Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Awareness comes first

Yesterday I talked briefly about setting boundaries in your relationships and interactions with others. The first step in creating such boundaries is the awareness that you need them. If something is "pinching" in your relationships in the same way too-tight shoes cause discomfort, pay attention. If you find yourself saying, "I never get a say in what my friends and I do"—or "I'm always the one who has to (fill in the blank here)....", perhaps it's time to ask why that is and to make some changes.

It's said that we teach others how to treat us by the ways we interact with them. If we accept dismissive treatment and if we go along with everything others decide, we're teaching them that we don't value ourselves and our own opinions. And they won't value us either.

Start by noticing how you are with others. Do you feel that there's a good give-and-take in your relationships? Do you have an equal voice with others in your friendship groups? In your primary relationship or other significant ones? Or are you acting in a passive manner and then finding yourself angry with others later because your needs weren't considered?

Boundary-setting begins with an inside job. You need to first value your self! Once you feel good about yourself and know your value and worth, you will communicate that to others. If you aren't there yet, it might be time to read some books on increasing your self-esteem. You might start each day by listing two things you like about yourself (if that's too difficult for you, and often it can be, ask someone close to you what they see in you and start with that). You may want to post affirmations around your house to remind you of your worth—"I am good, just as I am." "I was created with value, and I am beautiful." "I have everything I need to make my life healthy and good." "I am loved." "I am strong and resilient." Or whatever works for you.

Keep building on that feeling of self-worth. It's impossible to set boundaries until you feel that you have a right to do so.

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