaining. Cause I can be like, you also were. For me, I’m like, I’m going to give all these reasons so that this person understands like all the reasons why I feel this way. And often I’m like, that means they’re not going to be mad. But there’s this weird, like in verse sort of truth around explaining, which is that typically the more you explain the more people end up not agreeing with your explanation.
And I think that it has to do with It’s actually a lot harder to argue with someone’s just straight up preference than it is to argue with someone’s reasons for why. Because, if I just say no, because I just don’t want to, like a person could say, I don’t like that, or I’m disappointed or whatever, but that’s just my feeling. Cause you know, like that’s just how I feel. Like there’s a lot of limited amount that you’ve been arguing with someone about how they feel about something. But I totally understand where you’re coming from. Cause like I said, I’d done that myself. I also think that one thing that’s really important to understand, like with boundaries is if you’re faced with a situation where either you’re going to be uncomfortable or someone else is going to be uncomfortable, the reality is that it’s probably going to be uncomfortable, right? Like it’s gotta be uncomfortable one way or the other. And so you get to choose the discomfort. Do you want the discomfort of having this person in your house when that’s clearly not what you want or do you want the discomfort of disappointing the person?


POPLAR: The older that I’ve gotten, the more that I had become comfortable with disappointing other people, like there are some people in my life who are so upset about the ways that I have disappointed them and let them down that, even years later they’ve drawn some pretty, what I consider to be wild conclusions about who I am as a person and. I think one of the really important pieces about setting boundaries is being able to grieve, like what you can’t show up for, like when you think about people pleasing, it’s okay if you’re saying yes to something, but you don’t want to do the actual activity, it’s like, why are you saying yes, there’s a reason. There’s a reason that’s motivating you to say yes. And maybe it’s that you’re scared of disappointing the other person maybe is that you want to maintain the relationship, whatever it is. And so when you stand in your integrity and say, no, you are actually losing something that was held in place by betraying yourself and you have to grieve back, you have to grieve. I’m going to grieve the fact that like I disappoint people all the time now that I’m standing up for myself. Or that I’m going to grieve the relationships that I’m losing, because they don’t work for these people in my life. And, you can stand by that boundary and know it was the absolute right thing for you and also feel a sense of loss around what parts of it used to work the way it was before. And I think, I think you say no to that is fine. I think it’s totally fine and totally appropriate. And like I said, I don’t know this person, I don’t know the context of their feelings, but I actually think that they’re being forceful and entitled.

LINDSEY: Yeah. I didn’t grieve cause I’m not super close to this person anyway. So I didn’t really grieve anything cause there wasn’t really a loss in it for me.

POPLAR: A sense of smoothness, within your relationship, a sense of grieving the person you used to be who was more palatable to this person or whatever,

LINDSEY: Yeah. I actually just found myself being like really I’m actually still, if I think about this person, I get like a body response. Like I have a visceral response of like constriction and anger. Like I’m still angry about it. And like it’s not, I’m not allowing it to Toxify my life or whatever. It’s just, I know that it takes time sometimes to process those kinds of things and move on. But I also know that, like I had the experience with setting boundaries, with people who did not respect my boundaries and to continue to maintain a relationship with that person just became like, That’s where the boundary had to go. Like at first it was saying no to something that they wanted or something that they wanted me to do. And then it was like saying no to spending as much time with them as I had spent with them before. And then at a certain point, it was like, actually, this relationship is now a no for me. I can’t continue in this relationship. And that’s really hard to.

POPLAR: Totally. And I’ll give you an example from my own life. On one side of my family, there is a family member who is very rude and continually crossed my boundaries, especially around like autonomy around my body and to the point where like he would touch my body and make comments about my body in front of my family. And he had, some mental health stuff going on where I don’t think he was fully aware of what he was doing. But it was really uncomfortable for me. And it was really inappropriate. And I have, since not spent time around that family member or the rest of my family, who just encouraged me to just accept that behavior. And on the one hand I feel a sense of relief that I don’t have to deal with that anymore. But on the other hand, it’s I do wish that my relationship with my family was like easier, so I grieve I’m sad that it’s not easier. And when you lose a relationship, like even if you can I think one of the things that’s really important is to allow yourself to feel more than one feeling at once.

Like you can feel relief that you don’t have to deal with that thing anymore. And you can feel shame because the small part of yourself that likes to control the circumstances is like, Oh my God, why didn’t I just do what they want me to do. You can feel that as well as feeling relief and pride in yourself that you’ve made the right decision, trusting yourself more like. It’s a range of emotions that comes up with all of this stuff and, and it’s very activating to our nervous systems to disappoint other people because it turns on this alarm bell that it’s like it can feel dangerous to disappoint other people because of how relational our nervous system is and how much we’re wired to need each other. But if we build relationships where we’re constantly betraying ourselves, no, ultimately that’s just not going to be healthy. It’s not going to feel good in the long run and it’s not going to be sustainable because resentments will build up and it comes out in the wash and other ways.

LINDSEY: Okay. Then my next question is for people pleasers, especially why do you think people pleasers choose their own discomfort over the discomfort of another person?

POPLAR: I think it depends on the individual person, but some of the reasons that I would say, and I would say I have a personality that can sometimes lean into people pleasing. But then often I’ll be like this isn’t working for me and then I’ll just leave. And then the other person will feel really frustrated, so I do both, like I leave and I, people please. But I’ve become less of a people pleaser over time for sure. I, I think some of it can be like attachment stuff from childhood, like where maybe they grew up, in a family system where it just felt like part of how they gained safety in the dynamics they were in was to do what other people want. I also think that, One of the things about people pleasing and, maybe this is like a hot take, a controversial opinion, but people pleasing can actually be quite manipulative in the sense that you are not being honest for one thing. And you’re trying to control the emotional outcome for the other person.

Like you you want that person to not be mad at you or whatever it is, whatever outcome you want. And instead of being honest, you’re withholding how you honestly feel. And you’re also, you’re not allowing the other person to have a genuine interaction with you. And so I think that, sometimes it can be that you just maybe don’t have the self-esteem or the practice and standing up for yourself. And, you, maybe you feel fear or you have stuff from your childhood that makes it hard, but sometimes you just don’t want to do the hard work of being honest, and you want to be angry at the other person without telling them the truth. And so I think, I think one of the things with people pleasing is like learning how to become comfortable with what you honestly feel. And also, one of the things I also noticed with people pleasing is that there can sometimes with the people pleasing tendency, be like I do all these things that I don’t really want to do. So you should also do these things that you don’t want to do to make me happy. Like there can be this expectation, this resentment that builds that that’s what friendship is. We do things we don’t really want to do for each other. It can start to get weird and in meshed and codependent and, strange. And it’s what does it look like if we actually give ourselves an opportunity to like, meet honestly where we’re at and to create within ourselves, like more capacity, not only for our own feelings, but for the feelings of others, right?

For me, like one of the big things with feeling my nervous system and my relationships has been like cultivating neutrality in the face of my own and other people’s emotions. I come to that sort of from like a Buddhist yoga meditation kind of perspective. But I also think it’s a nervous system thing too, because at a different time in my life, if I felt like I was disappointing someone, failing to please that person. My nervous system would fire off in one direction or another, right? Like I’d either kind of collapse or, feel really angry or whatever it was. And now it’s learning like, how do I feel, whatever I’m feeling about this and let the other person feel whatever they’re feeling and have spaciousness around it. Be the observer of your emotions. Like I’m angry. You’re frustrated at me for this I’m going to try to have some empathy for both of us, and I’m still going to choose to be in my integrity and walk the appropriate steps.

LINDSEY: Yeah. Okay. How then does a person, if they know that they don’t have the time, the energy, the money, the resources, whatever it is. And I know they need to say no, but yet there’s still that part of them, maybe big, maybe small that feels that saying no is selfish? And so they don’t know. And I would group myself into this. Like I still struggle with this. I want to say, no, I know. I need to say no, but then I’m more of a no person than I am a yes person, to be honest, I’m very protective of my time and energy. And so I get asked to do a lot of things that I say no to, and sometimes I perceive myself as. Are you being selfish? Like you’re not ever giving your time to this thing. You’re not ever giving your energy to this thing. And that’s probably my own just like childhood shit coming back up and, never feeling like I’m doing enough and all that kind of stuff. But I think, how do we, if we’re trying to regulate ourselves, how do we like find the balance between really being able to give of ourselves in a way that is a hell yes. That we can show up in our integrity and show up with excitement and investing our full selves, knowing that we can’t do that all the time. Cause time and energy and money and all that is limited, but also figuring out, where is it that I’m actually being selfish? Cause I think sometimes we actually are being selfish, but sometimes it’s I need to set a hard boundary with this. And even if I look selfish, I don’t care. This is the boundary that I need to set. Does that make sense? That’s what I’m saying. Yeah.

POPLAR: Yeah. There’s a few things that come up with that for me. First of all you had this list of reasons in the beginning. Like I don’t have time. I don’t have money. I don’t have energy. I think that they can also be as simple as I don’t want to. You might have the time, money, energy, all of the things, but desire is a part of capacity too. But I don’t personally subscribe to this idea that everything we do must come from desire and be pleasurable and whatever you can choose to do something like, for example, say you have a family member who’s very sick. And you feel like you want to be there to support that person. It might not actually be pleasurable. It might be really challenging and difficult, but it’s part of your integrity to show up and do that thing. My mom is really a lot like that. Like it’s part of her integrity to show up and take care of people, but she’s also had to learn to balance that with all the other parts of herself. And I think, with the hell, no hell yes, I think there’s parts of that, that I agree with. I think that it’s important, in any moment we’re given a range of choices and I think it’s good to give ourselves more permission to lean into what we actually want. And also it just feels a little too binary to me. I feel like it’s a spectrum, right? And we have a variety of different reasons why we choose to do something or not. And. I think that you’re right. That sometimes we are being selfish and sometimes that’s okay and sometimes it’s not. And I think it’s a question of like one of the things about boundaries, especially if we like detach it from certain value systems.

And by that, lot of people have boundaries that are tied around, maybe their political values or their religious values or whatever their value system is. When we detach our boundaries from our values, and we start to look at it in a more practical sense of what is my life going to look based on my answer to this. And I think one of the things that’s been really helpful for me, and this has been like a huge learning curve for me is to separate my initial reaction from what I ultimately choose, because. Your initial reaction to something like, say, someone says to you I want you to do this. Your initial reaction might be how low or I need to immediately people please, or whatever. If you give yourself a bit more time to sleep on it, journal on it, not think about it, eat a meal, go for a swim, whatever. Do other staff, some of the complexity will start to come through more. And I think then it’s easier to tune into that internal compass.

Like for me, like I’m like a witch and a fairly spiritual person. And so when I have, confusion about how I want to approach something, giving myself that time to let my ancestors come through, let my deeper knowing come through my deeper knowing is able to hold that complexity a lot faster than my like unconscious brain nervous system reaction to something. Because, my deeper knowing is like my connection to my lineage, my connection to land my connection to all the things that make me, whereas like my immediate nervous system response is like, it’s basically danger or safety, like it’s very simple, at least simplistic. And, I think one of the things that has really changed for me in my approach to boundaries is that I used to believe that more Instagram meme approach of, there’s certain principles that you can say in a sentence as a hot take in a meme that are broadly applicable.

And I believe that less and less now, as I get older, like I think it’s really context matters. The people that are involved in a situation matters. And I think moving away from there is a right or wrong answer, like there is like the next best step for you. And the web of relationships you belong to, and so I think it’s just allowing yourself to be in that complexity and to recognize that, all the decisions that we make in this arena, like it ripples out more broadly and particularly, if we have kids or we have other people, our friends, other people in our lives, looking to us doing these practices, it amazes me how much simple practices like this learning to say no learning to say yes, learning to tune into ourselves. Like it changes the people around us and it grants permission to the people around us to also make those decisions from a place of deeper integrity. And so it’s, yeah, it’s it’s an it’s incredibly complex and also I think, like I said, so much of the complexity is easier to grasp from that, that deeper, broader sense of self that can hold that complexity. And then I think sometimes those answers still can come through the book, buddy, like when I’m calm and have given myself the space and time to process something, it’s easier for me to know what the right thing is and to trust my gut. But I don’t tend to trust my guts. The first wave necessarily. I’m starting to get better at it now because my default is to be calm. But when I was, really triggered and a lot of this stuff was, immediate kind of sense of you didn’t answer right now. I think the immediate thing I thought I wanted, was not the right choice in the long run.

LINDSEY: Yeah, that’s a fantastic point. Thanks for pointing out that my motto is binary. I know. Yeah, no, I know it’s not a criticism. The thing that like immediately occurred to me, whenever you said that was like, you’re right. It is a binary thing. Like it’s either yes or no. That’s very black and white. There’s not a lot of nuance there. However, for me as someone who is pretty new to the boundaries scene, I think it’s one of those things where I have to practice like the hard no, and the hard yes first and get comfortable with that. And in that space first. And then I can start to be like giving it a little bit more space and a little bit more nuance. Does that make sense?

POPLAR: Absolutely. Like the program that I worked in schools with youth. Which was like a binary gender, like there was a boys program and a girls program. I tried to do a slightly more like queer version of that. But I think that one of the things we would talk about was these inner archetypes and one of the inner archetypes was the bitch and how, the bitch has representative of anger and we need that part of ourselves, especially in moments of no physical danger or whatever, but that. What can happen sometimes and it’s very common is when you start to set boundaries, we will rely on the bitch. The anger, the bitch is more likely to be black and white, more likely to be harsh. And it is like an advanced sort of boundaries skill to be able to set your boundaries in a way that include, neutrality and nuance like that. The cultivation of those things like takes time and, it’s like a kid learning how to walk. Like when kids learn how to walk like awkward at first straight, some of the steps they take are too broad, and, or it’s clunky. And to build grace, like muscle memory, like it takes time, and I think but I think, I guess a part of why I feel like those elements are also important is because it gives us a lot more room to play with how we relate to ourselves and other people. But it’s harder to do that in the beginning because when we have habits of people pleasing, it can be very confusing to know what’s motivating. Our reasons why we want to do something. Sometimes you have to take that time to claim your space and protect it with flaming arrows or whatever, to be able to like feel safe in having that space. And that’s okay. I just know for myself that I’ve gained a lot of freedom by not needing to do it that way as much.

LINDSEY: Yeah, so I got some questions from Instagram about boundaries. People were really excited about this episode that we’re doing, and you just talked about the bitch and the anger and that’s how you’re setting boundaries. So one of the questions that I got was how do you remain assertive in your boundary setting, but not come across as angry?

POPLAR: So I think there’s a few pieces to this. I really liked this question and it’s been a really big one for me because first of all, like I noticed in my work with boundaries that, there’s, there tends to be two archetypes of people. There’s people who are in more of a collapsed, the sort of don’t know how to set boundaries. They’re a little more meat and it’s like, how do I even say no at all? And then there’s the person. And there’s a lot of people I’ve noticed in this with boundary work and they often are it’s interesting because in a boundary space, the meat people often tend to feel more comfortable taking up space because they’re like, I think that, especially for women, there’s a feeling of asserting that you’re to meat is it’s comfortable and you’re pushing yourself to be seen and heard, but there’s another thread of people who the work that they want to do with boundaries is to fucking chill a little bit. Like you don’t be a little more gentle. And so I think that there’s both pieces and balancing both. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with anger. I think the anger is it sounds cheesy to say this, but I think it’s like a sacred, protective emotion. That’s very informing and it’s very necessary. And a lot of people, I would say, especially women, but I think it’s true for all people that we can sometimes fear our anger and assume it’s inherently violent and it can feel activating. And I think moving away from that is important while also creating boundaries for ourselves about how we express that anger. But, yeah. Like I think there’s two pieces to this question. Like one is recognizing that most of the time when you set a boundary, not most of the time, but in a lot of situations I’ve seen someone sets a boundary. They make a really conscious effort to be nice, to be polite, to whatever soften, how they do it, and the person that they set the boundary with just wants to dismiss the boundary.
And so they say you’re just angry. You’re just angry. And it’s inappropriate. How you’re talking to me, you’re being too harsh. You’re being rude, whatever it is. And so I think one of the first processes of discernment that we need to figure out what that is. Whether or not, we find that assessment to be true, is it true that I express this in an angry manner? Or is it just what this person is asserting? And it may or may not be true for that person? It could be just a criticism that they’re leveling at you to try to get you to rescind your boundary. It’s discernment within yourself to be like, And that’s one of the reasons why I actually like working with emotional neutrality, because if I know I’ve given myself the time to blow off the steam, put down the knife, chill out how I’m going to communicate something.

If someone comes back at me and says, you’re being a fucking bitch or whatever, getting really rude and angry at me. If I know I’m coming from a grounded place of neutrality, it’s a lot easier for me to say, I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree that I’m coming at you with anger. I have done my work to be more neutral this yeah. So there’s discernment about whether that claim is true. And then I think the other piece is, to recognize that we’re imperfect human beings, there isn’t a metric of right or wrong with how we do this. But also to recognize, that anger is like a knife or a hammer or a tool, where it’s like. You can stab someone to death with a knife, but you can also make a beautiful meal and serve your whole community. It’s like how you use that tool. And anger is not inherently a bad thing, but it does matter how we express it. And one of the things that’s been really helpful for me is to express my anger about a situation, not necessarily in the situation.

So Which has been again, a big learning curve for me. If I’m really angry, I will often whatever it is I decide to do go scream into a pillow, go for a run, listening to music, really loud, maybe go talk to a friend and get really angry and then return to the situation again from trying to have that place of neutrality. But I’ve also been in situations recently, like Clementine has a really good post about this. I don’t know if it’s about. I think it is about anger. It’s like her ground rules for expressing anger. And I think it’s no name calling, no throwing things, no yelling or something. It’s and everyone’s going to have their own ground rules about anger and what’s appropriate and what’s appropriate within your relationships too. For some people yelling is fine. Some people yelling is not fine. I think it’s, I think it’s really important to not stifle anger. But to also be really intentional with how it gets expressed. Because if we have this no anger rule, it’s gonna lead to resentment and it’s gonna lead to that anger coming out in other ways like passive aggressiveness, manipulative, controlling behaviors, whatever the case may be. But anger is not inherently bad. And especially around boundary setting, like noticing when you feel angry and being able to tap into that, like I said about, it’s like a sacred, protective energy, like when you feel angry like that, something rising in you to protect you. And it’s like anything it’s like learning the skill to use that power in a protective way instead of a destructive way. But even destruction is not necessarily bad all the time. It’s just, what’s appropriate to every situation. And that comes through discernment, figuring out where you, what your level is with every situation.

LINDSEY: Yeah. You have a lot more, you have a lot more nuance. I’m a very black and white thinker. It’s something I’m intentionally working on. But like my response to this question would have been. Other people’s perception of you is not your responsibility. That’s how I would’ve answered that question.

POPLAR: How I used to feel that is how I used to feel. But then what I recognized that the for a sense of context, like I live in a small town. I grew up in the city, but I’ve lived in small towns for the last seven or eight years. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is that in the city, if you’re rude to someone on the bus, like you’re never going to see that person again, it doesn’t really matter. But in a small town, if you snap at someone it’s highly likely that two or three weeks later that person’s going to be interviewing you for a job or something is going to sit down next to you at a fire or something. And so I think that There is a point at which, there’s some people in my life who have a view of me. And when I hear that view espoused on social media or whatever, I’m like, Oh, that hurts. I don’t want to be seen that way, but I’m also like you, your version of reality. And my version of reality are not the same. And I have to be grounded in my version. It’s not my responsibility to deal with how you think of me. Even when force is being forced and shame is being applied to me to try to, forced that way of thinking about myself on me. So in that sense, I could do agree with it that way, but I do think, there have been times in my life where I have expressed anger that I still feel is valid. It was valid, it was understandable. I was angry, but it damaged my relationship with another person in a way that Now looking back on it. I wish I had still been as clear, but not as harsh.

Yeah. And that’s been a big shift for me, a big growth curve. And again this is what I’m saying about moving away from. Cause, you know what you said fits really nicely on an Instagram text box. Very well in one of those boxes. And it’s so helpful in a certain moment when that’s what you need to hear, but it’s not applicable in every situation. There’s moments sometimes where, being a bitch feels awesome and you walk away and you never think about it again. And then there’s moments where it’s like, ultimately happened in the end and how that affected the relationship. Like it was like maybe a bit more grace is what would have been closer to what feels integral to me. I also, again, like coming from like a yoga sorta Brutus perspective, like making is important to me, like that’s like a value of mine is to just be at peace within myself and to try to apply that sense of peace to conflict with others without betraying myself. It’s not being like, I’m just going to do whatever, because that’s not peace. Isn’t like capitulating to what people want. It’s more about yeah, staying in my integrity, committing to kindness, even in moments of conflict. Which I’m not an expert at it’s like a practice for sure at times to learn this stuff, right?

LINDSEY: Yeah, for sure. And it never hurts in any interaction that we have with other human beings, whether we’re setting boundaries or not. It never hurts to just like inject compassion and kindness into whatever we’re doing. Like even setting boundaries, you can do compassionately and kindly. And if somebody doesn’t respect you, like your anger about that thing is okay.

POPLAR: Absolutely. I’d like, I also used to I was raised in like a pretty liberal home. I went to school for social justice. I’ve been an activist for all of my, like late teens and early twenties. I was very much in a social justice driven sort of world where, you know there’s this view that It’s okay. To be really harsh and cruel to people. As long as you’re like justified, like you’re justified in your righteousness, your political opinion. And I think that there are some moments where that’s true, there are some deep truths where you want to stand in the power of that. But I also think that That sort of harshness. I dunno for me, what I’ve noticed is that deeper truths don’t require force in the same way because they stand on their own, they have their own integrity, and like in the community that I live in there is like a very intense history around the residential. And, whenever we hear that history being talked about and indigenous people of this area I can explain that however they like, but what I have noticed is that most of those stories carry so much power that they aren’t expressed with anger, they hold their own truth. And people are angry about it. People have all kinds of different feelings about it. The building was taken apart brick by brick. They were given an opportunity to throw rocks at the windows and, destroy the building. And again, it’s like discernment. It’s like, where is the anger appropriate? Where is destruction appropriate? And where is it for me? It’s like, where is it? Like feeding integrity and feeding fees. And and also a spiritual person. I’m like, how does this impact my relationship with my ancestors with the land that I’m on? And like I said, like those deeper truths, they stand on their own. They stand like an old growth tree with her with a very big shadow, like you don’t have to, you don’t have to apply force to like, be in awe of a truth like that. And I think that we can get to those deeper truths with time and with discernment and patience and compassion for ourselves and the other person like holding paradox, holding complexity is a huge part of this recognizing people’s humanity. You can say I completely disagree with you, but I still recognize your humanity.

LINDSEY: Totally. Anything else you want to say about that before I ask you the next question?

POPLAR: I think one of the things that I would say is just also it’s a growth process and. If you do, for me, a lot of how I’ve learned this stuff is that I’ve tried a harsher approach and then I’ve seen what the impacts of it have been on my relationships and on my energetic body and, whatever, all these different things. And I just haven’t liked what the impact has been. So I’ve adjusted my approach as a result. So it takes time. And I would just say yeah if you were angry, And you said something and it wasn’t exactly how you wanted to say it. Like it’s important to give yourself that humanity and patience and forgiveness too. And also I’m not into shaming anger. Anger is like I said, sacred, protective emotion import. Like I don’t want to shame it. I just know for me a person where I have expressed a lot of anger in ways that I now feel are not appropriate to who I am now. I’m taking a bit of a different approach to it.

LINDSEY: Yeah. But that’s come with Like probably when you started off setting boundaries, there was probably anger in them. And that’s the approach that you needed to take at that time, or that’s what worked at that time. And then as you evolve as a human being, your approach changed because you injected more softness and we’re so harsh and but I don’t know that anybody. Comes into, especially if they’re new was setting boundaries. I don’t know that anybody comes into it just like automatically able to set boundaries, like in the kindest, most compassionate, peaceful ways possible. I think that’s, it’s like a thermostat, like the thermostat way up in the beginning. And eventually you learn to turn thermostat down and you find like your comfort level with boundaries, but you’d be starts out at that place.

POPLAR: Yeah. Yeah. And I think also, I have the privilege of I got to do a lot of primal screaming in the last 10 years of my life. Like I got to be in the woods where no one could hear me scream and yell a lot. And sometimes I yelled at a person and I, now I’m in a place of I don’t feel good about that. And I don’t feel good about what the result of that was. But I also know at the same time that like, I’m able to approach things from a more peaceful place because of that primal screaming, right? If you live in a city or you live in a house with roommates or whatever, and anger takes up a lot of room and a lot of space and it can be like a forest fire, like it can be just consuming and it will consume you from the inside out if you can’t express it. So I think I’m just very privileged that I live in an environment that has so much space and capacity to hold the complexity of how I feel, because I live in a rural place, surrounded by the ocean, like I can stand on the ocean in a storm and scream my fucking lungs out and maybe no one’s ever going to hear me, and that has allowed me to empty out some of that reactivity that used to dominate my life. Medication that makes me calmer, which is really helpful. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I also live in a rural area and I also appreciate the vastness of space and how nature is able to contain all of those things. And she’s totally fine with it. Like I love that.

LINDSEY: Okay. My next question is how do you set boundaries with shitty coworkers and managers?

POPLAR: Yeah. So I’ll give you an example within my own life. Like I have worked for-profit companies like, as a cook or whatever, different things, but for the most part, I’ve worked in sort of social justice, nonprofit government, that kind of thing. And there has always been a lot of pressure for me to do work for free. And at a certain point in my twenties, I decided like I’m not actually gonna work for free. Like then the community that I live in now, there’s like a high sort of social value placed on volunteerism, which I love. And I will sometimes show up for it. But like one of my biggest contributions to the community is a paid job as a youth worker. And I get paid half my normal salary to do this job, but the fact that I get paid to do it, helps me do the job. It helps me be consistent and show up. And people have had a huge amount of resentment towards me for that, just putting a lot of pressure on me. Things like don’t, you care about the cause like that should be more important than money. And it’s also have to like you’re, especially in situations where I’m not being paid, like a lot of these situations, I wasn’t being paid a living wage, so I was already being, had no benefits, And I had, I got into a lot of conflict with people around that. And, but I had to learn to stick to my guns on it, even through the point of having conflict with people, losing jobs, stuff like that, because that value was important to me really important to me. And I know myself and I know my capacity and my, especially my mental, emotional wellbeing. Like I can get drained really quickly doing something that doesn’t feel in alignment with what’s right for me.

So I think again, like my earlier self would have said, just fuck these people quit this job, go after your dreams. Don’t put up with shit. And I do still believe that to a certain extent. But I think that now, being in my thirties maturing a little bit more, I think there’s, again, more aspects at play in how you make a decision that regards discernment, right? You have many relationships in this workplace and it will be smoother for you and your career to maintain some of those relationships. If they’re maintainable, if these people, there’s just no way to work with them reasonably for you, what matters most is, that’s, what’s most important. But I’m also Canadian, so if I quit my job, I don’t lose my healthcare, I honestly, like I look at American sometimes and I’m just like, wow, you guys like through the pandemic, you were given like two, $600 payments. You have to pay for your healthcare out of pocket. I don’t know how you guys do that. I really don’t, it’s been real shitty. And for me, I have a lot more freedom to say, I’m going to step out of this work environment. I don’t want to be in Because it’s not going to be like, then I can’t go to the doctor. This hasn’t been true for my entire life, but for a lot of my life, if I quit a job because it was really messing with me, I had a support system in place. If my mom would cover my rent and my groceries for a month while I find a new job, not everybody has that. You have to do a risk assessment. And I think part of that risk assessment. You have to assess what will happen if I lose this job? Is it gonna put me at risk of losing my housing of not being able to feed myself, but then you also have to accurately assess the cost of staying in that job.

Because if you’re only looking at Oh fear, I’m going to lose my job. All these bad things are gonna happen. And you’re trying to minimize the impact on yourself. That impact on yourself is going to get louder and louder. You’re going to start to get sick. You’re going to start to have a hard time showing up for the job you won’t do as good of a job, all these things. And so I would say, try to get clear and in a workplace, especially, I think it’s important to try to be professional and try to be polite. A younger person, a younger version of me would have been like, fuck bosses, fuck capitalism. Who cares? I don’t care. Now. I’m like, no, I think professionalism being polite is important. I also think getting things written down is important. So saying things in an email, and because that way, if you had to go through some kind of legal dispute to say, get lost your lost wages, having things be written down is like extremely helpful evidence. And I would also say, like it depends on the person, but there’s always another job. There is, there’s a job that you can create for yourself. There’s, so it’s, I think it’s a question of if you really don’t like this job, can you try to look for another job so that you can make your transition smoother? Can you assemble a support team that can allow you to take the risk of leaving? And But the first piece would be, can you communicate what you need to communicate clearly politely, ideally in some kind of digital written down evidence-based way and see if you can try to fix it and allow people to surprise you, because especially people pleasers who are unaccustomed to being honest, can sometimes have this idea in their heads that like, this person is never going to give me what I want.

And you have to grant yourself the vulnerability to give that person the opportunity to respond to your desire. If they say no and it’s unworkable for you, then you start to explore your other options. But maybe if you just ask clearly and politely and calmly, they will do what you ask. And if that’s not the case, then. I think it is important to look for another job, because ultimately what you do for your work is a huge part of your identity and how you spend your energy. And, I think it’s important that whatever you’re building at your work serve you and not just your boss, like you also have to count in the equation. And again, it’s really context, specific thing. You need to know more about all the specific details and working pieces and that’s again, where that, sense of broader knowing cause I think for me what I’ve been like, should I put this job? Is this what I want to do? And I get really stuck in my head and I start spinning if I can quiet my mind and calm my nervous system and just allow myself to be present with all of the pieces, the answers come. You allow yourself to have that deeper knowing and the deeper knowing makes us what capable of taking risks, because there’s a trust that comes in trusting the unknown. And you can’t really figure that out by balancing a pros and cons list. Maybe some people can, I’m not that kind of person personally.

LINDSEY: That’s so good. That’s such a good take. I love it. The next question we got from Instagram is what happens if you set a boundary and they take something away from you? Again, we have no context with this question, so we can only guess, but broadly, what happens if you set a boundary and they take something away.

POPLAR: So I would say that this is exceedingly common. This happens all the time and again, like context so important so important. It’s funny cause what’s actually coming up for me. And again, maybe this is like a, whatever, a spicy tape, but that’s there, it actually is there, right? Short of situations that are objectively abusive, right? You say that you aren’t going to do something and then someone, threatens you in a way that you just really have no capacity to respond to because of the power differential. If that’s truly the case, that’s a different category. But, if I was to say, I don’t know, say I’m dating someone and I decide, I don’t want to continue that relationship for whatever the reasons may be. And then that person says to me, you’re not allowed to see my dog anymore. And maybe the whole relationship they’d said if we ever break up, we can still hang out with him and you can babysit him and whatever dada. It’s actually completely within that person’s rights to decide within their own body, their own autonomy, their own life to not continue to share with you, just that you have chosen to not continue to share with them, whatever it is anymore. And, there can also be situations where it’s like a retaliatory punishment. And it gets definitely complicated when you have things like assets, kids, different sort of things involved. But I think one of the things that’s really important is that when we set a boundary, especially like a really significant boundary, like ending a relationship, choosing not to live with somebody anymore, whatever it is to recognize that, there’s going to be a process of settling, it’s like playing chess, right?

Like you make your move, the other person makes their move and it all settles itself out. And often what can happen when it’s a more punishment sort of response? Is that person it can be a number of things that person doesn’t know how to grieve you. That person is trying to make a bid for connection by hurting you, that’s a really common one, right? It’s Oh, you’re stepping away from me. I’m going to hurt you. So you’re still emotionally invested in this. Which, that can be abusive, but it can also just be like a normal part of human interacting, right? Like humans are messy. We make mistakes, we hurt each other. We’re sloppy sometimes. And how we relate, we’re not monks, I’m sure even monks have interpersonal conflicts sometimes. I think that, one of the parts of it is to to prepare yourself, if you’re going to set a really significant boundary, you may want to prepare yourself for it.

And you can’t imagine every single possible outcome of what’s going to happen, to build that capacity within yourself to weather the storm of the decision, and and I think one of the most important skills with boundaries is that, as you build your own capacity to say no to things or to set boundaries to also simultaneously build your capacity for others to do the same. Like one of the things I’ve noticed in my relationship with my mom is that the more that I have learned to set boundaries with her and other people, the more she sets boundaries with me. And there’s been times where some of the boundaries, she said I’ve been like frustrated, but I’ve also been like, really proud of her because she’s getting comfortable enough to disappoint me and, it’s. None of this is clean, right? Like it’s all moving pieces. And I would actually say that, especially with big boundaries, like you should actually expect that you should expect that you will lose something. Even if it’s that you just lose that person’s trust, they could revoke their trust from you and they most likely will.

If they feel hurt or betrayed or abandoned or whatever in some way, and that might be true, but it also might just be their perspective and not true for you. So again, it’s very context specific. It’s a lot of moving pieces. And also that just brings us back to grief. It’s just grieving. You just, you grieve the loss and you move on. Unless it’s something that’s like fundamentally important for your survival in some way, is there some examples, like I broke up with my husband and now he won’t let me see my kids for not a valid reason. Those are bigger deal issues, which need to be addressed with a bigger team, more support and girding yourself to deal with that. But loss is inevitable. It’s an inevitable part of life and we have to be again, it’s like not being attached. Can we try to practice non attachment? Cause the more attached we are to something the more that other person’s bids for connection, which can be through anger and pain and hurt and violence, the more that’s going to work. And the more those energetic ties between us will be reinforced.

LINDSEY: Yeah, that’s really good. That’s, there’s a lot for me to think about there.

POPLAR: If you’re out and bothered by what the person takes away from you, that completely changes the game, the playing field.

LINDSEY: Yeah. In what way do you think, or what would it change for you? Sorry. I know that it does. I’m just wondering what that it changes.

POPLAR: And I will say that I’m not an expert at this I’m going through a divorce right now. And I really wish that my ex would take my dog out for walks so that she could see him. And he just won’t. And it bothers me. I’m like, why are you punishing my dog? She has she was, you raised her from when she was a puppy, and if he were to ever listen to this, like that’s me feeding him that’s me feeding energy into his reaction to me. If I was completely unbothered by that, it means that what his attempt to, drew, whatever he’s doing by holding that wall with me is boundary. If I was on bothered by it frees up space for me to do and be however, I want to be unaffected by it. But a lot of the times, like in our relationships even if we’re not talking to each other, like we’re still polarizing our relationship and that’s, that is feeding that energetic tether. There’s an energetic tether that runs from me to everyone. I have a relationship with. It forms this web around me and energy flows through that in various different ways. And one of the things that I think can be a really important boundary practice is like cutting ties with people. If you’re ready to be not so affected, I don’t know if this is true for my ex, but I can feel when he’s having strong feelings about something I’m doing, I can feel when he’s angry at me or whatever, even now, and so it’s Even if we’re not speaking, we’re still relating to each other energetically.

So it’s I’m not advocating for we all live on a mountain and to cut off all of our ties and we’re all just, aesthetic hermits that don’t talk to anyone. I don’t think that’s, I don’t actually think that’s freedom, but I do think that it’s important to quiet the voices of other people sometimes. So that we can hear our own voice enough to know what it is that we need. And once we’re really clear on that, we can invite in feedback from others in a more steady, stable way. And that’s what that is. The person taking something away from you is it’s just feedback, it’s feedback about how they feel about the choices you’ve made and the more reactive and effective that you are by that feedback, the harder I think it is for you to stay in your own integrity. And it doesn’t mean like you shouldn’t have a reaction, like you have the reaction that you have, but it’s can you cultivate enough space in yourself for that reaction to not dominate your sense of reality? It might completely flood you initially, but can you breathe? For me there’s a process of I like standing by the ocean because the ocean like goes from stormy to Placid to whatever, the tide is in and the tide is out, it’s constantly changing, but it’s still the same entity. And it holds all of that complexity within itself. And we have that as well within ourselves. So it’s yeah, I had this big reaction. I had a storm moment. What happens when I can return to all the other States of being that are also inherent to who I am, that storm becomes, one piece, not the finding reality of who I am as a person. Or what I should do with my energy and my actions.

LINDSEY: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for that. That was a really thoughtful answer. I appreciate it. I saved the, I think it’s the hardest question I saved it for last. What should I do if I set boundaries with my in-laws and it affects my marriage?

POPLAR: So what I would say is that it will affect your marriage. Like it’s, again, context matters, I can’t imagine a situation where you set boundaries with your in-laws and it doesn’t affect your marriage. The energetic tie between parents and children is like a very strong one. Even people who are estranged from their families, like we just, we have a genetic biological drive to be connected and affected by those beings that brought us into life. So those are really intense, strong emotions and relationships. Again, I think that, neutrality is is particularly important for relationships where our actions will affect us into the future. Like I said, with the job thing, I used to be more like, whatever who cares about bosses. I don’t care about capitalism now. I’m like, actually, no, like that affects my professional life. It affects my prospects of being able to move forward into my next job. And so thinking about the ripple effects, it would really depend completely on context and the situation like, Is there manipulation.

Is there unfairness like from either side some, so many factors that play into this, but what I would say is that it’s good to tread lightly in these dynamics. Okay. Not so much saying don’t assert yourself. That’s not what I’m saying at all, I’ve watched within my own family and the families of people that I care about conflicts like this. It’d be like when the last year I saw some close friends of mine go through a conflict where one person in the marriage is people who were, his kids really had a problem with his wife and it caused so much pain for them. I don’t know what the other people, I don’t know what their perspective of it was because I never spoke to them. I don’t have a relationship. But the reason I would say tread lightly is because, you can’t take it back, but that also counts for don’t hear me saying, Oh, you can’t take it back. Therefore, you shouldn’t assert yourself. You also can’t take back constantly betraying yourself.

If you betray yourself for years and years at a time and set up a precedent that’s who you are, and it’s acceptable to treat you that way. It’s very hard to walk yourself back out of that pattern. It can be done, but it takes, probably equally as much, if not more time as how long you established the pattern of allowing yourself to be walked all over. I would say, another piece that’s important is to try to find allyship in the dynamic. So Is it possible to have allyship from, your partner? If I was to have, be wanting to set a boundary with my partner’s family can I make it? So my partner has my back on that, is that possible? Is it possible that one person in the partnership that you’re trying to set the boundary with one of them is maybe more amenable to you? What is like one of the things I think about like living in a place that’s so covered in water is if you watch water, water can carve its way through rock. It can do a lot with its movement. And it’s inevitably going to go the easiest place it can go to, water’s not going to struggle to go up. It’s going to always go down or over or whatever is the easiest route. If you think about your energy in relationship, do you want to hammer your way through something? Sometimes that’s necessary. That’s where discernment matters, right? I think, ideally if you can assess for yourself what your needs are, assess for yourself, what’s your responsibility versus someone else’s that’s actually something we haven’t really talked about that much in this conversation, which is that, especially like where I have seen this as in social justice spaces, but there’s other spaces too, where there’s this idea that like you can put force and pressure on someone to get them to do what you want.

And I actually think that generally there’s some exceptions to this, but generally that’s a few tile, not good process, big learning curve for me, because I have done that to people and it doesn’t work well, if it’s a situation like, you know where with your in-laws, it might be possible for you to set a boundary with them without them even really noticing maybe it’s that you don’t really want to spend too much time with them. But you are willing to maintain the relationship, but it’s important to you. So maybe what it is that you set a time limit for yourself around how long you’re around them. And you leave when you’re done, you don’t have to, they don’t have to be involved in that boundary necessarily. It’s about you. If you make someone else’s actions contingent on your boundary being respected, it takes away all of your power. Like trying to shape a boundary that ideally is about your actions, your behaviors that will give you more control over your life. But again, like it’s complicated and we have to wait, we have to weigh the consequences whenever we’re looking at something like this, and I used to feel a bit more like what matters most is how I feel and what I need and fuck everybody else. Now it’s no, actually other people’s feelings also matter, but no one else has to live in the consequences of something not working for me.

I’m the only one who has to really live in that consequence unless I’m heavily externalizing it. So again, like it’s not a straightforward answer. Like I would, it would be easier for me to give more specific advice if I had more. The best way for me to be able to give advice is to actually see all of these people in a room together to be able to feel their energies and get a sense of what’s going on for them. Without that, it’s really hard for me to comment on what is the best route forward. But I would say that, it’s just a question of Ultimately boundaries is really about sensing within yourself, your edges, your integrity, who you are as a person and the life that you want to be feeding with your actions and your energy. And if you can set a boundary and like a kind neutral, even sometimes quiet way that really just feeds your integrity. That’s great. If it has to be loud, destructive Really clear and really harsh. That’s also fine, especially when it’s like the appropriate thing to do. And you have the capacity to deal with the consequences of that. And sometimes the consequences are severe loss of relationships, loss of money or assets, loss of press loss of quality of life, whatever the case may be. And again, that’s about being comfortable with the unknown. Like some of the moments in my life where everything has been so horrible, like so bad, I wanted to die. It was like, this is the worst, led to things coming together in a better way afterwards. And for the most part, we’re walking through all of this without all the information. And again, that’s where the deeper, broader knowing is important because it’s easier to connect to some of those broader pieces of personally believe that like we can feel through time, we can feel through space.
We can feel through our lineages. We can feel through nature. We can feel through the entire universe when we’re in tune with that broader sense of what’s true. That deeper, fuller, more paradoxical sense of what’s true. And, so that’s where I think it’s important to not be too limited. Like we’re humans on earth in a universe that is so much bigger than our minds can even perceive. And when we get really hyper-focused on certain things, and start to control and force and whatever, we can lose that sense of broader perspective. So again, I think it’s just breathing. Sleeping dreaming, eating, nourishing, taking care of ourselves, moving through it, trying to hold everybody with compassion and patience and recognizing that there are certain steps in these processes that we can’t easily or ever take back. So trying to work with a sense of care that is not grounded in diminishing ourselves, like care has to come for ourselves and everyone involved. But our first priority has to be caring for ourselves because no one else has that job, but us.

LINDSEY: Okay. So I actually had to cut Poplar off right there, mostly because I felt like the last thing they said was just the perfect way to end up episode. And then also, because I had people show up to my house and we were still recording longer than I expected we would be. You can catch the rest of our interview in episode 24, that’s going to be published next week. Make sure you’re following Poplar on Instagram at Poplar Rose. You can find show notes lindseylockett.com forward slash podcast. This is episode 23. And of course you can follow me on Instagram at I am Lindsey Lockett.

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