I’m a recovering doormat.
People usually don’t believe me when I tell them that. But, it’s true.
Years ago, there was nothing I wouldn’t do to help friends and family and it did not matter if it came at my own expense… and most times, it did. Can you relate?
In my personal life and in my work, I see women, in particular, struggle with this. We are taught from birth that we must be #allthethings to #allthepeople.
Keep the peace. Don’t make them mad. Be seen and not heard. And we’ll all get along just fine.
That comes at a great cost to the well-being and self-esteem of a person.
It manifests in our lives in different ways. People-pleasing. Being a martyr. Playing the victim. Bullying or being bullied. Low standards. Sabotaging relationships, job, opportunities. Control freak. And it goes on.
And I was no different.
My drug of choice was helping people to excess.
The high was the approval and acceptance I got from them after I gave the help.
And, just like any other drug, you eventually have to take more and more to get your fix. Until you crash.
For me, that looked like resentment, anger, exhaustion and, eventually, burnout.
I even declared at a low point that I was quitting my coaching practice altogether.
So what’s the antidote to that poisonous drug?
The good news is, no matter your drug of choice, the cure for any of it is a strong set of boundaries that creates a healthy container from which to run your life.
Boundaries create the self-respect, self-acceptance and self-love that you need to have healthy self-esteem.
You can’t become healthy and whole without them.
This boundary thing isn’t new. We hear about this all the time, especially in the self-discovery realm.
It’s easy to come up with a list of things you won’t do anymore that will benefit your life – things like:
- Having a partner who does drugs or smokes is a deal-breaker for me…
- I will not agree to go to any parties or events where it isn’t a “Hell yes!” for me…
- I won’t take work home with me on weekends anymore…
And that is a great start. But, if you want to take this self-inquiry further, or you haven’t seen the change despite having pretty strong boundaries already, you might want to take a deeper dive.
Because, if we’re being honest here, it’s really the broader way we interact with our environments that is the issue. That’s where we can make the biggest strides in our boundary-setting.
I’ve identified 3 general areas that, as a culture, most of us are prone to act out. Here’s what you can do to effect massive change and uplevel your life once and for all:
Stop trying to control external conditions. Speaking as a former control freak, just the relinquishing of it can be a freeing act of love for yourself. We control because we are afraid our needs won’t be met. In some way, we are feeling out of control in our own lives and are struggling to keep things intact in as many areas as we can. This is an illusion. What actually happens is that we are even more out of control because we have given our power away to others, allowing their actions to dictate what happens in our lives. Strong boundaries and knowing your standards is the way to combat that.
Let go of your expectations of others. Think back. I bet money that in 100% of the cases where you were disappointed in life, it was because you had an expectation of someone or on something. Expectation comes from being attached to a certain outcome. This is why non-attachment is the ultimate way to freedom which you can read about here – strongly advised!! The only reason we look for a certain outcome is that we believe our happiness lies in it. It’s just to make us feel better. Non-attachment is the practice of allowing your well-being to rely solely on your own self-esteem rather than outside influences. Once you have that, you no longer need to place expectations on other people. Which is awesome news since it is not the responsibility of another human to make you happy!
Allow others to lead their own lives. This is similar to the first point. Set your own requirements and boundaries with loving-kindness and how people choose to show up to that is their own damn business. You make your decisions about who and what you give your time to based on how another person or experience shows up. Is what your seeing from them aligned with what you want? Does it take you further away from who you are or what you want to be? You can make your decision easily once you get that information because you know your standards and boundaries. You state your truth to a person and that person states theirs to you if they are also standing in their integrity. Not everybody will rise to that occasion but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your well-being because they are not yet capable of doing it. And it most certainly isn’t your obligation to help them get there.
The entire point of having boundaries and standards is that it sets you up for less drama, trauma and shame in your life so you can stand up for yourself and live in integrity.
If you aren’t going to stand up for yourself, who will?
Lead your own life. Live powerfully. Express yourself.
Hey, I have a question for you…
Are you a woman who would love a little more support in your life?
If yes, come join us in The Ladies’ Room!
It’s a private space I’m creating for women only where we can connect, support
and laugh with each other to up the happiness factor in our lives.
We’re growing a movement over there and would love to see you!
Curious? Click here to be added to the list. Then you’ll be among the
first to hear what’s going on in The Ladies’ Room!