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.

 

3 Tips to Set Strong Boundaries

Your boundary is the invisible shield you put up to protect the many demands placed on your time, energy, and resources.

Visualize your boundary as a shield that protects you from energy drainers, time takers and resource stealers. Protect your boundaries by learning to say NO.

Begin setting strong boundaries by using these 3 tips:

Practice – Practice saying NO.  You always have the power to say NO to any request just as others have the power to say NO to your requests. When you say NO to a request for money, time, gifts or commitments, you are in essence asserting your power and authenticity.  You get to set your own boundaries. You take charge of your time, energy and resources. If you are in the habit of saying YES when you would rather say NO, it may not be easy for you to begin saying NO. But by practicing saying NO you’ll find that you’re relieved from over-commitment, guilt, and frustration and free up time for you to engage in the activities that are meaningful to you. Saying no to things you would rather not do is like giving yourself a high five!

Prioritize – Take charge of your time – when you are asked to run the PTA bake sale and you are already organizing the class reunion, tutoring, and going to school at night, saying NO to those things that will tax your energy, time and resources will give you the freedom to make choices based on what’s most important to you. You might say something like, “Thanks for thinking of me but I have another commitment” or “I won’t be able to do “that” this time.

Taking control of how you spend your time is essential to setting strong boundaries.

Patience – Old habits die hard, especially when you have been mired in the same old pattern for years. Be gentle with yourself and allow for setbacks but keep in mind you’re in charge. Change will be difficult for the people around you too. They want you to keep doing, giving and saying yes.  This is how they get their needs met. Look at the changes you are making as if it were a dance: Women are used to following in a dance, right.  Just picture yourself as the leader; you’re leading the way to healthy boundary making.  So when you change your step in the dance, the other person must change theirs – either they follow your lead or they don’t, but you’re still in charge. So, why not take the lead and show others the way?

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

Until Next time

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