Know Your Limits! By: Carol the Coach

Are you moving too fast?  Is there something depleting you of your energy?  If something is draining, then it is preventing good things from coming into your life.  Life is about balance, and when too much energy is spent in one area, you have little time to devote to other areas that might be more replenishing to you.  Did you know when you feel good about how you spend your time; good things will happen to reinforce your energy and happiness?   Conversely, when you’re constantly depleted of energy, you won’t get to move toward goals that keep you feeling good about life.

I frequently work with clients on eliminating stresses that drain them of their energy.  Is there something in your life that you would like to “wish away”?  Clients often complain, “I wish I didn’t have to work two jobs.”  “I wish I wasn’t on that committee.” “I wish I didn’t have to have so much sex.” “I wish I didn’t have to live with my parents”. 

You do have the power to make your life different, but it requires sitting down, strategizing, and creating goals.  They can be small or large; if you don’t get help with housework you won’t have time to read that book that feeds your soul.  If you don’t give up being the top producer in the company, you won’t have the opportunity to explore other job opportunities that might bring you more happiness, self-worth or peace.   If you don’t get out of the addictive relationship you won’t ever meet that person who can be your companion for life. 

If an “I wish” statement frequently creeps into your conscience, it’s there for a reason and needs to be honored.  How do you do this?

·         When you write things down it is more likely that you will make it happen so write down            what you need to eliminate.

·         Spend some time in quiet reflection. When you quiet your thoughts, you are more likely               to intuitively know what to do.

·         Notice the feeling that you experience behind issue and spend some quiet time writing              about it as you will likely be able to link up the feeling to what you want less of in your               life.

·         Ask yourself how you can eliminate it or make it more manageable?

·         Brainstorm all possible solutions. They don’t have to be reasonable but usually when you            allow the creativity of problem solving to occur it opens up the opportunity to find the               solution.

·         Regardless of your fears, pick a potential solution.

Commit to practicing this new behavior and watch for signs that your life feels more manageable. It is not selfish to know your limitations and to honor them. When you say no more often and learn to manage situations it can allow you to decide what you need to take care of yourself and your life. The secret to a healthy life is doing what you enjoy and lessening life’s burdens especially if  tis repetition and makes you feel like you are spinning your wheels and not effecting change in your job, with your friends or within your family.

It takes courage to set up limits and create the life you deserve so spend time looking at what depletes you of your precious energy and take the risk to speak up or organize your life differently so that you can spend time concentrating on things that truly take your life to the next level!

 

Carol the Coach: Know Your Boundaries

 

 

It is human nature to want to change other people.  Clients frequently come in seeking advice about how to get another person to change.  They either complain that their loved one’s behavior has changed for the worse or that they had hoped their behavior WOULD change and it has not.  The naïve part of them believed that they could get them to change.  If you are faced with this dilemma you have two choices—either you need to accept them exactly as they are, or YOU do the changing yourself. 

Reinhold Niebuhr says it best in The Serenity Prayer:

            God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

This saying is a guideline for improving the quality of your relationships with others.  Stated simply, we can’t change others, we can only change ourselves.  The easiest way to do that is to work on our own personal sense of boundaries. 

Boundaries are important.  They help you define who you are by setting limits. They help you to determine what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable.  You may not be able to control the behavior, but you can control how you handle a situation.  It empowers you to teach others what you will tolerate or accept in their behavior.  Invariably, when I help people to establish better boundaries they are less affected by others.  They handle situations better and feel a greater sense of control.

 

People come into the office with common problems that require a shift in their boundaries:

  • A woman’s boyfriend is dependent on her.  She supports him financially and pays for their apartment, their utilities, and all of their meals.  She can’t make him get a better job or get him to offer to pay for dinner, but she can tell him that she is no longer going to be his bank and from now on he will be expected to contribute a weekly sum to their apartment and utilities or he will have to leave. 
  • A parent describes a teen that is disrespectful, sneaks out of the house and takes money from his parents.  This parent can set consequences; call the authorities, walk away, stop providing privileges.  
  • The boss expects you to work 80 hours per week to compensate for the shortage of staff or the increased workload.  The employee can discuss with the boss the need for more manpower or request that work be delegated to others.  If the requests are ignored, the employee can either begin to go home at the appropriate times and create his own boundaries or look for a new job. 

 

As you can see, the consequences don’t mean that you get the outcome that you want; it just means that you have set guidelines for yourself to be respected. 

 

When people get good at setting healthy boundaries they begin to see that others respond to them with a new sense of respect.  Inevitably, when you change your behavior it does change the situation.  Healthy boundaries keep you from doing too much or from being mistreated.

 

What boundaries need adjusting in your life?   Do you have a particular situation that causes you great discomfort?  Make a list of healthy versus unhealthy behaviors that you need to work on. And then decide how you can change your behavior.  The quality of your life depends on it!