As women, we have a tendency to try to be all things, to all people, all the time. It’s our nature to want to nurture and be supportive of others. Many times we say yes and make commitments that are not necessarily in alignment with our own personal needs. It’s not to say we are not being authentic because we genuinely want to be helpful. But, we’re not exactly being true to ourselves either.
One of the most important things we can do in this life is fall in love with ourselves. That’s a tough thing to swallow sometimes, but it’s the truth. And don’t we deserve that?
If we spend so much time being there for everyone else and compromising what we want, we don’t have enough time left for ourselves to do what genuinely makes us happy and fulfilled.
What if there was a way to be there for others while also being the hero in our own lives? This is absolutely possible and it can be achieved by setting boundaries.
Boundaries give us more respect from others, reduced stress and more self-love. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!
3 Steps to Set Boundaries
- Dig Deep: First, we need to identify what it is we really want in our heart of hearts. We also need to explore why we haven’t allowed that to happen in our lives yet. For example, maybe what you really want is more time to meditate and add a sense of calm to life, or maybe what you really want is to lose that extra weight that buries you in shame.Excuses (and generally bad ones) plus procrastination prevent us from achieving these wishes. Then we turn around and “fill up” our schedules – more often than not with things we feel obligated to do – all so we can more easily avoid that internal voice screaming at us to make a change.
- Expand Awareness: Once we know what we really want it’s time to expand our awareness to uncover when we are most inspired to achieve our deepest wishes. For example, you may realize that a 15-minute meditation in the morning ignites an incredible force of energy which allows you greater productivity, more time for others, reduced stress and a far better attitude throughout the day.If I had this realization, this is immediately when I would start to set boundaries. I would tell my relationship partner that I have a deep need to meditate for 15-minutes every morning before I get in the shower. Then I would ask for his support in not starting a conversation until I’m finished so I didn’t get distracted or lose the time to meditate. I would shut off my phone and not allow myself to check emails until after my meditation – no matter what. This boundary means I don’t get distracted or lose the time to achieve my deepest wish (see the trend?).
Setting boundaries in our lives creates INCREDIBLE BENEFITS and it’s something we must start taking seriously.
- The Discipline Whip:Life gets in the way doesn’t it? How many of you have committed to something like exercise, only to miss your scheduled workout once or twice and before you know it, it’s been weeks since your last workout? (Amber raises hand.) Been there. Done that. Do you want to know what I learned from those types of experiences? It feels AWFUL! I end up hating myself for sabotaging the thing that I actually wanted to do in the first place! How dumb is that?!In order to follow-through with setting boundaries so that you can achieve your deepest wishes, here’s what I suggest you to do (immediately!):
- Make a short video of yourself expressing the “why” behind doing what you want to do. Let’s go back to the meditation example. Your video would express that you are so sick and tired of your own story about being stressed, exhausted and having no time for yourself. You’d look right into the camera and feel the exhaustion of weeks or years of this decision getting in the way of your happiness. Then, right then and there, you’d make the commitment to meditate. You’d recite your newly set list of boundaries out loud. And finally, you’d conclude by proclaiming how you will feel by achieving this dream – the reduced stress, the added time for loved ones, the greater strides you’ll make in your career and the joy you’ll get from having some genuine alone time. If you feel yourself ever start to slip from your daily meditation routine, watch this video back – trust me, you’ll get back on track.
- Open up and communicate to anyone who will listen about your decision to make this enhancement in your life. We all need support and a positive influence to achieve our goals. There’s no shame in that. If you find that someone is an “energy vampire” and sucks you dry, distracts you or makes you feel bad about yourself, ask yourself why in the world you have allowed that into your life, and leave it in the past immediately. You deserve so much more than that – and you know that’s true. Instead, surround yourself with people who will inspire you (most likely people that also meditate in the morning or have a daily practice to improve their quality of life). This will also serve as much needed accountability when we feel those excuses coming on.
- Decide on a reward for staying true to the course. You’d think that the “reduced stress, increased productivity, more time with loved ones, etc” would be enough of a reward, right?! Well, it should be, but who ever turns down an extra reward? It is important to be gentle with ourselves and celebrate when we are living the life we want. Consider how many people don’t choose that luxury. So, I like to reward myself and celebrate when I’ve done something that rocks. For example, maybe if you meditate for 15-minutes, five days a week, for a full month, you treat yourself to that ____ you’ve been eyeing. This is especially helpful when we are just getting started with a new routine/change. It will get you through the stage of making excuses and the stage of laziness.
If you really want to have a life you love and relationships that are tremendously meaningful – if you really want to love who you are and how you show up in the world – if you want increased energy, reduced stress and greater health – if you want to be free of financial worry and fear … setting boundaries may be your answer.
Ever since I decided to jump in with both feet and fully embody this concept, it is unbelievable what has unfolded in my life. It’s so tremendous that I lay in bed at night with the most immense feeling of gratitude for what I’ve attracted in. I can also tell you that anytime I loosen up on my boundaries, I begin to notice imbalance, more stress and my relationships aren’t as smooth.
I invite you to do the exercises I suggested above. I think you’ll almost immediately see a positive impact on your world and the way others respond to you.
If you found this article to be inspiring, helpful or a great guide to achieving your dreams, please help me share it on Facebook or Twitter. I’d also, more than anything, love your feedback. I am always open to new perspectives and appreciate your support.