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Set Your Boundaries

By May 21, 2014Blog

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How often have you heard the term “push the boundaries”? I bet more than a few times. In today’s world, we’re either encouraged to push boundaries (take risks! break barriers!) or we’re told to conform with no middle ground. Unfortunately many of us are not only afraid to push the boundaries, we’re allowing people overstep their boundaries with us.

Professionally speaking, I’m a huge fan of pushing boundaries. In fact, I’ve encouraged you to push your own boundaries. Go after that dream job. Start your own social club. Turn that hobby into a business. But what about those other boundaries? Maintaining strict personal boundaries is essential to pushing the boundaries elsewhere in your life.

You can push boundaries while still maintaining the boundaries you set for other people. Those two things really go hand-in-hand. Just because you’re taking a big risk, it doesn’t mean that you have to jump head-first into something that gives you an uneasy feeling.

Too often, we as women don’t listen to our guts. We pass that gut feeling off as us just being emotional or over analytical. When it doesn’t go away, we busy ourselves in our kids’ lives and pour everything we have into being superwoman. And finally, when all of those things don’t bury those doubts, we may start doing unhealthy behaviors to soothe the nagging thing – overeating, drinking too much, belittling ourselves, etc.

The problem with that dangerous cycle is clear. First, we end up worse off than in the beginning. Most importantly, we perpetuate the overarching issue: ignoring ourselves.

We’ve all, at one point or another, fallen prey to this cycle. A part of the problem is us: our fears and insecurities play a major part in holding us back. But a bigger issue is allowing others’ opinions about our lives get in the way of us living them. We allow people to overstep their boundaries in our lives so much so that it stops us from doing things we love. And do you know what the worst part about this whole thing is? That gut instinct – that women’s intuition – it’s usually right.

Action step

Stop ignoring yourself and start practicing conscious listening. Whenever your gut is telling you to stop doing something – carrying that relative, spending time with that specific group of people, saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way – stop, breathe and embrace it. Don’t ignore yourself anymore. Mostly likely, those things no longer serve your best interest and keeping them in your life has blurred the lines you’ve set as your personal boundaries.

Take a stand. When you cut connections with the things that no longer serve your best interest, expect some “blow back.” Feelings are hurt when you are no longer willing to allow people to cross your boundaries, whether that be by carrying them or giving them permission to pollute your mind. Be strong and hold your boundary. You’re only a help to others when you learn to help yourself first.

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