Are you currently feeling burnt out when trying to keep other people happy and content with themselves? Is there a possibility that you allow others to walk all over you because you may be afraid to stand up for yourself?
It has been proven by science that we are a society that doesn’t say no to those surrounding us because we are experiencing a fear of saying no and potentially, it offending them or creating tension within any relationship. As humans, we’re taught to not only be kind to others (here’s hoping so) while failing to be education on the importance on finding balance between being kind to those around us, ourselves and learning when it’s okay to be firm with those demanding extra attention.
By allowing this to occur and not knowing when to say ‘enough is enough’, we are allowing others to take advantage us, our time but also, depleting us of our energy reserves. Having been someone who used to heavily stress and worry about others and their wellbeing, while putting myself on the back burner and ignoring the warning signs of mental, emotional and physical fatigue; I learnt the important of setting boundaries and sticking to them.
This will often present you with an opportunity to stand up for yourself and define what it is important and not-so important. In return, the time you have achieved for yourself can have a significant impact on your wellbeing but also, life satisfaction. So if this is a topic that you are struggling with, than let’s discuss the art of establishing boundaries and recuperating our energy on pleasing people.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
It’s important to form boundaries in our professional and personal lives as we are striving to be continuous people-pleasures and often at times, have a deeply ingrained fear of displeasing or hurting other’s emotions. However there is always going to be someone who will be displeased or down-right rude because their own philosophy will never match up with how yours and that’s okay.
Whether this person or a group of people think you are rude or disrespecting them, there’s always going to be a fine line between being a good person, making people think and feel like you’re a good person and aren’t always used to you sticking up for yourself. Therefore, it’s essential to set and stick form to any newly developed boundaries.
Especially when it comes to your precious time, energy and personal space! There is no reason as to why you should deplete any emotional, mental and physically energy on something that really doesn’t align with your values, beliefs and wants for how you envision your lifestyle.
Setting boundaries can and might sound scary… but it will give you a freedom to focus and dedicate time on doing what you want and been meaning to do. In case someone says boundaries are boring and are beginning to define you, they aren’t realising these boundaries are allowing you to define and create a lifestyle on your own needs and terms. This is the most liberating and really exciting thing you can do for yourself and your family. By communicating your boundaries to yourself and others is a definitive way to make sure the need for pleasing others does not over take your life.
6 Ways To Establish Better Boundaries
1. Listening to your gut instinct
One thing every human has in common is something I like to call fondly as a ‘Gibbs Gut’ instinct. This little voice in the back of your head or feeling in the pit of your stomach often will tell you if something is right for you, wrong for you or is just plain downright stupid and shouldn’t be touched/thought about. More times than none, your gut instinct will lead you down a pathway that is correct for you at that present point in time and therefore, should be followed or at least be asking yourself, ‘is this the right thing for me?’
By using this precious instinct of yours to help make decisions, it’ll encourage you to not feel as if you need to continuously say yes to someone and avoiding the fear of hurting their feelings.
2. Priorities need to be clear & worthy of your time
Becoming clear on any or all priorities, it can help you with determining what is actually important, needs to be accomplished sometime in the next day/week/month and worthy of spending your time and energy on. It’s also important to remember that if you are find it slightly too easy in making others happy above yourself, first and foremost, than it’s important to take a step back, re-evaluate and decide if these priorities bring you joy and will help with establishing a better life-work balance.
Self-care shouldn’t be classified as being a selfish act but rather, it’s a necessity for living a healthy lifestyle. By scheduling priorities, whether they be work or life orientated, alongside downtime and activities that are fun on a weekly priority; you are more likely to treat these moments as necessities for self-care and be more present in the moment. This means: turning off your mobile devices, pulling out those dust-bunny covered board games, lighting a candle or two and getting dressed into comfy gear for a night of entertainment, laughter and debates over who cheated/won.
3. Communicating what is/ what isn’t acceptable
The first step you need to do when those surrounding you are telling you what to do always or saying anything that is frustrating you beyond all limitation is: putting your foot down! There will be times where people may not know what they’re doing is unacceptable by your standards and will never know if you don’t voice these concerns in a nice manner. Being someone who speaks up against those who are negatively behaving and their actions are causing those within their presence to feel inferior or underappreciated; than if something isn’t feeling right to you and your Gibbs gut instinct than you should make any and every effort to avoid this negative attitude and people.
4. Think or offer alternatives
Offering an alternative/alternatives in situations where you think you may not be the right person for a particular situation is often a smart and consciences move. Prime example would be: you’ve been offered a job opportunity outside of your scope of knowledge and a co-worker has been talking about the particular skill set required for weeks. Why not recommend that particular co-worker for the position? If you feel as if you are being unaccommodating, this is an acceptable option to talk up a co-worker’s credentials, be cooperative while stating you won’t be taking the task or job on yourself and it would be an opportunity to learn from someone who possess the skills required.
5. Thing about the long-term impacts of your decisions
Thinking about the long-term impacts of your decisions can often lead to you asking if the goals will not only improve your life but if there is something that could potentially have a much larger and significant impact. It’s important to remember the amount of time spent on something should be compared against the amount of positive impact certain tasks can have upon your life and if you know and feel a certain task will and can take up more time than what you’re willing to spend on it, it would be worth saying ‘no’.
6. Be direct and firm with your answer/s
One last and very important step to setting boundaries is not letting or allowing people to talk you out of doing something you’ve set your heart on. Whether it’s turning down a position at work because it doesn’t feature a pay increase but comes with extensive amounts of hours spent working on paperwork or telling your friends that you are staying in for the night because you need some ‘down time’; it’s important to establishing these goals of yours. Yes, your friends will be disappointed that you aren’t going out on the town or popping over for a pizza and movies night; but they should respect your decision and make another date or time that’s more suitable for you.
Just remember that you are and always will be in control of the decisions and choices you make for your life. Letting other people’s thoughts and feelings dictate how you live your life is no longer accepted and by setting healthy boundaries, you are giving yourself authority to do less people-pleasing and more living your life the way you want to.