Tag: self esteem

Personal Boundaries: Where Do You Draw the Line?

  • Do you have a hard time saying “no” to people in your personal life space?
  • Do you find yourself agreeing to do things with and for certain people in your life, so as not to rock the boat in that relationship?
  • Do you have any insights into your behavior within that relationship or is it a conditioned response you’ve grown so accustomed to, that you don’t think to question it?
  • Do you have a hard time setting boundaries in your personal or perhaps even your business relationships?
  • If so why is that?
  • Do you lack self esteem and need the validation from others to feel good about yourself?
  • Do you agree and do whatever they may ask of you for fear of feeling rejected or abandoned by them if you don’t comply?

Boundaries are an absolutely critical component needed for creating and maintaining satisfying and respectful relationships in our daily lives, both personal and professional. The question is, “Why are these boundaries so difficult for many of you to uphold when even the smallest of triggers presents itself?

At the core of this personal boundaries dilemma is your relationship with yourself.

How do you treat yourself? Are you in denial of your need for self love, or do you just not care enough about yourself to bother taking care of you? I’m going to guess that at least some of you are far more mindful of other people in your life than you are of yourself. Your relationship partner, children, parents, and even friends really enjoy the way that you care for them and have perhaps learned to expect it from you.

But where do you draw the line or do you not draw it at all?

Do you find the courage to say, “No, I can’t do this for you,” or, “I just don’t really want to do it today”? Or do you simply blow up at someone when you just can’t take it anymore because you feel so overwhelmed with all the demands placed upon you by them and others in your daily life?

There are a lot of important questions to ponder here. I hope you take some time to answer them for yourself and then decide what you want to do about creating more mindful and respectful boundaries with the people in your life.

The best place to start is with yourself:

  1. It’s truly ok to show yourself some love. Even if you don’t feel it, act as if you do and then see how you like it. Pretend that you are someone special and treat yourself as such for one whole day. From pampering to positive self talk, give yourself the works from the inside out. At the end of that day, sit back relax and reflect. How was it for you? If you enjoyed it, why do you not do this daily? Why do you not treat yourself with the respect you deserve each and every day of your life?
  2. Stop being dependent on others for attention that will feed your starving sense of self. You don’t like yourself, so you figure if other people respond to you in positive ways, it might influence you to like yourself even a little bit or perhaps not to dislike yourself as much you already do. For many of you, the reason you do this is that you lack self esteem and a feeling of self worth, which is reflected in your lack of personal boundaries.
  3. Take back your power if you are truly fed up with this way of living. You can do this if you decide that you are ready to make a change in your life. It’s not an easy task, but changing daily life habits that influence your negative self talk will help a lot.
  4. Get off your butt and go to the gym even if you don’t want to. Plan your workout in advance if your able and if not, ask for help or invest in a few training sessions to get you started. There are great apps to use in the gym, many of which are free. Exercise is a critical component in shifting the way you feel about yourself from the inside out. Before going to the gym, put on some fresh gym clothes that you feel good in. You know… the ones you bought and wore only once because you felt too conspicuous in them, after which you shoved them back in the drawer and got out the potato sack you always wear if you do decide to go to the gym or the park for a run. No more! Wear gym clothes that make you feel and look beautiful and confident to yourself first.
  5. Clean up your diet. You know enough about nutrition to understand that the junk food you eat daily influences the way you feel and think, but you feel like crap right now, so you decided that eating junk foods daily is the way to go. Stop it right now. If you need some suggestion on what to eat, consult Google university or send me your questions and I’ll be happy to answer them for you. There are indeed foods to eat that influence endorphins, and also improve your mood and digestion. You can unlearn these shitty habits the same way you learned them. Twenty one days of different food choices should take care of that problem. I didn’t say this was easy, but I am saying that it’s doable. You just have to want to. And if you need some added support, reach out to me in the comments below or via email and perhaps I can be of help if you feel that you need it.

Where do you draw the line?

The answer is:

I draw the line in a place that is respectful of myself and my own needs on a given day. If I’ve taken care of myself first and am comfortable in giving you what you are asking of me today, then it’s all good because I’m not dependant upon your response to determine my self worth.

It’s really ok to say “NO” to others and “YES” to yourself and your self esteem. Go on try it! I bet you might even enjoy it!

edge of the mountain

The Edge of My Mountain

I open my office to welcome her. A warm transparent smile draws attention away from the sad expression that adorns her hazel eyes as she extends her hand toward me. She has shoulder length auburn hair with several wisps of grey interwoven around her face, as well as the back of her head. I take notice of it as we enter the office where we will spend the next 90 or so minutes talking about her relationship with food and how it influences her daily life choices.

Her mouth and her eyes tell me two different stories. This much is already clear to me. She tells me that she is, “58 years old and does not have a comfortable relationship with her age, her body, or her food choices.” She adds that this has been, “going on for close to twenty years to varying degrees of severity.” Upon further questioning, I learn that the past five years had been “extremely difficult” for her.

When I ask her what she did to manage the life triggers that lead her to feel that she needs to act out with food, she just stares at me with huge tears in her eyes and says nothing.

“I have no control over anything that goes on in my life, that’s part of the problem. I just go along with everything that is said and done to me and around me even though I don’t agree with any of it. I feel stuck and trapped in my life as well as my body. I hate it all. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m a mom, I would have found a way to finish myself off a long time ago.”

Well… that was one hell of an opening statement for a woman that I just met less than 15 minutes ago. I understand that she feels very helpless and angry at herself and the people around her. She perceives herself to be drowning in the shape that her body of life has formed. When I ask why she reached out to me, tears begin to flow like a faucet.

“I want to feel happy with myself and I’m not. I want to have some control of my daily life and I feel as though I don’t. I hate the way that I feel inside my body so I use food to numb what hurts me so much. I just don’t understand why I keep doing this to myself day after day.”

She is hurting badly. I can just see the emotional pain oozing from her pores as she shares her story with me. The veins on the side of her temples are bulging around her drawn pale complexion. I reach my hands out toward her and she latches on to them ever so quickly as though she is dangling from a steep mountain’s edge. I sense her desperation and have a clear sense that she needs to feel connection and support with someone who is not here to judge her or challenge her in any way.

All I did was listen, reflect, and re-frame some of the things that she feels
like sharing in a less dark, yet supportive and hopeful way. After about forty minutes pass, she suddenly stops talking. I ask her to try and draw in a deep breath and let it out very slowly. What emerges along with her exhale is a smile – the first one I have seen since we met about one hour ago.

“I feel better and a little stronger as though you gave me a vitamin injection.”

I can’t help but smile right back at her.

I ask, “And what kind of vitamin might that be?”

She squeezes my hands and chokes on her tears. I sense that she needs to hold on a bit longer, so I stay put right where I am with her. Something shifts for her inside and she is able to let go of one of my hands and draw another deep breath.

“Talking to you gives me hope that I don’t have to drown in this mess. I can also feel and see that you are not judging me and that you understand what I’m feeling.”

“Yes, Liv, I understand how you feel and I hear the pain and the suffering that you are experiencing in your daily life. I understand why you turn to food in the hopes of drowning your pain and sorrow, I truly do. I understand that the momentary pleasure and relief that you think you are getting seems worth it in that moment. I get that. I also hear that the emotional consequence of anger and depression far outweighs any pleasure that you may derive from acting upon that impulse that seems so alluring at that particular moment. And it causes you so much anguish after you do that to yourself. That is what I am seeing today. You feel helpless at that moment as though there is nothing else for you to do with those emotions accept to eat them in this way so that you won’t have to feel them.

“Yes that’s exactly it.”

We talk awhile longer and make another appointment to continue our discussions and formulate a plan of action.

Liv wants me to share this little snippet of our talk because she hope that it might, “…Touch someone who is suffering today as I was when I came in to see you. You helped me to find my center of gravity again and accept me as I am. You also give me some perspective about what I am doing to myself that I didn’t have before. It felt kind of like I crawled out my skin for a little while and observed myself along with you much different way than before.”

“Well I hope that it was in a more caring way, Liv. If you can learn one solid thing to take away with you today, it’s that it is so critical to consider having compassion for yourself and your current situation. Compassion for yourself gives you honor and respect for who you simply are right this very minute… Even when everything looks bleak and out of control.”

“I feel like I can breath right now, Vida. For the longest time, it’s felt as though something was pinching my airways.”

She reaches her arms out to me as we approach the doorway and I offer her a big supportive hug before she leaves, hoping that the comfort and relief that she has found for herself that day will linger on for at least a little while as she re-enters her home and life space.

Self-destructive behaviors are so hard to change until we are able to understand the reason for their existence in our lives and then find the courage to learn how to replace them with nurturing habits that will eventually heal our wounds if we tend to them with compassion and respect that we so deserve.

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