1) Start with Small Boundaires
A lot of self-help people tell you to get better boundaries and it is very all of nothing thinking. You’ll often hear: “just start saying no”, “no is a complete sentence”, “put yourself first”, or “it’s okay to say no”. In reality, it is not very realistic if you are a people pleaser, you care a lot about other people, and you worry about what people think – it just won’t be easy with that starting point.
So, instead, let’s treat it like it is – It is a process. There is a misconception that having boundaries is going to just magically cure your problems and that you can do it with a snap of the finger. However, we have to practice new habits and cultivate new ways of being in a sustainable way.
Boundaries are about simply learning the process of putting yourself first and they are not selfishly shutting out the outside world and ignoring everyone. Yes, that might happen in your process, you might suddenly stop putting everyone else first for a while and isolate yourself to get yourself back in gear and recover your energy… but for the most part you will want to start small.
To start small, start with learning what feels best for you.
It’s not as easy as just saying no if you are a people pleaser and high achiever. Instead, start practicing once a week at having good boundaries. Eventually you will be in touch with what you want and don’t want. Follow your gut, start small, boundaries are hard and it’s not going to be so all or nothing.
2. Find Your Balance:
Having people like you and trying to be a good person is not a bad thing. Trying to be selfless and trying to help others, that is great. People pleasing, when you sacrifice your own needs for the benefit of others can be seen as heroic. But if you get to the point when you are burning out and putting yourself so far last that your needs are not met at all is not good. That’s what leads to toxic relationships where someone is taker and someone else is too much of a giver – these uneven dynamics exacerbate your imbalance.
So is people pleasing bad? I don’t want people to think they have to develop so many boundaries that they have to shut out everyone. There is a balance. There is people pleasing when you are putting everyone’s needs before your own and then there is having boundaries where you say yes occasionally when you want to, you treat others with respect, but you still treat yourself with respect too. Find that balance.
How does one do that?
Decide what is a heck no and what is a heck yes. If you are an extrovert, you may have a lot more heck yes responses to social events. But, you run the risk of ignoring the subtle nos. If you are an introvert, you may be pushing yourself too far with social activity.
Ask yourself the question: Is this a heck yes? If you’re answer is no, then you likely do not want to do it.
3. Stop Self-abandoning
It’s likely that you follow me because you’re a people pleaser, high achieve, something of that sort. A lot of us, when we high achieve, we people please, we have perfectionism, we have crippling anxiety around failure, we burnout a lot because we overextend ourselves. In all of those scenarios, you’re abandoning yourself.
So, are you self abandoning? If so, how do you fix it? If all else fails and you cannot quite muster up the strength to put yourself first, ask yourself this question around self-abandonment. No one wants to abandon anyone they care about. So, why are you abandoning yourself?
One last final point: The reason why you should have boundaries is because your energy is important, and you can only do as best as your energy allows. If you keep giving your energy to others and not yourself, you will have no energy left for yourself. This creates a vicious cycle of no energy.
We’ve got to get to a place where we are vibing with our own frequency, we are not running away from ourselves to other things and other people to distract ourselves – The true joy in life, the true wow of life is with vibing in the energy of what we bring to the table in our unique stride.
Let’s start catching ourselves in the moments when we want run from us and choose others and perfection over ourselves, and let’s start choosing ourselves over other people.
Ask yourself more often: What do I want right now?
Feel like you need more help setting boundaries or working through your burnout? Let’s talk about it! Set up a time to chat with me here.