Do you have someone in your life that is bringing you down? Are you saying yes to others because you feel bad? These feelings and situations can be an indication that you lack boundaries in your life. Boundaries are like a line that indicates your personal space and time. When enforced properly, they can communicate expectations of how to be treated in all aspects of your life and can actually enhance your relationships and experiences because you're honoring yourself first.
The consequences of not having personal boundaries can be: difficulty making decisions, guilt over letting people down, fatigue from overscheduling yourself, relationships can be difficult or draining, you feel that you have no control or are the victim of situations, and an increase in anxiety. God, I just got tired writing these consequences because they’re so draining. But that was the bad news, the good news is that by setting boundaries you can free up your life, brain and happiness again.
Here are my life coach tips on how to set boundaries:
Acknowledge your feelings and emotions. Are you too tired or feeling guilty? This could be the result of using your time to appease others. Ask yourself, is this something I want to do or someone I want to communicate with? The point is to insert yourself into the equation instead of only focusing on others needs and wants.
Identify where boundaries have been crossed in your life. Create a list of the relationships, events and experiences in your life that make you unhappy or stressed. Ask yourself, is my unhappiness related to a lack of boundaries, i.e. is someone treating me like garbage or expecting me to do everything even though I don’t want to? If the answer is yes, ask yourself what the consequences are if you continue to function without boundaries.
Practice your power of saying No. Once you understand where the areas of your life are that are out of whack you can utilize the power of no to get back on track. For example, if your goal is fitness and you want to hit the gym after work but a friend asks to go to happy hour, simply say “no thank you” to the invitation. Practice saying yes to you first before yes to others.
Let others know about your boundaries. Tell your friends and family what your goals and expectations are and what’s important to you. For example, if you have a family member that is making you feel bad or overly critical, advocate for yourself and say what you need for the relationship so you can feel happier.
Don’t let a lack of boundaries take away your happiness. Though it may be hard to say no at first, remember it’s a muscle that you have to strengthen over time. The more you work at it the stronger it will get!