What Boundaries Can Never Do For You And Why.

boundaries

As a coach, I get a lot of questions about boundaries.
Here’s one from a recent client:
“I feel like everyone in my life is taking advantage of me. I guess I have no boundaries. Can you help me with that?”

I start the conversation asking her to share an example.

And the example always goes something like this…

“So-and-so wants me to help her out with such-and-such. She is constantly asking me to do things for her. She has absolutely no respect for my time or my schedule. She always thinks that I can drop everything and be there for her. She has no appreciation for me at all and I am sick of it.”

I am curious about what she does next.
And the answer is always something like this…
“I tell her that I can help her out.”
I ask why.
“Because she asked and I don’t want to disappoint her.”
A-ha.

I told her she didn’t help to create boundaries.
She needed help getting good at no.
We all get this one confused – especially when we are people-pleasers.

We believe some crazy things about boundaries.

1. We think boundaries are these invisible shields of protection that will prevent the requests, the favors and the phone calls for help.
2. We believe boundaries will teach people to stop taking advantage of us and then they will know exactly how to treat us better.
3. We think that boundaries with stop the potential disappointment that others will have in us.
4. And finally, those boundaries set an expectation of how other people should act with us.

Boundaries don’t have these 4 superpowers. They can’t do any of these things.

And here’s why.

People are going to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

They are going to ask for help, favors and make requests. And they get to do that.

And you get to respond to those requests in whatever way you want to.

Just because someone asks you for something, does not mean that you have to say yes or believe that you are being taken advantage of.

Here’s the real superpower that you are looking for – getting good at no.

Getting good at no means getting good at telling the truth.

This matters because every time you say yes when you really mean no – you are choosing to tell yourself and the other person a big, fat lie.
Lying is choosing to take advantage of yourself, to not appreciate yourself, and to disappoint yourself.

Telling the truth is what teaches people how you want to be treated because it shows them how you treat yourself.

Boundaries do play a role in our relationships but rarely do we actually need them. 9 times out of 10, the problems that we are having in our relationships are about the way we treat ourselves. The better we treat ourselves, the better our relationships. Treating ourselves better begins with us telling the truth.

And here’s what getting good at no can do for you.
A no can be delivered with kindness and love. Kindness and love are emotions that you experience and they feel good!
No is a sign of self-respect. Self-respect increases your trust in yourself!

No makes your future yes that much sweeter.

You will be much more excited about your yeses without all the resentment and irritation!

Ready to say no more in your life? Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session and let’s talk about why saying no is a challenge and how you can move past it.

 

4 Powerful Lessons to Create an Empowered Life

Here are four of the most significant lessons that I have learned and used to create an empowered life.

These lessons have changed my life in radical ways – helping me to let go of what I can’t control and focus on what I can. These lessons have taught me how to know myself better and how to positively influence every direction of my life, creating what I want on purpose and not by default.

 

1. Stay out of everyone else’s emotions.

I’ll admit, this one took me a long time to learn.

I used to believe that it was my responsibility to create other people’s emotions.
I believed that it was my job to make people feel happy, appreciated, included, calm, engaged, interested and special.
Therefore, I believed that it was also my responsibility to ensure that the people in my life never felt disappointment, anger, sadness, frustration, worry, fear or loneliness.
I thought that was my job and just the way things worked.
It meant that I spent a lot of time trying to ensure that people would feel the way that I wanted them to. Of course, I wanted the people I knew and loved to feel good (positive emotions) and to never suffer (negative emotions) so I worked really hard to manipulate situations, so there would always be happy endings and positive outcomes. I tried to anticipate potential negative outcomes and remove that possibility if I could.
It was a lot of work. It took so much effort. It was exhausting.
Sometimes I felt like I was successful and a lot of the time, I felt like I was not.
I continued to do this, until I learned the important lesson that other people’s emotions are none of my business.
People get to feel and experience any emotion that they want.
I have no business going into their lives and trying to manipulate circumstances in order to create a specific outcome.
Their emotional experience is 100% their own responsibility. It is for their benefit. What they do in their lives is entirely dependent on what they feel. I have no place trying to influence their experience of processing their own emotions – whatever that means for them.
My only job is to create, observe and understand my own emotions and manage them effectively. Lesson one of living an empowered life.

2. Stir up some fear and self-doubt on purpose.

I used to be very risk adverse.
I was afraid of experiencing fear.
I hated feeling self-doubt.
So, I lived in a very cozy comfort zone. Everything was safe and predictable. I loved trying to control everything and make it perfect.
Perfect to me – meant stable and consistent, reliable and steady.
And it also meant my life was stagnant and stuck.
The safety and security that I had created around me was like a protective shield and it was literally sucking the life out of me.
I craved growth and evolution in my own life. I loved learning new things. But as soon as a little fear of the unknown or self-doubt about my abilities to create something new creeped in, I retreated back to the security of my comfort zone.
I started new things and stopped when I got scared, felt uncertain or uncomfortable.
I didn’t know that evolving and growth automatically meant that fear, self-doubt, uncertainty and discomfort would show up.
I didn’t know experiencing the feelings of self-doubt and fear are exactly what I had to experience in order to grow.
I learned that those emotions came from my thoughts.
Those emotions are actually harmless.
The worse thing that could ever happen is that I would feel some self-doubt, some fear, some uncertainty and some discomfort.
Those emotions would wash through my body and I would feel them.
And by being willing to experience them, I would grow towards the new thing that I wanted to learn. I would evolve and stretch myself towards the new experience and ultimately create a new experience in my life.
I learned the lesson that fear and self-doubt are a necessary and manageable part of growing out of a comfort zone. Lesson two of living an empowered life.

 3. Protect my yes.

I used to believe that I had to do it all.
I had to always say yes.
To create the best for family. To make everything perfect. To please everyone. To never disappoint or let anyone down. To always be prepared for anything.
And that I could never ask for help doing it all.
And guess what?
I completely wore myself out.
For a while, it was fulfilling work. I told myself that it was noble.
It’s what women do – they just take care of everything.
And then, my exhaustion caught up with me.
I stopped taking care of myself.
I was angry.
I felt unappreciated.
I was disappointed.
I was deeply resentful.
I didn’t understand why I had these feelings and then I felt badly that I had them. I was ashamed that all my attempts to take care of everything and make it perfect didn’t bring me more satisfaction. It was distressing to realize that I was actually making myself miserable trying to be a woman who took care of everything all the time, at my own expense.
Then, I learned the important lesson of constraint. I learned that I could protect my yes. And most importantly, I did not need to say yes to others at my own expense.
I learned that I was trying to take care of everyone and make everything perfect, so others would be happy.
I was always saying yes to manage other people’s emotions (lesson 1).
This was a big wake-up call for me. If other people are ultimately responsible for creating their own emotions, then it doesn’t matter how much effort I expend and how many times I say yes to everything to try and control their emotions.
It doesn’t work that way.
I was suffering by over-extending myself to do the impossible – manage other people’s emotions.
I learned the lesson of protecting my yes, so that I could take better care of myself and focus on what I could control, not what I couldn’t. Lesson three of creating an empowered life.

4. Love myself, no matter what.

This is my most favorite lesson.
This one is powerful because it means that I have learned to generate my own self-love – under any circumstance, no matter what.
I am not reliant on others to love me, so that I feel love.
I am not dependent on taking care of everyone, making everything perfect, managing all the details, manipulating happy ending and outcomes, so that I will experience love.
My job is to love myself.
When I do this, then I can show up and allow other people to experience their own emotions without trying to change them.
When I love myself, I don’t feel compelled to influence other people’s emotions. I allow them to feel whatever they want and I am ok.
When I love myself, I know that I can embrace fear and self-doubt as a necessary part of growing and evolving into the best version of myself.
I use self-love to help me overcome the moments when fear and self-doubt tempt me to quit, give up or sabotage my dreams.
I use self-love to keep from retreating back to the comfort zone of my old life.
When I love myself, I protect my yes, with ease. I know exactly how to ensure that I do not over-extend myself to my own detriment.
When I love myself, I know that perfect doesn’t matter.
When I love myself, I know that taking care of myself is my top priority. And that I can take care of myself without feeling selfish and guilty – because feeling selfish and guilty never inspire me to take care of myself. Those feelings are unnecessary, not useful and do not feel good.
Love always feels good.
And I am the beneficiary of my love.
I get to enjoying the double experience of creating love for myself and receiving the love that I create for myself.
And now I go out of my way to create and experience more of it, every day. Lesson four of creating an empowered life.