This month I'm talking about setting limits/boundaries which reminded me of an old T-shirt I had years ago. On the front, it said "No Rules, Hardly Any Boundaries". The last time I remember wearing it was when I went white water rafting, which was fun beyond description! Isn't it great when one word (in this case boundaries) can bring back such a great memory? I love how the brain works.
Setting Limits: How to Say Yes to Yourself and No to Others by Jan Cerasaro
Read any magazine article or book about parenting and the author will advise the necessity of setting limits for children. “Set limits and stick to them,” parents are counseled. Limits (boundaries) create the structure and discipline that every child needs for a healthy upbringing.
But for adults—especially those who tend to view other people’s needs and wants as more important than their own—setting limits is more than an exercise in discipline; it’s a vital component in good self-care.
Consider Georgia. Her calendar is filled with one family event after another. A niece’s graduation followed by a great-uncle’s 75th birthday party followed by a tea her mother planned for an old family friend. Much as she loves her family, enough is enough. After a day at work and meeting her immediate family’s needs, she has hardly any time left for herself.
Or Michele who just barely gets started on 1 escrow before 2 more arrive. Then yet another 1 comes in. Sure, it’s great to have a lot of business but she is so backlogged Michele stays at the office every night till past nine and goes in on weekends as well.
Stephanie’s husband helped her build a studio for her photography in the garage then stored his fishing gear willy-nilly in whatever cabinet or cupboard he wanted.
By not setting limits, Georgia, Michele, and Stephanie are letting the needs and wants of others to come before their own well-being.
Sometimes it’s difficult to learn to care for ourselves as much as we care for others. Especially if we feel uncomfortable or guilty saying “no.” We may fear losing someone or something if we set limits on how much time we can give, work we can handle or if we claim space for ourselves. But always giving in to the requests or demands of others is plowing a field where resentments take seed. And failing to assert our needs and wants or to stand up for ourselves is disregarding our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Far from being selfish and mean, setting limits is a healthy act of self-respect.
Taking a firm stand might be difficult at first. But by being calm, clear, and direct—and without intentionally stepping on anybody’s toes—you can learn how to set limits and create the kind of balance in your life that honors your own needs and wants.
For Georgia, it meant coming up with compromises—she’d attend the great-uncle’s birthday party but drew the line at the niece’s graduation and her mother’s tea.
Michele had to realize that her health needed attention and her family needed her too, so she promised herself she would start going home earlier. Much to her surprise, by taking better care of herself she was still able to handle a high volume of work and keep her clients happy. Stephanie offered to help build additional storage space in the garage for her husband’s fishing equipment.
In each of these scenarios, far from losing something or someone they valued, by setting limits Georgia, Michele, and Stephanie got what they wanted or needed, took good care of themselves, and in the process gained a healthy amount of self-respect.
Author’s content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications
If setting boundaries is a challenge for you, you can find a lot of valuable insight and exercises in this book. It is called "Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free" by Nancy Levin and you can find it in print on Amazon (audible as well) or save money through Hay House for the paperback version.
As mentioned last month, for the lovely escrow people in my group, I will be presenting a webinar on March 17th for the American Escrow Association titled "Beating Burnout--How to Identify It and Prevent It". Watch for the emails coming from AEA. Would love to have you join us.
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