By Andrea Lewis, The Master Shift, March 26, 2015
Setting healthy boundaries is extremely challenging. I know this because this is one of my greatest lessons and lately it seems as if I’m presented with countless opportunities to learn how to set them.
It takes a lot of practice and more practice to say No with tact, grace and dignity instead of saying yes to please others. It also takes courage to speak up and tell the truth, your truth without offending the person or disappointing them.
Your truth is not always going to resonate with someone, but what I learned is that we are not responsible for how people react, think or feel.
Heck! That takes a lot of energy and it prevents us from expressing ourselves because we’re so afraid to speak up and hold people accountable for their thoughts-words-actions.
In our mind we already created many scenarios about telling the other person what we really think. But because we decided for them how they would react, think or feel, we’ve talked ourselves out of expressing ourselves so we remain silent.
Then we replay the scenarios in our mind as we lie awake at night or throughout our day with should have’s, could have’s and would have’s.
Does this change the past?
Because the opportunity to say what you should have, could have and would have is in the present moment. Not in the past or even in the future.
Most of us grew up in dysfunctional homes and we did not learn what healthy boundaries were.
I sure didn’t!
One of my core limiting beliefs was to neglect my needs and always give people exactly what they wanted so they could like me.
But this is not true!
The fact is, not everyone is going to like you or me.
So wouldn’t it be much easier to just express yourself?
I know this sounds really simple, but I assure you that it is not! I spent most of my life pretending to be someone I “thought” people expected of me.
Once I stopped pretending I not only discovered the real me, but setting healthy boundaries became effortless. I learned that it comes from a place of authenticity, knowing that we deserve to be respected.
At first setting healthy boundaries might be uncomfortable, but the key is consistency and honing the following 4 skills:
1. Know yourself. If you don’t know your values, you’ll tolerate anything and be stepped on like a human doormat.
2. Trust your instincts. It’s important to pay attention to any physical discomfort in your body and to what the other person is saying—does it match their actions? If not, listen to yourself.
3. Honor your feelings. Playing the role of a nice gal/guy doesn’t get you anywhere. If you continuously subject yourself to toxic relationships or environments, you’re only hurting yourself.
4. Say no without guilt. The moment you hem and haw and provide long-winded explanations, the person has leeway to break down your defenses. As a rule of thumb: if you say no once and the person asks again—it’s disrespectful. If the question is asked more than three times—it’s manipulation. That’s your cue to take action immediately!
As you learn to set healthy boundaries, you’ll gain SELF-confidence and most importantly SELF-love—essential traits to being an empowered person!
Isn’t that what we all strive for?
To live a life where our thoughts align with our beliefs and to act accordingly.
About the Author:
Andrea Lewis is a certified Wellness Coach, Author, Speaker and Intuitive. She is passionate about empowering women to say no to drama, codependent relationships and to remind women of their worth. Andrea frequently shares her story at local high schools to educate and to end stigma on mental illness, as well as discuss self-esteem, self-image and healthy living. Get inspired with a free special report on Saying NO to drama and YES to the life of your dreams: http://www.andreamlewis.com
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