5 Signs of Weak Boundaries

5 Signs of Weak Boundaries

When you come in contact with people who disregard your boundaries, it’s like inviting unwelcome guests into your home. These are the people who don’t stop their children from using your sofa as their personal trampoline. They ignore your house rules, disrespect you and leave a trail of negativity behind. Of course, you don’t entertain people like that! Or do you?

Allowing other people to disregard your boundaries is no different than allowing unwanted guests to disrespect your home. Just as you would use any other tool to keep you on track, think of boundary making as your invisible self-monitoring tool.

5 Signs Your Boundaries are Weak

Pay attention to some these obvious signals:

1) Someone who does not listen to you or value your opinions

2) People who don’t respect your time limits

3) Anyone who you frequently refuses to accept “no” as your final answer

4) People who direct their erratic behavior directly at you

5) You hold on to relationships and behaviors you find intolerable or offensive

Any of the above signs indicate you need to set stronger boundaries around what you are willing to accept.

For years I’ve used lists and various personal digital assistants (PDA) to keep track of my activities, schedules, contacts and notes. My PDA was my boundary-making tool. With her help, I managed my time effectively; I knew exactly what I need to get done each day and easily kept track of the things that were important to me. Of course, everything changed when one day my trusted PDA went belly-up and was no longer being manufactured. I no longer could depend on her to help me manage my schedule and set limits on my time. I often wonder how any of us ever manage our lives without a system to keep things running smoothly and strong boundaries in place to keep us on track. Hmmm…

Making the decision to give up my PDA and finally getting a smartphone reminds me of the struggle a lot of us have when it’s time to let go, move on and set some strong boundaries. I held on to my PDA way past its usefulness even when I found her behavior intolerable and undependable. She no longer valued my time and was often uncooperative. Her behavior was erratic at best.

My PDA had fallen out of love with me. She didn’t respect or appreciate my time, and was unwilling to support me in the ways that mattered to me. As the great poet, Maya Angelou says, “when people (or things) show you who they are – believe them”.

Every person or thing and every experience that comes into your life if for a purpose. It’s up to us to decide when that purpose no longer serves us.  We must know when it’s time to let go.

There are life lessons to be learned from my PDA experience and every other experience if we are open and honest with ourselves. This is what I leaned from the experience of letting go of my PDA:

1. Know when to let go. Be willing to let go of things in your life that don’t honor your boundaries, are no longer useful or no longer serve a meaningful purpose. Holding on to things that no longer serve a useful purpose takes up precious space that could better be used for something that works for you. You never know what doors will open with just the right opportunity when you have made space for it.

2. Exercise your right to choose. Make a choice about how, when and what you spend your time and energy on. This creates strong time and space boundaries to do the things that are really important to you. Be clear in what you are willing to do, be or accept in your life. If your boundaries are unclear, you leave the door open for others to walk in and set boundaries for you.

3. Accept change. Giving up my PDA meant accepting the fact that it was time to move on to a smartphone. Accept that new technologies emerge every day, relationships change, and people relocate or leave us in other ways. Change is inevitable…nothing stays the same. Accept change as a vehicle for growth and an opportunity to experience something new and exciting. Don’t allow fear of change to prevent you from taking a risk.

And, to get more boundary making tips, tools and resources to renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within to renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

 

Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your Relationship

Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your RelationshipEvery year,  April is designated National Couple Appreciation Month to encourage couples to do something special to re-enforce and celebrate their relationship – to let their partners know that they are respected, desired and appreciated.

Given the grim statistics we hear on the state of relationships, I’m glad there is a whole month set aside to appreciate couples.

Statistics say most couples are unhappy in their relationships and more than 40% of marriages end in divorce.

As bleak as these statistics are, on the other hand, there are still approximately 50% of couples in relationships that are long lasting, thriving and happy.

What keeps these couples connected and happy?

Here are few tips from happy connected couples thar you can use to improve and strengthen your relationship:

  • Communicate. Communication is one of the most important qualities in a relationship. Expressing your feelings is the key to effective communication no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it may feel. In strong resilient relationships, couples say “I love you” often and don’t sweep unpleasant issues under the rug.
  • Date Night. Remember how you looked forward to going on a date with your partner before the bills, school functions, meetings, and other life forces took over and pushed your relationship to the back burner? You can regain that same excitement and joy in your relationship. Start going on dates again. Just as you schedule other functions, schedule a time devoted to each other. Make your relationship a priority. Take out your calendar or smartphone, select a mutually agreeable date and time and write in your partner’s name. Commit to this date and don’t use excuses to stand up your partner. I’m sure you’re super busy but you must have at least one night out of seven to devote to your partner.
  • Never go to bed angry. In any relationship, especially a couple, unresolved anger breed resentment. Long-term resentment leads to apathy and disconnection. Don’t give anger space to grow. Let the other person know how you feel without directing blame or criticism.
  • Play together. Most couples spend less than 20 minutes a day engaged with each other and even less having fun together. Make time in your schedule to do a fun activity you both enjoy. Couples who share a common interest such as golf or bowling tend to have less conflict in their relationship. Not only do these couples spend time having fun, they also are strengthening their connection.
  • Trust. Can you count on your partner tomorrow to do what he or she says? Successful relationships are built on trust. If you tell your partner you’ll be home by 6:30, don’t be persuaded to stop for a beer or get into a 20-minute conversation with co-workers when it’s time to leave work.
  • Fight fair. All couples have disagreements. If you’re not careful, disagreement can end in shouting matches, anger and hurt. A disagreement does not mean you don’t love each other or care. Before you start slinging insults, name calling or a disagreement ends badly, a 5-10 minute “time out” may help you sort out your thoughts so you can return and reach an amicable solution.
  • Show appreciation. Couples ought to show appreciation every day not just in April when we celebrate National Couple Appreciation Month. It’s the little things that mean a lot. It’s not that you don’t appreciate your partner; you just forget to verbalize your appreciation. Tell your partner how much you appreciate him or her. Put an “”I love you” note on a pillow, in a pocket, on the bathroom mirror, in his or her gym bag or briefcase/purse to make them smile.

Even though Couple Appreciation Month ended months ago,  any day is a good time to let your partner know how much more enjoyable he or she makes your life, and then tell him/her.

To get professional help to improve or strengthen your relationship, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

Make Kaizen A Daily Routine

KaizenKaizen is a Japanese word that is formed from two characters – “kai” and “zen.” It translates literally to mean “good change” or, we might say, “improvement,” or “a change for the better”.

When you make Kaizen a part of your daily routine, you are taking steps toward steady improvement in all areas of your life.

Successful companies in Japan, like Toyota, a popular automobile manufacturer, use the principle of kaizen to emphasize steady and innovative improvement.

The principles of kaizen are simple. The challenge is to take the long term view of a daily, continuous and steady path to improvement with an overriding willingness to change. The same can be said about our personal lives.

A willingness to change and constantly on the lookout for ways to improve moves us closer toward making lasting change.  Whether we embrace the principles of kaizen or something else, the quest for self-improvement and the opportunity to change how we view our environment and ourselves is always worth pursuing.

Striving to continually improve is not the same as striving for unrealistic perfection.  You may never fit into that size six killer outfit you covet or earn a spot on the Hollywood red carpet. But, what you can do instead of lamenting your lot, is begin to make a change for the better by focusing on becoming healthier and more fit a little at a time.

Here are some ways to incorporate the kaizen principles into your daily life:

Home Kaizen – Is there something in your home that needs changing or an uplift? Maybe now is not the time to spring for a complete kitchen remodel. Instead,  you can start practicing kaizen by implementing a change for the better (e.g., painting, color accessorizing or keeping countertops free from clutter). By putting the principle of kaizen to work in your kitchen, you will have a more appealing space until such time as you can make a lasting change. You can also apply the kaizen principles to any other room in your home that you feel needs improvement.

Relationship Kaizen

  • Making communication a priority is key to a successful relationship. Make sure you listen and express your feelings even if it feels uncomfortable.
  • Schedule regular quality, non-interrupted time with your partner
  • Tell your partner often how much you appreciate having him or her in your life.
  • Work daily to improve and reinforce your relationship.
  • Do a 10-15 minute “check in” at the end of each day to reconnect.

Personal Kaizen:

  • Show random act of kindness to those close to you often.
  • Express appreciation – write down at least 5 things you are grateful for every day.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re stuck in unfulfilling routines and comfort zones, stretch yourself to try new things. Take a yoga class, travel, rearrange your surroundings, get rid of clutter, volunteer or mentor a child.
  • At the end of your day, take 15 minutes to unwind and relax so you can enjoy quality time with those you care about.
  • Do at least one thing every day that you enjoy.
  • Do at least one kind deed each day.

Work Kaizen

Is your office constantly in disarray? Using the principle of kaizen, begin to look around to see how you can begin to improve your surroundings to create a more appealing and creative space.

  • Rearrange the furniture to create a better workflow
  • Keep a small vase of fresh flowers on your desk to inspire you to complete that project you’ve been reluctant to start.
  • Clear your workspace of unnecessary clutter.
  • Surround yourself with your favorite colors, quotes or inspirational words for a sense of calm and a reminder to stay positive.

If you build the concept of kaizen into all areas your daily life, before you know it, you will be less prone to procrastination, self-sabotage, overwhelm and you will have made a lasting change for the better.

I would love it if you would leave a comment about how you apply the principle of kaizen into your daily life.

For more tips and insights like these, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Listening Well

Listening WellMost of us have experienced the frustration of having someone not listen to us or felt that same frustration when someone says you’re not listening to him or her.   But, before we get all bent out of shape and accuse someone of not listening, we must first ask ourselves the question, “how well do I listen”?

You must learn to be a good listener if you want others to listen to you.  That means putting down the smartphone and giving the other person your undivided attention.

A smartphone is no substitute for meaningful connection

Listening is so much more than hearing the words that are spoken. Listening involves paying full attention to the person speaking, taking note of the tone of voice, gestures, body language and making eye contact.

We are so accustomed to speaking in shorthand – e.g., OMG, LOL, ROFL, etc., that real communication easily gets lost.  A “smart” device is no substitute for meaningful, connected interaction between two or more people.  Smart devices and shortcut speech is just another way for us to avoid connecting with each other in a meaningful way.

Before you send your next text, email or instant message, ask yourself:

Does this communication connect me to him/her?

And to further hone up on your listening skills,  keep these tips in mind to remind you to become a better listener.

1) Look the person speaking in the eye as they talk to you. You can’t do this on a smartphon! Looking a person in the eye  assures that them that they have your full attention. Don’t fidget, survey the surrounding scenery or check email.

2) Nod your head occasionally to show you are present and listening, say, “tell me more”, or ask questions when appropriate to indicate your interest.

3) Don’t interrupt the person speaking to voice your opinion, give advice, or express thoughts before he/she has the opportunity to finish speaking.

4) Notice the speaker’s body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. When we focus only on the words being said, we often miss important physical cues that would clarify and give us a better understanding of what is really being said.

5) Remember to ask for clarification before responding.  Ask questions that elicit more information or detail and can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”. You want to ask questions that promote more conversation and clarity.

For more listening and communication tips, I invirte you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You

 

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Woman in the Mirror

Woman in the Mirror
The Woman in the Mirror poem appears in several versions.  While each is a little different, I have to give credit to those authors who have claimed ownership, including some “unknown authors”. The poem is also very similar to the message in the late Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” where he says:

“If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change”

I found this version of the Woman in the Mirror hiding out in my quotes folder and want to share it with you.

The Woman In The Mirror: Author Unknown

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you Queen for a day.

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
and see what that woman has to say.

It isn’t your father or mother or spouse
Whose judgment upon you must pass

The person whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you’re a straight-shootin’ chum,
and call you a wonderful gal.

But the woman in the glass says you’re only a bum,
if you can’t look her straight in the eye.

She’s the person to please, never mind all the rest, she’s with you right up till the end.

You’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test if the gal in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
and get pats on the back as you pass.

But your final reward will be heartache and tears if you’ve cheated the woman in the glass.

Hmmm…something to think about.

The poem reminds me of how we so often place more emphasis on what others think about us than the fact that it’s more important to be able to look in the mirror and like what YOU see.

The person whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass

Please share your thoughts about this poem or one of your favorites in the comment section.

And, for more information about loving the woman in the mirror, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

10 Dr. Maya Angelou Quotes That Teach and Inspire

Maya-AngelouNo doubt prolific American author, poet, actress and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou was a phenomenal woman – a woman of wisdom, grace, charm and talent. She died at the age of 86. Her wise counsel will be missed.

Among my collection of quotes and poems, my most prized ones are these 10 quotes by Dr. Maya Angelou that have uplifted and inspired me over the years.

 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.’

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.””

“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise…”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
how you made them feel.”

“When someone shows you who they are
believe them; the first time.”

“There is no greater agony than
bearing an untold story inside you.”

“It’s the fire in my eyes and the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

These are just a few of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes that have uplifted and enlightened me over the years. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do

Please share some of your favorites with us.

My book, Master the Genie Within is filled with relationship and life enrichment tips, tools and resources to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends.

25 Quotes to Spark “Aha” Moments

QuoteQuotes are a staple in my self care and inspiration tool box. For years, I’ve collected inspirational quotes that elicit and spark those illusive “‘aha” moments. Here are some of my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  • If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. —Napoleon Hill
  • Sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you. —Phil McGraw
  • Be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. —Marcel Proust
  • The purpose of life is to live it to taste experience to the utmost to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences —Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” —Mary Anne Radmacher
  • Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. —Maya Angelou
  • What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. —Marianne Williams
  • You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. —Buddha
  • It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.—Aristotle
  • Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose–and commit myself to–what is best for me. —Paulo Coelho
  • …Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. —Victor Frankl
  • Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.  — Carl Sandburg
  • Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the titanic. —Anonymous
  • I hear and I forget, I see and I remember. I do and I understand. —Chinese Proverb
  • There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go. —Author Unknown
  • The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them. — Maya Angelou
  • Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born. —Dr. Dale Turner
  • Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. —Les Brown
  • Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. —Thich Nhat Hanh
  • It is never too late to be who you might have been. —George Eliot
  • What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. —Richard Bach
  • Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. —Benjamin Franklin
  • Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

I would love it if you would share some of your favorite quotes in the comment section.

And, for even more inspiration and tips to live your best life, I invite you to get my latest book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.