“Yes, I can pick up your kids for you.”
“No problem. I can swing by your house to drop that off.”
“Yeah, I’m not feeling so well, but I can probably still do it.”
“Sure, I can feed everyone.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll finish that work project this weekend.”
To me it sounds like you’ve forgotten your boundaries.
Or maybe, like most of us, you didn’t learn healthy boundaries to begin with.
Healthy boundaries? you say. What’s that?
Healthy boundaries are limits we can establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They can be physical, emotional and mental. But mostly I think of them as energetic.
As in, “Do I have an overflow of energy to help you such that I won’t be hurting myself in the process?”
Most of us don’t practice the self-awareness necessary to have healthy boundaries. That's because we can't take the time to discover why we're running around crazy on behalf of everyone else in the first place.
So why am I running around, exhausted, for everyone else? you ask.
Maybe it’s because you don’t want to hear the whispers behind you, people saying, “Who does she think she is?!”
Maybe it’s because you don’t like disappointing people.
Maybe it’s because you want desperately to be liked and to belong, and you believe doing things that martyr you will gain you some attention, some notoriety.
But can I tell you something?
That martyr — the one in the movie — she dies.
Uh, you tell me, I don’t want to die alone. But what about all of those other things? How do I handle those?
Think about the side-effects of having no boundaries.
How’s that guilt coming for you? Resentment in your life much? How angry are you these days? Overwhelmed at all?
These experiences come at the hands of boundaries that are too permeable or that don’t exist at all.
People walk all over you.
They say, JUMP! and you say, How high?!
No one wants to live her days filled with guilt, resentment, and anger.
But you DO want to feel spacious, clear, and happy.
You do want to feel that way, right?
If you want to be happy, if you want to be full of energy and purpose, here’s four steps you can take to become a Boundaries Bitch or Boundaries Bastard.
STEP 1: LOVE
Healthy boundaries are all about loving yourself and believing you are enough just as you are. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE ENOUGH. You don’t have to prove yourself to be worthy of love and belonging. You don’t have to bend over backwards to be accepted. Love yourself, and give yourself permission to say no.
STEP 2: PRIORITIES
Before you can set healthy boundaries, you have to know what your priorities are. Once you know what your priorities are, you will know where you want to devote your time and energy first. If there’s anything left over, THEN you can offer that out and do so with integrity.
STEP 3: GO-TO PHRASE
When someone asks you to overstep your boundaries, it’s nice to have a rehearsed phrase at the ready. A simple “Let me get back to you on that” or a “Let me check my calendar” can suffice. You can also say “I can't take that on" or "My plate is full.”
STEP 4: EMBRACE
That’s right. EMBRACE YOUR BOUNDARIES! CELEBRATE YOUR BOUNDARIES! Become a full-fledged Boundaries Bitch or Boundaries Bastard. Let your time and your energy be sacred.
And you know what happens when you embrace your Boundaries Bitch or your Boundaries Bastard? People begin to trust you more and treat you with respect. That's because they know you respect yourself enough to be uncomfortable and vulnerable with saying no when everyone else is saying yes.
You are WORTH it.
In full support of your healthy boundaries,
P.S. If there's someone you know who could use some guidance with healthy boundaries, forward this blog on over to him or her.
P. S. S. Then drop by my Facebook page and share a time when you totally blundered your boundaries and found yourself in a space of anger and resentment.