No one wants to be a pushover, yet, in relationships, we try to be loving and supportive and we negate the fact that we can also be assertive and set healthy boundaries. It’s important to set boundaries, because it may be the most loving thing you can do...for yourself!
Think of how many issues could be resolved if you were to be clear right from the beginning what you needed, how you felt, and how you could contribute to the greater cause (without running yourself down in the process)?
As you read this, you likely can relate to the idea that in some situation in your life you could have avoided an undesired outcome, by simply setting clear boundaries. Well, you’re right! Those are the situations I am talking about, as well as these:
Set Boundaries for YOURSELF
This can mean setting goals. It can also mean allowing yourself time to reset and recharge. We live in a society that thrives on busy; we wake up in the morning and instantly think of what we need to get done that day. You may even roll over in bed and immediately check your phone for messages, notifications, and emails, before you lift your head off the pillow. I know that I’m guilty of this bad habit.
Bad News: Habits are hard to break.
Good News: You can cultivate new, healthy habits!
The first step to setting healthy boundaries can be by saying, “Self, I’m not going to check my phone until after I shower, meditate, and eat breakfast.”
Or you can set healthy boundaries for meditation, which may sound like, “Mind, thank you for these creative stories, however, right now I have a delicious date with quietness.”
Wow, doesn’t that sound nice?
Practice cultivating the power of your will and set healthy boundaries for yourself. The length of time that it takes to break a bad habit is roughly the same amount of time that it takes to make a new deal with yourself.
Start today by asking yourself the following questions:
What are three areas within my life that could use healthy boundaries?
What is one thing I am currently doing that I could do less of?
What excuses are keeping me from setting healthy boundaries for myself?
How can I eliminate those excuses?
Set Boundaries as an Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, I find this one incredibly difficult to master. I set my own hours and create my own schedule. This sounds like, “I can finish that later, it’s beautiful outside, l should head to the beach.”
Phone calls come in at all hours of the day, some of them business, but many from friends who just want to chat. An hour or two later, on a Monday afternoon, and I’m suddenly thinking that I shouldn’t have taken that call until I finished writing this article.
You are your own boss and while, yes, the four hour work week IS possible and you CAN have it, you need to set clear boundaries as to when when you can be available for your friends and family, and when you need to keep your head down and have your creative time.
Tip: Stop sending unnecessary emails and ask friends and family to do the same. Let them know the times you will be available to check email and messages. If it is important, they can call you.
Be clear with what you need, and what you can contribute. This goes for any scenario where there may be unclear expectations as to what you able to give, be it time, attention, services, or expertise. When you concentrate on setting healthy boundaries with friends and family, you allow yourself freedom to fully “show up” and provide others with your greatest gifts.
Set Boundaries in Love Relationships
Before entering a relationship (also a good check-in) be clear on each other’s highest values. How can you support those values? What do they need from you in order to feel heard and respected?
A clear understanding of your partner’s values and boundaries will allow you to both inspire each other. If your own values are unclear, or if you are unable to express them, take a moment to revisit and reflect on your boundaries.
If your partner can not respect these boundaries (relates to your values) and this is acceptable to you, is this loving yourself? What does self-love mean to you?
Now that I’ve planted the seed of setting “boundaries”, I invite you to contemplate the idea that boundaries are not physical. There are no chalk lines, and no brick walls. Visualize your invisible wall or boundary and walk along the top of it. Keep your head up, your heart bright, and most importantly, keep moving forward.