In our modern world where busyness is seen as a sign of a productive life, the boundaries between work, family and private time are hard to find. Yet without those ‘fences,’ life can become a distracted, stress-filled whirlwind, where the ‘self’ is the last item on the agenda.
Boundaries are more complex than just the ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Boundaries are what allow you to fulfill your unique soul purpose and destiny in this life.
Healthy boundaries are the secret to clarity about what is most important to you.
Healthy boundaries are the foundation of a happy life.
Boundaries exist on the physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual planes. Physical boundaries are the easiest to understand. You most likely know when a physical boundary has been violated but the mental-emotional boundaries are more complex. And weak mental-emotional boundaries can prevent you from living the life you truly want to live.
So, to have the life you want I invite you to put my Healthy Boundaries Plan into action. These five steps will help you become the person you know you truly are – and the positive effects will reach through your healthy on all levels of your being!
The Healthy Boundaries Action Plan:
1. Catch yourself when you are in the midst of judging what someone else is doing.
In that moment, instead of thinking about what the other person should be doing, ask “Where in my life do I exhibit this behavior and what do I need to do about it?” An example might be where you are thinking someone else is rude (perhaps they didn’t acknowledge you as they went by). Your boundary exercise is to let go of their behavior and look at your own life. When and where have you been ‘rude?’ What does that even mean? The less you judge others, the less you judge yourself and keeping focused on your own behavior and what you can control is a very healthy boundary.
2. Catch yourself when you think that others or events outside yourself are the reason you are unhappy, angry, frustrated or otherwise upset.
In that moment you are demonstrating weak boundaries in that you are giving your power to an outside person or situation. You, and only you, are always in charge of how you react to any person or situation. It is wholly within your control.
3. Learn to speak with an “I” voice.
A person with healthy boundaries doesn’t blame, accuse, manipulate or label others yet knows how to assert his own needs and how to resolve conflict when it arises. A healthy boundary is one where you have a calmly confident ‘I’ voice. This is a matter of self-responsibility (appropriate self-responsibility) and a clear understanding of where you begin and end. Labels create distance between people and are self-protective. If you deal with behavior in a clear way, you will be much more effective with others and much more likely to get the outcome you desire both at home and at work.
4. Create a healthy boundary within your own mind.
This requires you become aware of your own inner negative thinking. Once you do, then challenge those thoughts and replace them with ones that affirm a new, healthy self-image. This is one of the hardest changes to make as it requires you to become very self-aware of old patterns of thinking that have been with you most of your life. But it is worth it. As you replace negative patterns of thinking and speaking to yourself about your life and others with positive, affirming ones, you will notice your life change for the better in all areas.
5. Don’t accept unacceptable behavior.
This seems obvious but it can be difficult. If your self-esteem is not what it should be, then you may have learned to accept less than respectful behavior. Beliefs about what you deserve in life form early in childhood. And sometimes you might settle for unacceptable behavior (a critical, demeaning spouse or boss, for example) out of fear of being alone or out of a belief that you are not worthy enough to be treated with respect.
Each time you accept unacceptable behavior from another (friend, parent, spouse, child, relative, boss, coworker, etc.) you reinforce a belief that you don’t deserve more. The only way to build this healthy boundary is to say ‘no’ immediately from this point forward.
Face your fears and be that voice that speaks up for you. No one else truly can.