Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Keep personal boundaries

I can think of times when I let someone talk me into doing something I really didn't have time nor inclination to do. I did it out of guilt. Later, I just felt resentful. And I know I didn't do my best at the task I had agreed to take on. Have you ever had that happen to you?

That's a boundary issue. How good are you at maintaining your personal boundaries? Do you often say "Yes" rather than "No" because you fear the person asking you won't like you anymore or will think less of you? Do you take on more than you should because "someone has to do it, and it might as well be me"? Do you care-take others to soothe your guilt? Or simply because that's what you've been raised to do?

Boundary issues can show up in many forms. Having good clear boundaries certainly doesn't mean you never compromise with others to get a job done. It doesn't mean you never, ever do something you'd rather not do. But it does mean making clear choices and being honest, especially with yourself, about your motivation for doing so. If you choose to say "Yes" to something, knowing you'd rather not, at least it's an intentional choice and you know what's going on. However, if you automatically say "Yes" to everything you get asked to do without ever thinking about your motivation or about how you'll feel later, that could signal a problem.

Because relationships, whether at home, at work or in some other place, involve a sort of dance between the people involved, when you change your usual behavior or your part of the dance, it necessarily means others have to make changes, too. So if you tighten up your boundaries, expect a bit of resistance from others. Don't let that keep you from making healthy boundary changes, though.

If this is an issue on which you'd like to work, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation strategy session to explore your options.

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