Tag Archives: self

5 Reasons Why You Need Boundaries in Your Relationships and Life

Have you been feeling drained, tired, stressed out, and exhausted?  Do you feel under appreciated, unseen, and unsupported?  If so, it may be that you need to learn how to set some boundaries in your life and relationships.

So why exactly do you need boundaries in your relationships and life?  Here are 5 reasons:

#1 – They give you a sense of self

When we don’t have boundaries in our lives it implies that we don’t have a solid sense of self.  We will tend to take on other people’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, and values rather than to have our own.  This is commonly referred to as enmeshment.

When we are enmeshed with another person it means that there is no distinct boundary between you and another person.  There is very little sense as to where one person ends and the other begins.  One or both people will then have difficulty identifying their own unique individual experience and how it differs from the other person.

When this is present, it implies difficulty in differentiation from a parent in early childhood.  This doesn’t mean that it is “good” or “bad”, as it is quite common for most people to have experienced it at least somewhat in their development.

Being enmeshed can be very stressful, draining, and overwhelming.  Relationships can easily get “messy” and a person can feel like they have no control over themselves or anything in their lives.  As a result, a person’s natural tendency would then be to try to control other people, which is codependent.

Learning to recognize our own internal experience and then setting boundaries in a way that honors our internal experience, helps us solidify our sense of self with the external world.  It also helps create less stress and more balance in our relationships.

#2 – You are able to decide how you want to be treated by others

When we have boundaries we are able to effectively tell a bully that we will not tolerate their behavior.  We are able to leave a relationship that isn’t serving us in what we know is in our highest good.  When we have boundaries, we are able to enter into relationships that do support us in our own personal growth and healing.

#3 – You are able to make life decisions that serve and support you

When we have boundaries, we are able to say “no” to that job that is potentially wearing us out by working overtime for little pay.  We are able to say “yes” to taking new career path without getting locked into feelings of guilt or “what other people will think”. 

#4 – You are able to make choices that are better for your health and well-being

By having boundaries, we are also able to make better choices for our own health and well-being.  We are able to say “no” to smoking that cigarette or having a glass of wine and, instead, say “yes” to having some green juice and going to the gym.  We are more aware that we’re going to feel shitty after eating that brownie, so we’re able to turn away and eat something healthier.

#5 – You feel empowered

When set boundaries in our lives, we feel more connected with ourselves and more in control of our lives.  We are able to live for ourselves, rather than through this desire to please other people.  We are able to be in relationships that are healthy, balanced, and equal.  And we have the ability to create a life for ourselves that we’ve always dreamed of.

BoundariesConnectedControl

Click to Tweet: When set boundaries, we are able to feel more connected with ourselves and more in control of our lives. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

How will learning to set boundaries in your life support you in creating a miraculous life for yourself?  Share it in the comments below!

The Simple Shift in Communication That Will Transform Your Relationships

Relationships are complex. In fact, I’d actually go so far as to say that they are probably one of the most complex things in this world. There’s a lot of different aspects and dynamics to take into consideration when trying to improve relationships.

Yet, despite the intense complexity, there are some super simple shifts in communication that we can make in order to transform the dynamics of our relationships.

The one that I am going to address today is probably one of the most important. It has nothing to do with changing your communication in order to accommodate to the other person. In fact, it has little do do with others at all. Rather, it all boils down to you being able to really focus on you.

The simple shift in communication? To speak in a way that uses the word “I” or “me” in order to clearly state how you feel to others.

For those of us that are people pleasers, this simple little change in communication can be very difficult because we are so familiar and comfortable with focusing on other people rather than ourselves. It is also likely that we are surrounded by friends and family members who focus predominantly on others as well, so it is harder for us to make the change. However, when conscious effort is made it can make a huge difference in clearly establishing where another person ends and you begin.

Many of us are walking around talking about or complaining about other people and things. We spend all of our energy saying thinks like “Jack didn’t do X, Y, Z” or “Sally has Z going on in her life now” but we never actually say what is going on with ourselves. Rarely do we ever simply talk about us.

Not only that, but in the moments when we are attempting to refer to our own experience we talk in general terms like “Dealing with X was so frustrating”. Other times we state our frustrations but focus completely on the other person by saying something like “Jake is such a pain. He never gets his work done in time”.

Other times, we may even do the thing that’s even worse: We refer to the other person when we really mean to be talking about ourselves (I used to be terrible at this). We may do this by saying something like “You know, dealing with Maggie is very stressful” or “You know how hard it is.”

When we express our frustrations and emotions like this we are actually detaching ourselves from our own personal experience. In other words, our way of communication basically telling the world, “I’m not owning my own experience. I’m not acknowledging how I’m feeling. I’m not taking personal responsibility for my own experience.” Rather, we focus on the experience of the other person when what we should really be doing is identifying how we feel and what is difficult for us.

communication

So what does this shift in communication look like in context? Here are some examples:

“My mom keeps ticking me off. She keeps complaining about X, Y, Z and doing…” can instead be “I feel so stressed and upset because my mom does…”

“My ex-boyfriend had so many problems that I didn’t even know how to deal with it…” can turn into “Dating my ex-boyfriend was really hard for me, because…”

“There’s so much work I have to do for school. Why do they have to give us so much work?” can turn into “I feel overwhelmed with all of the schoolwork I have to do right now.”

Ultimately, it’s not very proactive to continuously talk about other people and how they are impacting us. It’s more proactive to simply state how we feel and express our own experience by expressing it using “I” or “me” in our sentences and to state how we feel.

By doing this, we actually open the door to allow ourselves to receive the very thing that we desire deep down: Emotional support and understanding.

Upon making these types of statements to clearly stating how this experience impacts us, we can then take the next step and (if others are open to it) say what we need right now. That can simply be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or advice.

Being clear, open, and honest about how you feel through your communication with others can really help transform an imbalanced relationship into a balanced and supportive one.

Today, I challenge you…

… to start focusing more on how you feel and to begin to share your experiences by using the words “I” and “me” and to state how you feel.

Get out a pen and paper or journal. Write down a stressful or difficult event or experience from this past week that you have had that you shared with someone.

How did you tell this person the story about your experience? Did you mostly talk about other people involved? Did you say things like “you know”?

Now imagine as if you went back in time to the moment that you shared your story with this person. How could you have told this story differently? How did you feel during this initial event? Stressed? Sad? Upset? Angry? Frustrated? Anxious? Irritated? Write down three sentences that you could have said instead using the words “I” and “me” to describe your initial feelings.

Next time you find yourself in conversation with someone sharing stories try to be conscious of your words when you speak. Try using the words “I” or “me” more often.

*Note: Be easy on yourself when doing this. It will be easier around some people and more difficult in others. That’s okay. It’s a journey and takes a lot of practice. There will likely be times where you reflect back and catch yourself not saying things the way you wanted to say it – that’s okay! The effort is what counts.

Share your thoughts, comments, questions, and realizations below!

Why Embracing Our Inner Child Transforms Our Lives & How to Start NOW

A few days ago I traveled back east to spend Christmas at home. This has actually been a pretty big deal for me because this is the first Christmas that I get to spend back home in three years. The last two years I spent abroad in East Asia where there was virtually no Christmas decorations or “Christmas spirit” to be found.

Not only did it lack in the whole “Christmas spirit” department, but it hardly ever snowed there and, if it did, it was the kind of snow that only lasted for a few hours or a day and melted. It certainly wasn’t anything that anyone could sled on, make a snowman with, or really enjoy in any real way.

So the other night it began to snow and it carried on through the morning. It wasn’t too much or two little – just right. And even if it was less or more I still would’ve felt excited and filled with gratitude for being able to experience snow: the crunch of snow under my boots, the white snow covering the bare tree branches, and the sight and feel of snowflakes falling.

Despite my own elation and appreciation, I quickly began to hear all the natives who haven’t lived in other locations that don’t get snow start the classic complaints of: “Why do people have to drive like idiots in the snow?!” or “Darn now I have to shuffle the driveway!”

I guess that’s just a mere representation of the irony that is our common way of living: We wish we had the things we don’t have rather than to simply accept and appreciate the things we do have. It seems that it is not until we actually experience not having something that we really allow ourselves to genuinely appreciate and enjoy it.

But this was not always case. We weren’t always this bitter. When we were kids seeing snow falling outside the window would make us so incredibly excited. We would run to the coat rack and and try to bundle up as quickly as possible just so we could try to catch snowflakes on our tongue before the snow stopped falling.

As adults, do we ever do that? No, because we are putting so much more energy into disliking what is happening rather than simply enjoying it. We reject what is happening rather than to accept it and move with the flow of what is happening. And to top that off – we may also have an internal inner critic telling us not to do really enjoy it and “play” because we are “adults” and that’s a “childish” thing to do. We tell ourselves that only kids can excited over such little things and enjoy it.

As a result, we don’t really allow ourselves to be joyful and excited or sad. We ignore and repress either emotion, so what we do express is negativity and complaints.

That’s one of the big differences between children and adults. As children, we acted out of impulse. We were present. We accepted the moment and lived out of the present moment. As a result, we were easily excited and joyful and if something upset us we cried right then and there and then let it go.

We didn’t hold on to and repress all these emotions. We expressed them in the moment. As a result, we were more in touch with our true sense of self – all because we were young and we weren’t filled with a ton of unexpressed emotional baggage.

As adults however, we are often rejecting what is happening rather than accepting it. Then we’re wishing that things were like they were in the “good ol’ days” or hoping that things will get better in the future.

Clearly, focusing primarily on the past or future is an illusion that only keeps us trapped in this miserable cycle of unhappiness. It causes us to feel disconnected from our true selves. And so, we are unhappy and we don’t know how to fulfill ourselves. As a result, we fall into habits to gain false short-term satisfactions by becoming consumed with material items, alcohol, drugs, TV shows, our relationships, and so on. In other cases, we may feel the need to have kids because, deep down, we know that our children possess the tremendous amount of excitement, joy, and love that we ourselves are lacking.

So how can we start to truly embrace our inner child and feel more reconnected to our true selves as adults?

Focus on the present moment.

Though it may not make sense right away, everything happens out of the present moment. Nothing ever happens in the past or future – it is always in the present. The present moment is the only thing that is actually real.

Something that happened 10 years ago is over. It’s done. It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t impact the present moment – at least not if you cause it to impact the present. It’s when we allow the past or future to impact the present that it negatively effects us because it takes us away from what is happening right in front of us.

Change can happen only in the present moment. As children, we did this naturally because we had no past or future to think about, so in order to reconnect, we must focus on being present.

Cry.

Seriously – when someone or something upsets you, cry. All of our negative emotions – fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, etc. all stem back to a sense of suffering and sadness. Now, I’m not saying just go off and force yourself to cry over every bad thing that happens to do (that can take you out of the present). Rather, when the emotion comes up to just let it out and cry then cry. As children we naturally did this, but as adults we often don’t let ourselves do this because we tell ourselves it may not be “socially appropriate” (a common thing that we were “shamed” for as children). But the truth is that by expressing it in that moment you’ll feel better.

If you’re concerned about others seeing you, there are ways to cry in public places without really drawing much attention to yourself (sunglasses, bathroom break, etc.). And even if someone does see you, so what?

Also, it’s worth noting that you won’t always cry over bad things. We cry over good and joyful things as well. If that comes up, then allow it to happen. I’ve found that allowing ourselves to simply cry really allows us to process what we need to in order to heal and release what we need to release.

Play!

Be spontaneous. Be creative. Have fun! Take a go dancing or take a Zumba class. Start a new craft. Take a trip. Build a snowman. Go sledding. Paint, color, or draw. Play softball. Sing or play a musical instrument.

Put forth the effort to “play” every day. And if you catch yourself making the excuse of “I don’t have time”, then shut off the TV. Make it a pact that rather than watch any TV, you will “play” instead. When we allow ourselves to “play” we can begin to become more aligned with our inner child’s natural way of being.

InnerChild

Start Embracing Your Inner Child NOW!

In what ways have you been keeping yourself away from the present moment? In what activities or situations can you start to be more presently engaged?

What kinds of emotions have you been repressing? What kinds of things should you just let yourself “cry” about?

How can you start implementing more “play” into your life? What kinds of activities can you start doing that you’ve always wanted to do but you have never done?

Share in the comments below! I’d love to help you on your journey!