Love Your Boundaries, Love Yourself

Boundaries can be used for most anything in life. It is the way in which you know, love and respect yourself. By creating clear boundaries you can carve out the life that you want by managing what life throws at you.

Boundaries 101: Creating excellent boundaries is an art. Creating boundaries in a way as not to offend others and being graceful in your approach helps you to manage your needs. Mastering this art form takes some time, but here are some basics.

  • Clarify - If someone asks something of you, clarify exactly what that means and what is expected of you. Sometimes we take on more than we bargained for because we were not clear in understanding what was truly being asked of us or perhaps the requester was not sure either. Clarify what the terms are and the time expectations and if you are not sure of the expectations say you will think about it and get back to the person at a later time.

  • Be Realistic - Be honest with yourself and your capacity. Once you have clarified what is being asked of you, then be realistic. Take inventory of everything else on your plate and do not be afraid to tell someone NO.

  • Be Empowered - If you are uncomfortable telling someone no, then working towards self-empowerment is the next step. You are valuable and so is your time. Your time is just as important as everyone elses and never sell yourself short.

  • Negotiate - If no is not an option, then rethink the terms. How would it work for you? More time, less responsibility, more tools, more resources, etc. Don't be afraid to say "I would love to do that, but I have a lot on my plate right now. In order for me to do that, I will need (fill in the blank).

  • Be Specific - Be very specific and clear on how you are going to perform and set the right expectations so that they do not come back to haunt you. Not being clear can lead to a lot of problems down the road. You may have "meant" something but perhaps that was not communicated and understood by everyone. Follow up to make sure that expectations are very clear. If something changes, then don't be afraid to adjust the agreement. Be honest that something has changed or that you were not aware of XYZ when you took on the responsibility. In that case, renegotiate.

  • Be graceful - Many people feel that setting boundaries requires you to be firm and often associate firmness as negative. Being graceful in setting boundaries is what demands respect but still allows you to be lighthearted in your approach. You will create your own style but play around with different approaches. Perhaps add humor. By showing that a request is unrealistic in a humorous way will often soften the stress. Ex: "Sure, I am happy to do that but I will need 15 years to get that done." Or "That sounds great, but you are providing the jet plane to get that done though, right?". Also remember to smile and be lighthearted about it. Setting boundaries can be a very positive experience.

  • Be Positive - Being positive allows you to respect others as well as yourself. By adding something like "I would love to do that, however (insert your current demands)" Or "I understand how important this is to you, and I really want to be supportive, but unfortunately I am booked until (insert a better time)". This allows people to feel acknowleged, respected and understand your boundaries in a way that is not taken personal.
Boundaries are about respecting yourself as well as respecting others. In theory, boundaries are not necessary because no one crosses other peoples boundaries. However because we are all different, see the world from our own eyes and simply may not be aware of other peoples situations, boundaries are very important. Boundaries are the ultimate protection. They allow you to take action in loving and respecting yourself, so that others will do the same.

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