A lot of issues concerning our difficulty with boundaries revolves around fears of being alone. We fill voids of tine with whatever and whoever is around. We act without thinking about the impact that these easy, sometimes passive, choices have in the greater picture of our lives.
One way to identify evidence of personal growth and development is by observing how we set boundaries. I’ve noticed that as I have aged I set boundaries differently now as compared to how I set them in years past. Now I say no when I need to, and I say yes when I want. Now I look for things I like and then choose what I want… in the past I’d just take whatever life served up.
Today my motivational moment is about boundaries and how being in control of them is evidence of growth. When we control the ways in which we spend our time and our energy we harness the power to change our lives, and this is exactly why it is so important to be able to recognize and maintain our limits. In order to peruse our most important desires we must have boundaries.
How do we get better at setting boundaries? Here are some practical ways to do it.
- Become comfortable being alone. Make a list of at least 5 activities that you enjoy doing alone. If you have difficulty ask a trusted friend to help you. Then, when you are propositioned with an opportunity ask yourself would I rather do that thing I’m being asked to do, or would I rather do one of my alone activities?
- Make a personal schedule. Plan each day of your week out in advance. Decide when you are going to spend time to do the various things you need to do for yourself. If another opportunity comes up weigh that against what you set out to do to begin with. Get detailed and be sure to schedule all aspects of your life… work, chores, alone time, fun time, etc.
- Keep a gratitude journal. When I was 15 years old I was gifted a gratitude journal. The inside cover told me to write about all the things you are grateful for. Sometimes I used it to vent and process frustrations… however I would always end each entry with a list of things I was grateful for. This journal practice helped me to acknowledge all off the good in my life. Over time it became easier to see what was important to me and helped me clarify my boundaries.
In life it is always important to have limits and to understand that compromising those limits, repeatedly and over time, has the power to change our personal trajectory. Setting boundaries is a necessary and healthy aspect of our humanity. Being able to say “no” is a virtue not to be taken lightly, and is a skill that strongly highlights our strength as an individual.
Juxtapose this idea by considering how useful we would be if we over-did saying “yes”. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would be far less valuable to myself and others I care about if I did not work to explore, create, and maintain my personal boundaries. I imagine we all feel the same way about being “yes-ers”, and for that reason I encourage all of us to take personal action and work to become better at setting our boundaries.
Peace and Love,