We all have boundaries. Maybe you don’t feel like you do, because of many times past when people have overrun you. Somewhere around the umpteenth time of being taken advantage of, of being ignored about your own needs, and treated as though your time is not valuable, you start to believe that you’ve lost whatever boundaries you had.
The good news is, you can re-create your boundaries, and make them stronger and healthier than ever before. How? Read on for a quick list of five tips to jumpstart your life and put it on track for a happier you.
1. Permit yourself to start over. While this step seems obvious, there are quite a few reasons for it. First, by telling yourself it’s ok to set boundaries, you’re declaring that you’re important enough even to have them. But also, in acknowledging that it’s ok to start over, you’re not getting hung up on the past. That is you, taking control. Embrace it!
2. Pay attention. Here’s where you start getting into the details of who you are and who you want to be. How have people taken advantage of you in the past? Where have you wished there were boundaries? What do you need to do to establish them now? Be mindful of your feelings. Look for the disappointment and anger. What has set those off? Chances are those are places where the boundaries need the most work. You’ll find that self-awareness is key to your success so don’t be afraid to dig into your emotions.
3. Where have you been? And where are you now? Chances are a lot of what you feel about boundaries came from your wiring as a child. If no one respected your space growing up, it’s hard to ask people to respect it now. Examine the boundaries of your childhood and compare them to the boundaries of today. What’s lacking? What needs work? It might be that some of the things you find make boundary setting particularly difficult in some situations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either with a counselor or therapist to work through some of that old baggage.
4. Take care of yourself. When you’re not feeling well, it’s nearly impossible to be firm in your boundaries. Being strong and healthy gives you the energy needed to put your foot down when you need to. With that in mind, taking care of yourself not only makes sense, but it is also necessary for future success. Remember the basics: Eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep every night.
5. Speak up. There’s going to be pushback when you set boundaries. Having healthy boundaries means that you put the work in to maintain them. That means saying ‘no’ when you need to. By being assertive you not only protect those boundaries, but you also tell the world that you have something to say. Need help? Enlist a support team who can cheer you on when you’re flagging – and who aren’t afraid to point out when you’re starting to slip. Sometimes we all need some tough love, especially when we’re pushing for better, healthier boundaries.
By following these steps, you’re not only drawing a line in the sand; you’re taking control of your life. Healthy boundaries are meant to protect you so that you have room to grow and become the person you always knew you could be. But first, you have to begin. So, why are you waiting? Aren’t you ready for that new improved you?