If you have people pleasing tendencies or perhaps you are an empath or highly sensitive person, it is likely that you struggle to implement healthy boundaries. Often putting other people’s needs before your own and neglecting your own dreams and desires. Or perhaps you lack confidence and self-worth, you have low self-esteem and sense of identity, therefore you struggle to be assertive, make choices for yourself and so it is easier to do what other people expect of you. However, continuing in this way can lead to burnout and lack of fulfillment, you may even feel resentful that you are not pursuing your own dreams and desires and may appear as passive aggressive to others. Unhealthy boundaries can display themselves in several different ways but I am going to share with you 5 simple steps which will help you to implement them into your life for greater, health, wellbeing, happiness and fulfillment.
STEP 1: SELF-AWARENESS
Without self-awareness of your current boundaries, how strong they are and how they affect you, it is going to be very difficult to change them. It is important to get to the subconscious beliefs behind your unhealthy boundaries or lack of boundaries so that they can be transformed. For example to you believe any of the following:
You are responsible for other people’s wellbeing and happiness?
You will be rejected if you don’t share your true self?
You don’t feel loved or accepted unless you please other people?
You are not worthy or pursuing your own dreams and desires?
You are not capable of achieving your dreams?
These beliefs are often rooted in childhood experiences, but they are not facts, they are conditioned opinions which can be changed.
There are several ways in which these subconscious self-limited beliefs can be brought to awareness so that they can be transformed. This is exactly what a life coach, like myself can help you with. However, if you are not ready to fully commit to yourself and invest in a coach, here are some things you can do in the meantime to build self-awareness:
Mindfulness and meditation: Can help you be more present, aware in the moment and acknowledge what emotions are coming up for you in the moment.
Speaking with someone: This can help see things from someone else's perspective
Journalling and reflective practice: This can help you delve deeper into parts of yourself, your emotions and your behaviour.
Here are 6 Journal Prompts to help you with Self-awareness around Boundaries:
How do you know when one of your boundaries has been violated?
What boundaries could you implement to assist you in achieving your dreams and desires?
How can I better communicate my boundaries to others?
What boundaries align with my values and morals?
What holds me back from saying no?
What consequences of setting boundaries am I afraid of and why?
STEP 2: RECONNECTING WITH YOUR DREAMS
If you struggle with people's pleasing tendencies, self-doubt and low confidence, then it is likely that you have spent your time up until now, doing what people expect of you rather than doing what you really want to do and doing what you're passionate about. It is so important to think about your values, your morals, your dreams and desires so that you can shame your boundaries around them. For example, do you often change who you are around different people and sacrifice or abandon our own morals and values just to please other people to feel accepted? Or perhaps you really want to do something but you end up saying yes to someone else and neglect your own needs in order to help or please them. When you get crystal clear on your vision, mission, morals, values, desires, dreams and direction, you can streamline your energy and focus in order to achieve them, and to do that, you have to implement healthy boundaries. There are several ways in which you can get crystal clear on these things. It is one thing that I do with my clients near the beginning of their journey with me so that we know what we are working towards. Some tools we use include:
Balance wheel of life
Give some of these things a go and remind yourself what it is that you love, and remember you are worthy, deserving and capable of creating your dream life so dream big!
STEP 3: CREATE BOUNDARIES
Now that you know what you are working towards, you can start to set healthy boundaries that allows you to streamline your energy towards your goals. No matter what your goal is, whether it is a health goal, a career goal, a financial goal, you can set boundaries around these goals to help you achieve them. For example, do you want to spend X amount of time a week working on your new business? If so, what boundaries do you need to create around that? Do you need to stop doing over-time and your day job? Do you need to leave social events early so that you have enough energy the next day to do the work you want to? Do you need to say no to helping someone so that you can protect your own energy?
Write down what healthy boundaries are going to serve you and support you in pursuing your dreams.
STEP 4: COMMUNICATE YOUR BOUNDARIES
If you don’t share with people what your boundaries are, it is easier for them to be violated. If people are unaware of where you want to spend your time and energy, it is likely that they will try and take your time and energy and the easi
er it will be for them to do and you will be taken away from the things you want to do. Also, communicating your boundaries to the supportive people in your life may help as they may want to support you in pursuing your dreams and looking after your energy so they may be able to help you keep accountable. Make your boundaries clear to protect your own energy. Practice saying no and the more you do it, the more confident you will become doing it, it is
so empowering and is a great sign of confidence and a strong sense of identity and self-respect which other people then learn to respect.
STEP 5: KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
You may have spent your whole life up until this point practicing unhealthy boundaries. This is of no fault of your own, it is likely a result of childhood experiences. Because you have spent so long having unhealthy boundaries, it is going to be easy, at first to slip into old habits and behaviours. It is now your responsibility to reclaim your power through implementing healthy boundaries so keep yourself accountable. You can do this is several ways but my suggestion is, create a daily routine that helps you
implement healthy boundaries for example:
Keep reminding yourself of your morals, values and intentions behind your boundaries to help motivate and inspire you.
For more information on these 5 steps, listen to this week's episode on the Shine with Stephie Be Podcast here.