Setting Healthy Boundaries in the New Year!
How is the first week of 2021 going for you so far? Have you already been inundated with garbage you don’t want to deal with? That always happens, doesn’t it? We spend some nice time with our family, enjoying the holidays, and then suddenly we’re back to “normal” life and everything goes haywire again.
Some of dealing with garbage is just part of normal life. Life doesn’t always go the way we want or need it to, and the result is we sometimes must deal with not-so-pleasant people or situations.
But some of this garbage we invite into our own lives by not having proper boundaries.
- Are you someone that has a hard time saying NO?
- Do you put other people’s needs before your own?
- Do you feel exhausted most days because you are doing so much for others?
If so, let me tell you, you are going to burn out very quickly, if you haven’t already!
Many people that have grown up in dysfunctional families never learned to build healthy boundaries. When you grew up in unhealthy co-dependent relationships, you learned to give up your own individual boundaries and sacrifice your own identity in order to get the love and affection all children crave. But when you sacrifice your own identity for someone else, you lose your sense of self as well as your self-esteem.
I have known so many people who did not know how to set healthy boundaries and what usually happened to them was, they started to experience health crises. Unhealthy boundaries lead to high levels of stress, and high levels of stress compromises our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness and disease!
Boundaries Empower Us!
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
Boundaries are what keep us safe and healthy. They are the tools that let us know what works for us and what doesn’t! By setting healthy boundaries, we lessen the chances of taking on other people’s beliefs, feelings and needs and instead, become in tune with our own beliefs, feelings and needs.
With this in mind, let’s look at some of the best ways you can begin to set healthy boundaries in the new year:
Get to Know Yourself
People that have a hard time setting boundaries often don’t know themselves very well. They were never taught that it is not only OKAY to know exactly who you are, what you value and what you want, but it is your personal responsibility to do so.
Now is the time to start becoming aware of your thoughts, needs, habits, likes, dislikes, values, and emotional reactions. Knowing YOU is what will help you start to set boundaries and attract like-minded individuals who will love and support you instead of attracting energy vampires.
Become Aware of What Drains You
And speaking of energy vampires…
Not only will you need to begin to get to know yourself, you’ll also want to start identifying what people and situations in your life drain your energy and spirit. What doesn’t feel good to you? What scenarios or events do you dread?
- Are there people in your life who are narcissists?
- Do you spend time around negative and manipulative people?
- Are you constantly trying to meet someone else’s unrealistic expectations?
- Do you feel responsible for other people’s happiness and well-being (besides your children)?
- Do you find it hard to ask for what you need and want because you are afraid you will lose someone’s love?
Spend some time paying attention to those people and situations in your life that are causing you the most stress so you can begin to set boundaries.
Stop Judging Yourself
Right now you need to be your own personal cheerleader and encourage yourself to make positive changes in your life. You won’t be able to do this if you continue to allow that inner critic to shout to the rooftops.
Stop judging yourself so harshly. When you do “screw up”, forgive yourself, learn from the situation and do better next time. Be your own parent. Be a loving and guiding force on your journey toward healing and well-being.
Before making any decisions, take a moment to check in with yourself. If you are used to always saying yes, even when you really NEED to say no, then saying yes has become an ingrained habit.
Always pause for a minute, take a deep, slow breath and check in with yourself to determine what it is YOU need and what YOU want and what YOU think and what YOU feel before making any decision, whether that decision is big or small.
Remember, “no” is a complete sentence. If you decide you need to say no for your own health and well-being, do not feel you need to offer any further explanation. “No, that doesn’t work for me” or “no, I won’t be able to do that” is all you need to say. If someone is drilling you for an explanation, CUT THEM LOOSE! These people do not know how to respect other’s boundaries.
Boundaries are like mental and emotional skin: they hold us together and protect us from things that may cause harm. I encourage you to get better at creating healthy boundaries in the new year!
Prue’s quote of the day: “Your toughest times often lead to your most distinguished moments. Adversity is our greatest teacher.”