Sometimes, we want something to work so badly we end up overextending ourselves almost to the point of breaking. Some people call it bending over backward for someone. You’ve been there, right? At the time, the situation seems to demand that you keep giving just to maintain a semblance of peace.
Tag: Setting Boundaries
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.” ~ Brené Brown
”If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done!” Have you ever felt like that? It seems like most of the work falls on your shoulders when you have family gatherings. Relationships where you’re the one who does all the giving, while others do all the taking, are exhausting. How can you break this cycle? The answer lies in understanding the importance, and power, of setting personal boundaries.
You deserve to be treated with value and respect. You may not feel that you do because of how others have treated you throughout your life. You don’t deserve to be mistreated. Yet there are some questions to consider: Do we, in any way, bear some responsibility? Is it possible to improve difficult relationships? Can you really teach people how to treat you better?
Teaching people to treat you better doesn’t mean you’re demanding they cater to your every whim and never disagree with you. All healthy relationships need a balance of give and take.
Do you think of self-care as relaxing in a flower-strewn bath, letting stress melt away? That is certainly one small aspect of it. But the best self-care skills take a lot of commitment, hard work and grit. It’s not glamorous. It’s not pampering. It’s getting tough with yourself as you make choices that nourish your body, mind and spirit.
Some people say that self-care is selfish…that nurturers can’t take the time. However, I’ve found that too often this is an excuse. As leaders in our industries, community and families, we need to create within ourselves the strength to lead. This takes strong self-care skills that are based on discipline. Otherwise, we can’t influence others – our business associates, our romantic partners, our children – to become the best versions of themselves.
Self-care is not indulgence. It’s discipline to do what’s best for YOU and others. Can you really say you’re taking care of yourself if you’re sitting for hours, eating tubs of ice cream? NOT! Real self-care skills require mental toughness and a deep understanding of what really matters.
Five essential self-care skills everybody needs:
Get plenty of restorative sleep. This means mindfully choosing to quit working or looking at a screen an hour before bedtime, allowing your mind to shut down and peacefully drift off to sleep.
The problem: After a stressful day, it’s easy to mindlessly watch TV or your Facebook feed. Or if you have a deadline, you push to get it done.
The solution: Put the remote in a hard to reach place so you have to think about what you’re doing. Create a special space and time for a relaxing project (like talking with a love one or doing something creative). This should quiet your mind so you can fall asleep quickly. Don’t allow anything to break this appointment with yourself. You’ll accomplish more in the long run.
Exercise regularly. Our bodies are designed to move and work. If you don’t, you’ll hurt and become more anxious and stressed.
The problem: People hate discomfort (not the same as pain), exercising in front of others, going to a gym, getting sweaty, etc… What’s you’re current “reason” for not exercising?
The solution: Find something you love. Mindfully focus on the increased energy, mental clarity, stamina and endurance you achieve each time you push yourself.
Eat healthful foods and stay hydrated. Throughout history, nations have used starvation as a way to torture and control others. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you willingly deny your body the fuel it needs?
Become more aware of how different foods affect YOUR body. For example, you may not be able to eat wheat like other people do. While your taste buds say, “Yum!”, your body cries, “Why are you poisoning me?!”
The problem: People hate to “go to the bother” of fixing healthful meals. They’d rather grab something and run.
The solution: Make healthy eating your passion. The Whole30® program changed my life. Find something that works for you. Take a class. Find a recipe buddy. Make sharing meals with friends and family a regular, pleasant activity you look forward to.
Create boundaries. We “take care of others” in the sense that we support them and respect them. In our families, this means providing food, clothing, shelter, open communication and love. But each person is responsible for their own well-being. If an option isn’t right for you, have the mental strength to say “no” despite how others react.
The problem: We have the tendency to either be controlling or be people pleasers.
Be financially independent. We all have needs. Having MORE doesn’t guarantee more happiness. It’s a trap to compare what you have with what other people have or with what you see in magazines. Gratitude for what you have will help you see the difference between needs and wants.
The problem: Living with credit card debt or paycheck to paycheck is stressful.
The solution: Live within your means. That includes having the discipline to save a certain amount out of every paycheck for an emergency fund and a certain amount for your retirement. Pay off your credit card debts so interest rates don’t eat up your funds.
It takes discipline to always do the things that are good for you. Why not reboot your self-care skills by joining us at our Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. You’ll return home with renewed purpose and energy!
Do people often irritate and annoy you because they keep calling when you don’t want them to? When you see someone coming, do you want to run and hide? Do they interrupt your work-time with requests without regard for how it disrupts your concentration? Do you feel like family is using you or taking advantage of you all the time? Does it drive you crazy that your partner helps himself to your things, without asking? All of these situations indicate that you have clear boundaries in your head, but you’re missing some vital steps to setting boundaries in relationships in your life.
Avoiding conflict, the primary reason most people put off these conversations, is never a good basis for any relationship. I know it can feel risky to speak your truth and let whatever happens happen. Letting go and not controlling the outcome can be terrifying. Our minds automatically go to how much we can lose. In fact, our minds can amplify the negatives by thinking in terms of absolutes or all or nothing declarations – “If I tell him that, he’s going to think I’m too picky and won’t love me any more” or “If we disagree, it will lead to a fight and I’ll lose my friend/job.”
An unwillingness to “put skin in the game” cripples a relationship before it can begin. If a relationship is worth having, it’s worth giving your whole self to it.
It won’t work if you passive aggressively ignore a situation and hope it will fix itself. And you can’t rely on people “taking a hint”. People are not mind readers. If something is bothering you, and you just “grin and bear it” they’re going to assume everything’s okay. And that may lead to resentment, which can eat away at you until you explode. The other person stands there stunned, wondering “where did that come from?”! I like what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about this,
“If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.”
It is necessary to do more than setting personal boundaries in your head; it requires you clearly and respectfully communicate them to others, whether that’s a coworker, a friend, or a casual acquaintance.
However, in between setting boundaries and communicating them to others are a number of important internal steps to take before you have the emotional clarity, mental strength, and centeredness that is required to remove the agitation so you come from a place of inner peace.
Understand why it’s important for you to set a certain boundary. Being wishy washy or sending mixed signals will only frustrate you and the people around you. This means creating harmony between all of your Parts first. For example, Part of you may want to be respected, but another Part of you doesn’t think you deserve it. My Tea-Time Exercise is a great way to resolve these internal conflicts.
Remember, it’s not always about you. Successful communication takes time to really think about the person you want to clarify boundaries with: their personality, their background, your type of relationship, etc. This will guide in you in your approach.
When you’re setting boundaries, keep the mindset of improving your relationship, moving past the hard times and coming out stronger.
You may meet some resistance. Change is seldom easy for anyone. Patiently and kindly maintain your boundary and avoid taking the attitude that’s “it’s my way or the highway.” Remind them of why you need things to be different. When someone cares about you, they want to know how they’re hurting you, so they can make you feel good. Maintaining a boundary means not only sticking to what you say you’ll do, but also holding the other person accountable.
Learning Neuro Linguistic Programming is an excellent way to improve all the skills needed for setting boundaries in relationships. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s explore your options!