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Cultivating Resilience Practice 4: Healthy Boundaries

Red and white "Do Not Enter" Sign posted on a road

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience. 

~Jaeda Dewalt

This quote strikes me each time I read it with the depth of its meaning. To cultivate our resilience takes us to a place of beauty, connection, and a deeper human experience. Thanks for joining me in this journey of cultivating our resilience. I think of it as a muscle that we are called upon to strengthen throughout our lives. Certainly, now in this time of added collective challenges and losses we are experiencing the call to cultivate our resilience.  

Let’s review our cultivating resilience practices thus far.

And now, we are on to Practice Four: Setting Healthy Boundaries

Surround yourself with people who are supportive to you in your journey.

There is a universal need:  to feel I am of worth, my feelings matter and someone really cares about me. When we feel understood, validated, and cared for it fuels our ability to be resilient.  

What is a boundary? It is the limits we set with others and for ourselves of what is okay and not okay for us. Unhealthy boundaries involve a disregard for your own and others’ values, wants, needs, and limits. Setting boundaries can be challenging at times. This quote by Brene Brown reminds me of the kindness of clear boundaries both for ourselves and others.    

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment “ 

~Brene Brown

Healthy Boundaries are important anytime. When we are experiencing challenging times they are essential.  Boundaries are about giving and receiving. When you need help, it’s also okay to ask for it. When you have support and ask for it, it’s a proactive and prosocial behavior. And, as you are able to you are also able to offer help as you can.  

A few questions to reflect upon as you look at your boundaries.  

What do you want to say yes to? What boundaries do you need to put in place to put these yes’ into place? Is there something you need to say no to in order to create space for the yes? These are some questions to reflect upon as we look at boundaries.  

This is a helpful guide on boundaries from Dr. Dana Gionta:

10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries

  1. Name your limits. You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand.
  2. Tune into your feelings.
  3. Be Direct.
  4. Give yourself permission.
  5. Practice self-awareness. Boundaries are about honing into your feelings and honoring them.
  6. Consider your past and present.
  7. Make self-care a priority.
  8. Seek support.
  9. Be assertive. 
  10. Start small.

Another list that I find to be very helpful in giving ourselves permission to establish the boundaries we need is the Assertive Rights list. 

Assertive Rights:

  • I have the right to be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect at all times.
  • I have the right to make my own decisions about the course of my life.
  • I have the right to have dreams — and to work toward making these dreams come true.
  • I have the right to feel good about myself as a person and as a woman.
  • I have the right to choose who will be my friends, whom I will spend time with, and whom I will confide in.
  • I have the right to make mistakes.
  • I have the right to change my mind.  
  • I have the right to be happy.
  • I have the right to ask for what I want.
  • I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
  • I have the right to express all of my feelings, both positive and negative.
  • I have the right to say no.
  • I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  • I have the right not to be responsible for other’s behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  • I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  • I have the right to be in a nonabrasive environment.
  • I have the right to change and grow.
  • I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  • I have the right to be uniquely myself.

Taken from A Women’s Workbook: Mary Ellen Copeland, M.A., M.S & Maxine Harris, PhD

Perhaps you are wondering. Yes, these are good but how do boundaries help us in our cultivation of resilience? They are so important! If we have not created the space to honor ourselves – our emotions – our boundaries with kindness and compassion… it is hard to become transformed from our challenges. We are continued to be stretched.

There is much we cannot control. Identifying our boundaries and what we need to put in place for healthy relationships and healthy boundaries is in our control each day. It’s not easy. It is courageous and can take a lot of work. It is worth it. It is resilient.    

I would love to hear your comments about this important topic.

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Red and white “Do Not Enter” sign posted on a roadside.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 

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June Men In Motion | Robert Kingett

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Editor’s Note:

Robert Kingett, he’s Bold Blind and full of Pride. From the moment he was born, he was destined to be an overcomer and a person unafraid to be exactly who he is. In celebration of Pride Month, Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to introduce you to Journalist and Author of Off the Grid: Living Blind Without the Internet, Robert Kingett.

Born A Miracle

I’ve always been somewhat of a miracle baby, or person, I guess you could say now. I fully embrace it, though, and yes, even the inspirational label that gets placed on me sometimes. I embrace it all because I just simply don’t have time to quibble over a slightly incorrect label.

My miracle journey started in 1989 where I was a premature baby. It’s so wild, because my birth certificate says six ounces. I was born in September. I have no idea when I was actually supposed to be born, but I came out defying all odds from the beginning.

I was born with Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), as well as cerebral palsy. I wasn’t supposed to walk. I wasn’t supposed to talk either. My mobility was supposed to be very limited throughout my whole life. And, to a certain extent, that’s true now that I’m older, but back then, I did walk, and I did talk. I overcame so much at such a young age. I still had communication issues though. I stammered badly as a kid and still do. Which, ironically, is why I enjoy and embrace writing so feverishly.

On His Terms

I was born in New York but grew up in Saint Augustine FL. I attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and that’s how my path to adaptive technology and accessibility consulting came to be, but more on that later. I’m probably one of the very few kids that actively refused mainstream school. I rejected it firmly. I hated the thought of attending a mainstream school. I knew I was getting the adaptive technology and mobility training that would help me later on in life. I didn’t want to waste my time advocating for everything under the sun. I knew that advocacy would come later, certainly, in college, so I wanted my high school to be as painless and as inclusive to my visual impairment as humanly possible and I just didn’t see that in a mainstream school.

I knew that society saw me as another worldly being that wasn’t worth nurturing as a disabled person, so I perceived mainstream school to just be an academic hassle. It probably would have done wonders for my social life, but I didn’t care about having an active social life when I was younger. I also didn’t want to be around sighted people unless it was on my own terms because, I believed, that my academics would suffer because I’d be trying to develop social justifications. I thought my energy would be wiped because I’d have to constantly demonstrate to sighted people that I’m worthy of existing and taken seriously. At a blind school, disabilities didn’t factor into my acceptance. 

Another reason why a big part of that unwillingness to fight for a mainstream education was so strong is because I was getting a very accessible education. I also was just trying to get through the day, and to my eventual long-term goal of becoming influential. Even if it was silent influence, I wanted to actively chip away at the social barriers disabled people face on a daily basis.

From Scrapper To Success

My home life wasn’t that great. I was abused, both physically, mentally, emotionally, and otherwise. My mother, who was a single parent, didn’t know how to deal with her own daemons so she took them out on me. She was a heavy drinker and, yes, there would be beatings. I often went hungry, so I absolutely empathize with someone when they tell people they don’t know what real hunger feels like. People will never fully grasp it, I realized, so I just had to survive. Get out. Become as successful as I could possibly be and hope I make a small difference in the world, even if it’s educating someone about blindness or starts a chain reaction that makes things more accessible for many in my generation and beyond.

I developed a strong sense of advocacy in my teen years. I’ve never been good at giving a punchy media bite that goes viral or gets people talking. I knew I’d never be in the spotlight however, I knew my strength was in planning and strategic implementations. Oh, and trickle-down advocacy—chain reaction advocacy, as I call it.

I’m very career-driven, and very focused, which is probably why I’m still single. I’m very proudly gay and or queer. I use those words interchangeably to describe my sexuality. I’m definitely not bisexual though, I’m very much gay. But, often, the men I’m attracted to are sighted and have no idea how to keep up with my career drive. That’s something that will, eventually, slow down I’m sure as I get even older, but for now, I’m very focused. I find the idea of romance and love is just something that I will find when it finds me, and grabs hold of me. That’s ironic because I’m an extremely romantic person. I’m very empathetic but extremely strong, personality-wise. I guess you could say I’m a mashup of imperfections that changes people’s lives in small ways.

The Path To Journalism

My advocacy started when I created the first-ever newspaper for the blind at FSDB. That proved to me that I could give people chances and opportunities if I just kept being persistent. As a result, well, I’m very politically active now. Very progressive. Very forward-thinking. And yes, I’m a proud feminist and trans ally. I knew I had the power to change lives through journalism and fiction, so I began writing. Fiction, advocacy journeys, telling people’s stories. I find that very few people have media literacy skills today. I mean, even in my generation and younger. I read, constantly. I even read mainstream news everybody likes to rag on so much, but again, very few people just simply don’t know how the media works in general, which is why I don’t get into small fights online about mainstream media and agendas and biases and otherwise. It’s all trite ignorance and a complete waste of my time. Besides, I have a socialist revolution to start. Just kidding. Or am I?

My writing eventually created the Accessible Netflix Project, which actually got Netflix to provide audio description platform-wide wherever possible. This was a huge accomplishment, but my work isn’t over with. My real love is books. Especially diverse books, and audiobooks, and the publishing industry. I’m working to eventually make it so that seeing blindness in fiction is common while continuing to be a very strong ally to my fellow minorities.

Unicorns, Cookies & Education

I always find it really weird when someone asks me what my hobbies are. My hobbies are extremely plain and ordinary. Like, who doesn’t like listening to music and watching TV shows with audio description? I know a few people who don’t like reading, but I just imagine them as very confused unicorns and continue loving books and literature. I read, certainly. I watch very dark comedy. I listen to boy bands. I steal rainbow tinged cookies from unsuspecting glittering cats in my spare time. I’m so done with being normal. It’s overrated. 

Ironically speaking, my career path has never been regular, either. I dropped out of college, published a book, wrote for free, did accessibility consulting, became more progressive, posted accessibility rants onto the web, and, finally, became an expert witness for a law firm here in Chicago. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell all the responsible readers to stay in school, even if I loath private colleges with every fiber of my peculiar soul. Seriously. I think education is the most important facet in someone’s life. Encourage reading. Encourage creativity, because that’s what truly makes the world go round.

Image Description:

Featured image is the Beyond Sight Magazine cover. Robert’s photo is on the cover, he is wearing a black tee-shirt with the word “PR💛UD” in rainbow colors. The masthead is teal with “Beyond Sight Magazine” in black text. The dot on the ‘i’ in ‘sight’ is the eye used for our 2020 Year of Vision Campaign (described HERE). There are 2 lines of black text that say “Bold blind and full of” the third line ‘PRIDE’ is in rainbow colors. In the bottom left corner is a teal circle with an illustration of a blind man in motion with his white cane and “Men In Motion” is in yellow text under the circle.

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CoVid-19 TOTD #3

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Here at Bold Blind Beauty, our goal is for you to enjoy life, and be well while doing it. During CoVid-19 we want to assist you with that, so here is our CoVid-19 Tip Of The Day. 

CoVid-19 Tip Of The Day #3

By Cheryl Minnette

By now you may have heard that the coronavirus also known as CoVid-19, is able to survive longer in a colder climate. With the warm weather closing in, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Although we are still learning about this new strain of coronavirus, this is what studies have found so far:

CoVid-19 is able to live for up to 28 days
in a refrigerated environment.

What does this mean for us as we buy our groceries and bring them home, placing them in our refrigerators? That is a great question, so here is the answer.

All grocery items brought into the home
should be externally sanitized,
prior to storing.
Especially items to be refrigerated.

This can easily be accomplished by using a virus disinfecting cloth, such as Clorox disinfecting wipes. Wiping down the exterior of all packaging will assist in ensuring that the virus is removed. When using, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions. 

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. If this information is helpful to you, please let us know in a comment below.

Image Description:

Scrabble cubes spelling out the word “Precaution” on a black background.

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Cultivating Resilience Practice 3: Strengths

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Editor’s Note: Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Practice Three:  Utilizing YOUR Strengths in your resilience.  Being authentically you.  

Checking in as we share practice three of cultivating your resilience. I hope you are giving yourself permission to feel (practice one.) Then, practice two to offer ourselves self-compassion and nurturing through our challenges. We could spend so much time sharing further about these two practices. However, for the sake of space, we will go on. (If you want, join me for our course — to learn more!  Details below.)   

We will introduce our third practice today. This practice is about being authentic to you and your strengths. It is about utilizing the strengths that YOU possess in your resilient plan. We all have strengths that can help us navigate the challenging times. Strength focus affirms our potential and it resonates with our authentic self. Sometimes when we are in the midst of that difficult time we may not recognize these strengths. They are there and unique to us. Take a pause and reflect on your Character Strengths. 

The 24 character strengths are: 

Appreciation of Beauty, Spirituality, Gratitude, Hope, Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, Self-regulation, Citizenship, Fairness, Leadership, Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence, Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality, Creativity, Curiosity, Open-mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective, and Humor. 

You may recognize your top strengths from this list and how they have helped you in a time of challenge. There is an excellent, free test: the VIA Character Strengths to understand what your strengths are:  www.viacharacter.org. After taking this test, your Signature Strengths (your top five) will be identified. Dr. Ryan Niemiec explains in his book: The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief, “Character strengths are the positive parts of your personality that define who you are and help you reach positive outcomes. They make up what is best in you — when you are at your best, your character strengths are right there helping you along the way. When you are suffering – overcome by stress, facing difficult emotions, or lost in an argument – your character strengths can be unleashed.”  

So, let’s take a short break while you go take the free character strength test: www.viacharacter.org (The website has amazing resources and information at a later time you can peruse if you like.) 

Welcome back :)! 

Now, to explain further. Your top five strengths are your signature strengths. These are the strengths that are the most energizing and easiest for you to use. They are the ones we can rely on to help us cultivate our resilience. Dr. Niemiec indicates these are most likely to involve the three E’s  Essential, Energizing, and Effortless.   

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is
not enough, we must do.” 

~Goethe

We can know our strengths, we can understand our strengths and then the real benefits come when we put our strengths to use and utilize them in our resilience plan.  

So, this week choose one of our signature strengths and use it in a new novel way, no matter how small each day.  

Some examples may be – someone shared that one of their Signature Strengths is the appreciation of beauty. So, working from home at this time, she created her workspace as a place of beauty. This increased her resilience at this time and was effortless, energizing, and essential for her. Another example may be if someone’s top strength is the love of learning. This again will fuel them during a challenging time to increase their learning. A client chose to take an online course during this time of increased time of isolation to connect with others and also give himself an opportunity to use that strength of learning. Another client used her top strengths as affirmations for her. “I am grateful. I am a leader. I am kind. I am love. I am fair.” Our signature strengths resonate with us and are grounding even in challenging times.  

There is so much we can do with our strengths. They are within us. They are our guiding force to utilize in challenging times. Remember they are what is energizing, essential, and effortless for us.  

  • Strength spotting. Take a moment to pause and think of your strengths and spot them in you. Notice how you are using them and acknowledge specifically in journaling or sharing with someone you trust. 
  • Strength priming. In preparing for a challenging time – reflect on one of your strengths you can bring into that moment. For example, preparing for that presentation. If gratitude is one of your top strengths, you may find it helpful to prime with the character strength of gratitude and acknowledge to yourself for a moment the sense of gratitude for being there able to deliver this presentation.  
  • Tend to the end. Each evening take note of what went well in the day. Be specific as you reflect on the good things that came about in the day. Then, ask yourself what part you played in that good thing happening and what strength you utilized in this process.  
  • A meditation to help. Pause. Take in a deep breath. I am (fill in with a signature strength). Breathe out visualizing how this character strength will help you in this day.

Cultivate Your Resilience Telehealth Course Info:

Cultivate your resilience, telehealth course, 6 sessions – every other week, beginning Tuesday, June 9th at 6 PM MST, $25 for full course; Group facilitated by Becky Andrews, LCMHC.  Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to join us. Group limited to 10.  

Summary

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. Leave us a comment with your strengths and how you utilized them this week.  

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Multicolored, multi-fonts, word cloud image from http://www.viacharacter.org consists of all the character strengths identified in this post.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab.