Have you ever found yourself saying something like ‘She twisted my arm’ or ‘How did I end up doing this’?

On a map, a boundary usually refers to the edge of a property – it’s the border between one area of land and another.  Our personal boundaries are just as important as they separate our energy and choices from those of others.

You’ll know your boundaries are being stepped over when you feel pressurised by someone or you find yourself agreeing to do something you don’t really want to.  That feeling of irritation or resentment is a warning sign that it’s time to take action to reinforce your boundaries.

Here’s how to maintain your boundaries:

Ask ‘Does this work for me?’
Assess a situation by checking in with yourself on whether it feels right to you, rather than asking how you can adapt to it.  Some things can’t be changed and we do need to adapt, but often we simply go along with things because we don’t think to ask the question.

Ask ‘What will the consequences be if I say no?’
Every action has a reaction and before you make your final decision, consider the possible consequences of saying no.  Try to keep things in perspective by asking yourself how important this is in the bigger scheme of things.  Are you prepared to live with the consequences of your actions?  If not, you need to review your options.

Learn to say ‘No’
It’s your right to decide how to spend your time, energy and money, and if something doesn’t work for you, you’re entitled to say no to it.  Sometimes you need to explain why and sometimes you don’t, depending on the circumstances and your relationship with the other person or people involved.  Do it as graciously as you can and if you can think of an alternative solution for the other person, suggest that at the same time.

Following these simple steps will go a long way towards helping you feel more empowered to make good decisions for yourself, a skill which will enhance every area of your life.

Image credit:  Marynbtol via Flickr

 

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