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Drawing Boundaries is an Essential Skill for Getting What You Want

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If you’d like to learn how to implement boundaries in your everyday life so you can be fulfilled, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


How many times have we all caved and immediately said yes to something we didn’t really want to do? Then, we either do the thing begrudgingly, or we give it our all and resent it every step of the way. Martyrdom will not get you what you want, but it will give you hemorrhoids. A U.S. Supreme Court justice once famously said that your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. A lack of boundaries is self-sabotage, and your inability to draw them will seriously obstruct you from getting your heart’s desires.

Establishing boundaries is an essential skill if you want to be fulfilled. Below, I’ll share some tips that will help you start implementing boundaries in your everyday life:

1. Get Clear on the Yes Behind the No

Let’s start with a basic technique for drawing a line in the sand that also incorporates a golden one-liner. A brilliant, fundamental phrase with three simple words is “No, thank you.” 

Why is this phrase so hard for some of us to say?! All you people pleasers, all you go-along-to-get-alongers, I get it. I relate. Saying no can be difficult. Yet, when you get clear on what you’re actually saying yes to, it gets a whole lot easier. 

The next time someone asks, “Will you volunteer for this committee?” take a moment to pause and think through what you really want. Before you utter a single, solitary word, and before they pounce on you, ask yourself, “If I don’t want to volunteer, what am I saying yes to? My self-respect? My integrity? Investing my time in a better opportunity? Ensuring my value?” Getting clarity on what you’re saying yes to is crucial for increasing your confidence and saying no with conviction. 

Maybe by saying no to volunteering, you are saying yes to more hours with your kids or more time to exercise. You might possibly be saying yes to less stress and more energy to complete an important project. Perhaps you’re saying yes to some sorely needed time to unwind. 

Saying no does not require an explanation, nor does it require an apology, but it does require clarity. This clarity comes from knowing exactly what you’re saying yes to. To set good boundaries, ask yourself, “What are my negotiables and non-negotiables? What might I need to say no to? And what does that mean I’m saying yes to instead?” 

Once you get clear on the yes behind the no, it’s much easier to say it without apologizing, delaying a commitment that you don’t ever want to fulfill, or saying yes resentfully.

“When you say ‘Yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘No’ to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

2. Know When To Say No (to Yourself)

Setting boundaries doesn’t always require a verbal no. It can be a quiet, internal awareness of your limits and your own unique operating system. What you need and want is to best manage an optimal and highly functioning you. 

Do you know how to set limits with others as well as yourself? Do you know when to say yes and when to say no to yourself? Knowing when to say no is not the same as being able to say no. Fully knowing that we are separate from others helps us honor our own individual needs. It also makes it easier to filter out all the noise and take care of yourself. 

Can you hear your own needs and desires above the din of family, friends, neighbors, online posts, advertising campaigns, and well-intentioned soul-suckers? Can you feel your desires and needs through the screen of guilt, fear, or wanting to be liked? 

Setting boundaries is accepting the assignment of managing and caring for your own well-being. You are 100 percent responsible for your choices, decisions, and actions. When you can’t say no to the requests, demands, and pressures of others, you are no longer practicing self-care but other-care. When you can’t say yes to the self-care you need, such as time to refuel, reset, or rest, you’ve stopped accepting responsibility for self-love.

When you have clarity on where another person’s space ends and where your sense of self begins, establishing boundaries gets a whole lot easier. 

3. Stop Feeling Guilty

When you feel guilty because you believe you should say yes, should agree, should help out, you’re no longer in self-control and self-management, but rather self-denial, and in some cases self-abuse. You tell yourself,” A good person helps. David needs me. Jane shouldn’t do this alone. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” 

Even when you perceive that you are sacrificing your wants for the wants of others, it doesn’t necessarily make you generous or a responsible adult. However, it can make you question why you aren’t happier or why you feel empty or unfulfilled. It can make you wonder why you often feel lonely and left out or underappreciated and disrespected. It can result in your being stretched too thin or feeling exhausted.

Until you start to see that so-and-so isn’t actually making you do anything without your willing consent, you will never practice the discipline of self-care and self-love. Learning to draw lines in the sand is a fundamental skill of getting what you want.

It doesn’t mean you never help others. It means that you take care of yourself so that you, as your most awesome self, can go out and make a positive difference.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

4. Their Reaction Is Out of Your Hands

You may be thinking, “That’s great, but what if they don’t cave so easily? What if they snarl and bite and say horrible things in reaction to my offer or request?” Let them. Inoculate yourself against their choices. You’re not responsible for their reactions. You are responsible for creating the life you want. One hundred percent responsible. 

The next time they throw a temper tantrum or behave egregiously, you might say in response to their tantrum, “Thank you for validating my request. As we can both see, it’s more than understandable.” 

Warning: this response won’t have them sitting up, smiling, and waiting for you to toss them a treat and say, “Good boy!” What it will do is let them know you respect yourself enough to have boundaries, and you won’t tolerate being pulled into their mess.

5. Install a Gate

Setting a boundary is not about building some huge, impenetrable wall. It’s about installing a gate. You can walk through it when you want. You can come and go as you please. 

With a gate, you can easily hand out the security code to a few folks and you can deny it to others. If need be, you can change the code. In other words, there are times you will say yes. There are times you will step up, not out of resentful obligation, but because you genuinely want to lend a hand. 

Then, there are times you will focus on yourself, without guilt, without fear, and without worrying that somehow you will be punished for prioritizing self-love. Taking care of yourself, showing yourself that you matter, and working through your resistance to setting boundaries is a splendid way to help yourself get whatever you want. 

How do you set boundaries in your daily lives? Share your advice and thoughts with us in the comments!

Amy K Hutchens is an international award-winning speaker, Amazon bestselling author, and has over nineteen years of experience in training and consulting with clients such as The Home Depot, Starbucks Canada, Comerica Bank, Expedia, Lockheed Martin, Securian Financial, Walmart, John Paul Mitchell Systems, and hundreds more. AmyK travels the globe sharing with executives, influencers, and go-getters how to navigate their toughest conversations. AmyK received her MS from Johns Hopkins University, and has been a featured guest on numerous TV and radio networks including Bloomberg, NBC, Fox, and ABC. She resides in San Diego, California.

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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Life

Practicing Self-Devotion: 3 Ways Towards a More Mindful and Compassionate You

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I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers telling me “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to give time and energy towards what we want. As a young, impressionable child, I believed all those things because well, they made sense. They worked. And honestly, I felt like it’s the only way to flourish. (more…)

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