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4 Powerful Ways To Create Boundaries That Work

Updated: Jul 2, 2023


Woman meditating on a cliff near the beach

We have all heard of the term “people pleaser” at some point in life. Perhaps you’ve said this about yourself from time to time. Some of you may be living in this frustrating pattern without even realizing just how it may be robbing you of your time, sleep, joy, health, and sanity.


Imagine if you were able to stop giving in to every request, learn to say ‘No’ lovingly and firmly, and stop putting up with difficult people and situations without feeling bad. When we think of boundaries, it may initially sound scary and overwhelming, yet there are a few practical ways to create them without losing your dignity in the process.


We continue to stand on our heads so the world will be ok.


Aubrey's Story


It’s been another long day. It started at 6 a.m with getting the kids off to school, work and clients, deadlines, picking up the kids, and finally home. Aubrey is about to sit down on the couch, and just when she’s comfortable her mom calls. This woman knows how to push her buttons and she finds herself listening to her rant about her life, barely listening to her and are subject to her stinging remarks. She’s also constantly asking for help with things she’s capable of doing on her own. Aubrey feels her stomach tighten and her neck stiffen. There’s that old familiar energy-sucking feeling again! She finally jumps up pissed, drained, and now in a foul mood. She sighs, and somehow wishes she could stand up to this woman, and cannot figure out WHY she lets her ruin her evening. It’s just easier to not create a fight! Does this sound familiar?


OUTCOME

When Aubrey eventually checked in with herself. She felt overwhelmed and triggered by her mother’s remarks. She eventually learned that her peace of mind, time to herself and need to be talked to with respect became more important than her desire to please her mother. Because of our work together, she was able to lovingly and firmly tell her mom “Mom “I” really want to be asked about more, and when I’m not “I” feel invisible on our calls. I also need for you to refrain from any comments that aren’t uplifting. Lastly, my schedule is busy and if you need to figure something out I need you to call a professional or someone else to help you out.” She felt incredibly empowered and her relationship began to shift dramatically! Her mom knew that in order to be in Aubrey’s life, she would need to be treated with respect. Aubrey naturally felt empowered, confident, and ready to reclaim her time back! After years of frustrating interaction and coaching support, she finally could listen to her own feelings and stop pleasing her mom.


Powerful Tool #1Honoring your feelings and needs

We all have needs and as Marshall Rosenburg, founder of non-violent communication says, we have needs that are either getting met or not getting met. When they are not getting met, conflict arises in our relationships and ourselves. When we can tap into our needs, the solutions become a lot more clear.


Process

A.) Take a few deep breaths and place your attention on your heart space. Ask yourself what am I feeling? Example: Frustrated or invalidated. Next, ask yourself what need do you have that is not getting met. Example: A need to be heard or appreciated.


B.) Take your feelings and needs relative to the situation and write them down. Preparing to bring them up to a particular person. This could look like: "Mom, when we are on the phone and i"m not asked about, I feel invalidated and I have a need for you to ask about me and just listen. (Keep it in the 'I') otherwise, the listener may feel attacked.


C.) Practice this in the mirror a few times or out loud. Just stating your feelings, needs and requests will help you to get in touch with them easier. Sometimes this process will need to be done after a triggered moment as you begin this process.


Powerful Tool #2 Is this an Emergency?

Asking yourself is the request that's being asked of you by your kids, boss, friend, or partner one that will harm anyone if you are to say no, not right now or later when you feel in a better place. This helps to not always impulsively say yes to others out of habit or obligation. It gives you time and space to feel your feelings and needs and see if the timing feels right for you.


Powerful Tool #3 Agreements vs. Expectations


When we don’t have clear agreements with people, then it’s easy to fall into disappointment with expectations. Expectations can literally make our lives a living hell, filled with trying to mind read and assume, then comes disappointment when they aren’t met. We get tangled in what we should or shouldn’t do and we are left pissed off! Creating said agreements is great whether at home, with your kids, or spouse, and even helps to set the tone at work.


Powerful Tool #4 Take Action and Ask For What You Need

When you first begin the work of stating your needs, declaring your boundaries, and saying no, it may feel a bit awkward. That’s ok, allow yourself grace as you assert yourself and begin to taste the benefits of what true self-respect feels like! Others WILL catch on pretty quickly and you will begin to see your relationships transform in every area of your life. Most importantly, you will finally respect yourself. It’s imperative to evoke self-trust. You deserve to take care of yourself, and at the end of the day, no one is going to do this for you!

Practice stating your feelings, needs, and requests. The next step is bringing them to the specific person.


Do your best to focus on why it's important and your values. Don't allow the possible reaction from the other person to throw you off. We need to remember other people get to have their experience and their reaction is about them. Plus as the saying goes,

"The answer is always a no unless you ask!" Trust, trust, and bring in more trust knowing that the end result will be empowering to not have to live in fear and to finally speak up for yourself in a clear, respectful way.


To learn the simple step-by-step process of my 3 other Powerful Tools grab your copy of my E-book below!




Jennifer Connery

Spiritual Empowerment Coach

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