Do any of these situations sound familiar?:
Your client pays you a month late…for the third time.
You swallow your roommate’s jab at your choice of outfit, again.
Your child wakes you up for the fifth time at night.
You say “yes” with a grimace to Aunt Jane when you are asked to cook for the family get-together even though you are swamped with work.
These situations are all results of unclear, abused boundaries. Unhealthy boundaries can leave you feeling exhausted, resentful, and inauthentic in your relationships. When you allow your boundaries to be violated, you also often end up lacking in time, money and self-care.
Examples of good boundaries:
- Having a schedule and sticking to it
- Being clear about your rate, services, and availability
- Agreeing on timelines
- Knowing your “No’s” – what is it that is a deal breaker for you, is not okay – and following through on it
- Taking care of yourself before you take care of others
What happens when you have good boundaries:
- You feel energized
- You feel clear
- You find you are taking better care of yourself
- Your relationships feel authentic
- You have time for things
- You feel abundant
- You are able to serve in more ways
- You enjoy life more
So, what do you do if you sense that you are allowing your boundaries to be crossed and violated? Here is my proven 4-part process for creating healthy and happy boundaries in your life:
Here is the process:
1. Identify the areas in your life are asking you to create better defined boundaries
It’s important to get as clear as possible with yourself when a boundary is being crossed. Name it and acknowledge it. These areas can include: broken deadlines by team members, a partner who always arrives 20 minutes late for plans, clients who reschedule at the last minute, children who consistently use your possessions when you ask them not to, bosses who demand you stay late at the office numerous times each week.
2. Get clear on the fears and held beliefs that are causing you to allow your boundaries to be violated
If you are having difficulties with boundaries, then it’s a sign that it’s time for you to up-level your self-love and confidence. Either someone else or you yourself are violating your boundaries because there is something you are scared of. Perhaps you feel you don’t deserve it, or you doubt if your services are worth it, or you’re scared to ask for your money on time because you think you’ll lose the client, or you feel you will sound aggressive if you ask your partner to be on time, or you’re scared that you’re friend will abandon you if you resist her passive-aggressive judgements.
It’s essential to identify the fear that is scaring you into being wishy washy about your boundaries so that you can heal the fear and move past it.
3. Name Your Needs
It’s a simple invitation, but surprisingly one that often gets overlooked. What is your actual need? For example, in the situation of a partner who is always late, perhaps your need is that he show up on time, or perhaps your need is that he call you if he is going to be late, or perhaps the need is simply for him to let you know that despite his lateness, the time he spends with you is very important to him.
Naming your needs allows you to move on to the foundation of healthy boundaries: getting your needs met!
4. Take intentional and firm action
Sometimes this will be a big action, sometimes a little action. What’s important that is as soon as you identify your needs, take action either with yourself or with the person they are in relationship with. This might mean creating a policies and procedures page or a contract for clients, or letting your mother know you’ll be getting off the phone anytime she complains to you, or sending an email out to your team about deadlines.
Now it’s your turn…start working on the areas of your life that could benefit from a healthy dose of boundary-strengthening so that you can uplevel and create heart-centered success!