I recently heard an interview with a successful psychotherapist, who was asked if handling the emotional demands of her patients ever got exhausting. And without missing a beat, she replied, it’s not exhausting when you have proper boundaries.
What a brilliant insight. Not just for mental health professionals, but for anyone who wants to take control of their life.
I struggled with setting boundaries for many years. Until I finally realized, wait a sec, if the level of help somebody is asking me to offer isn’t proportionate with the type of relationship I have with them, it’s okay to say no. What liberating realization.
And so, I now have an arsenal of tools to set boundaries in almost every situation:
Not responding to every magnet for my attention. Setting time limits on certain activities. Opting out of receiving irrelevant information. Booking blank time on my calendar each week. Protecting my thinking from unhelpful feedback by not giving everybody a backstage pass to my dream. Leaving the room for ten minutes and having a honesty pow wow before making a major decision. Rejecting attractive opportunities that are wrong for me. Putting my phone on airplane mode, even when I’m not on an airplane. Establishing daily non negotiables and sticking to them. Subverting obligations I find silly and boring. Engaging my backbone to be a public spokesperson for my values. Telling people that what they’re doing is not okay with me. Honoring my constitution instead of placating people’s insecurities. Making it abundantly clear to the marketplace what my business is the antithesis of.
In short, teaching people how to treat me. Letting the world know that my heart has limits. And doing so without guilt, shame or regret.
Boundaries are saviors.
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Who in your life is asking you to create a future that you’re going to feel obligated to be a part of?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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