Not everything requires your reaction.
There was once a time, not long ago, that I felt the need to give all of me to everyone else.
My thought process for most of my life was, “I can, so I will.”
This included giving away my time, doing things I didn’t love, saying yes to everything, accepting toxic people into my life, etc. Basically, I was always willing to refuel the tanks of others while neglecting my own.
Over the past year or so, I’ve grown in leaps and bounds all because I decided to take back my power.
When I began this journey of reclaiming my power, I learned that setting boundaries is key. Healthy boundaries allow us to not fall into the trap of society’s pressures which tell us that if we say no, we’re not a good [mother/father, wife/husband, friend, colleague].
Personal boundaries extend into many areas of life (physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, material), but the reason for setting them is to ultimately have safe and healthy relationships – both with yourself and with others.
I love Brene Brown’s definition of boundaries in her book, Rising Strong. She defines boundaries as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.”
I’m sharing a few (of many) personal boundaries I’ve embraced, that have literally been life changing.
Learning to Say No
How many times have you said yes to something then immediately regretted it? Better yet, how many times have you said yes because you couldn’t think of an excuse to say no? We often feel as if “no” needs a reason – as if saying “no” isn’t a complete sentence by itself. It’s often the guilt that comes along with the word, that pushes people into the “yes.”
One area I struggled with this, was in my business. It felt terrible to me when people would seek my aid for services I no longer offered or even for things I did/do offer, yet I had no true time to help them.
I fell into the trap of saying yes, then b*tching about the project the entire time I was doing it. Essentially, I set myself up for misery by saying yes.
Now that I’ve learned to say NO more, I use phrases such as: “My plate is full right now, but I’m happy to refer you to a trusted colleague who might be able to help,” or “I’d love to, but I’m already over committed. Thank you for thinking of me!”
These phrases still say no, but also don’t make me feel like a complete a-hole while saying them.
Share Information Gradually
I’ve noticed when I’m on the plane, people next to me often share things I don’t think they’ve shared with their spouse, let alone a friend. I’ve been guilty of this too – it’s almost as if opening up to a stranger can be easier because HEY… I’ll never see this person again, right?
Not everyone needs to know your biznass, your biznass (that’s business, for those of you who didn’t read that in Ludacris’ voice). Oversharing is part of not having boundaries. Oversharing too many details with people you’ve just met, exposes you to potential hurt or manipulation.
Protect yourself, open up to those who truly care for you and have your best interest at heart.
Not Everything Needs a Response
I was recently hit with an uncomfortable situation with a person I didn’t even know, who was attacking my character and my morals. I knew this person was projecting their own insecurities on me and if I gave any attention or energy into the situation, I would only fuel the fire.
Instead, I chose the high road. I ignored what was said and I went on about my day.
Had I engaged in a response I know I’d get fired up, say things I didn’t mean (which could ultimately come back to haunt me), and would exert all of that day’s energy into a person who didn’t deserve it. Thus, leaving me drained and unable to give my energy to the people who do deserve it.
Recognize when silence is a better option. Not everything needs a response.
Prioritize Self Care
If you tune into my podcast, you may remember my episode about self care and digging and how the guilt of putting myself first, ultimately led me to putting my health at risk.
You know when boarding the plane they state to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others? That’s because it’s known that you cannot take care of anyone else, if you’re over there passing out from of lack of oxygen.
I’m very humanitarian driven, so to me, prioritizing myself felt selfish.
But guess what?!
Prioritizing yourself isn’t selfish, it’s imperative
Now, I take time to do things that I love; I’ve recognized when my tank is full, I’m happier and I’m a nicer person which makes me feel more equipped to serve. Also, my energy also doesn’t deplete as quick
Bubble baths and face masks are both sure fire ways to relax me.
I love taking drives in my car while blasting music and singing at the top of my lungs, always makes me smile.
Getting out in nature and exploring a place I’ve never seen before humbles me. Being alone in silence, even for 10 minutes and saging, mentally recharges me.
I recognize when I need more self care and I’ve dropped the guilt that comes along with it.
The boundaries I outlined may seem elementary but as Matt Bevin said, “the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.
Take some time to think about the boundaries in your life; are you aware of them, or are you lacking them?
To Your Growth,