Mastering and employing healthy boundaries is a skill which is critical to your well-being. Too often, we ignore the signs which result in terrible consequences. From the prom date that canceled at the last minute to having a friend steal ideas and leverage them as their own, or the best friend that drained you because he/she was always taking and not giving. You might be ready to play the victim, however, I urge you to look inward and employ the following in order to build upon mastering the fine art of applying boundaries.
Tip #1 – Find Balance
Either your boundaries are too weak or too strong. Personally, the image of the movie “Man on a Wire” surfaces, where the protagonist is conquering the awesome talent of simply balancing. Setting limitations with the world around us is just like that, a balancing act that you must hone. Think of yourself while you’re walking a tightrope; be crystal clear on where you feel unbalanced, unwell, or simply stressed. Ask yourself if you are taking on too much and why. Is it to please others around you? Are you a person pleaser? Do you self-sabotage? Do you not follow through on your promises to yourself? Or do you hide from everything and not take any risks?
All of these examples, and others like them, can shake you to the core which will only result in throwing you off balance.
Action Steps: Watch the movie, “Man on a Wire.” Notice how he walks on the tightrope; he rarely looks down or up. He is focused on his personal safety. Start to notice where in your life you feel off balance, and start to focus on where you can enhance your boundaries with the circumstances that surface.
Tip #2 – Practice Self Love
Learning how to take care of yourself is where self-love, self-respect, and dignity come into play. How you treat yourself is how others will treat you. Ensure that you are taking care of yourself, and knowing where to do so is essential to setting limitations with yourself and others. Remember to pause and ask yourself, “Is this a choice I will be happy with later on?” Keep it simple and identify where you need to raise the bar. For example, are you eating too much sugar, drinking too much coffee, or not getting enough sleep? Do you ignore your own needs and let your mind race out of control? Are you disorganized and let your personal space evolve into a cesspool of chaos, which you dread? Listen to your body; it’s a remarkable machine. Ensure that you are practicing self-care and self-love every day. The more you do this, the more grounded you will feel, which will only result in loving yourself authentically.
Action Steps: Can you identify three places where you can raise the bar in the area of self-love? Keep it simple; for example, start to employ healthier habits (i.e., drinking more water, flossing, cleaning up your room, making your bed, going for a walk, exercise or enjoying a sunset). Now that you have done that, simply download an app to keep yourself accountable. Do this for 30 days, some apps I use are Streaks, My Fitness Pal and I still find journaling on self-love very empowering. I promise, when you re-visit some of your journals years later, you will be grateful.
Tip #3 – Monitor Your inner circle
Your friends at this time are everything and some of them will be with you until the very end, sadly, some will not. Again, listen to your body; it never lies. What does it feel like in your body when you are around a particular friend? Does your stomach drop when you see their text, or do you smile? Make friends that lift you up when you’re down and support you when you face challenges. Again, if you are giving more than you are receiving or feeling drained after spending time with a friend, this is a clear sign that you must check in with yourself. It’s key that we train others how to treat us. Every relationship that you have will be a mirror into where you need to work. Do your best not to blame or complain about the other, however, call yourself out on where you need to upgrade your boundaries?
Action Steps: Watch the movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know.” Take notes on your phone right away on how you feel when you spend time with certain people. Tune in to your body and connect to where it is vibrating or where you might feel uncomfortable. You might need to ask if this person is holding up a mirror, where does this person bother you, or if this is a reflection of yourself.
The above tools are the foundation for creating and employing healthy boundaries. I know if added to your toolbox of life will they will indeed serve you.
Without healthy and happy boundaries, we are unable to propel into the greatest version of ourselves.
About the Author: Dr. Nasrine Shah Abushakra, Founder and CEO of DrNasrine.com – a paramount global leadership and organizational consulting agency – is an architect of change, helping individuals and organizations succeed by releasing their potential’s full power. With her revered and effective ability to curate critical and popular news, Dr. Nasrine establishes advocacy, and creates programs bridging Middle Eastern and American cultures.
Dr. Nasrine offers customized workshops and diversity training to assist with cross cultural transition, societal norms, lifestyle aspects, and cultural codes by utilizing methods of the new age media. She also supports high-impact clientele, companies, and brands in navigating business relationships between the Middle East and United States with a full suite of corporate services.
A true global citizen, Dr. Nasrine has collaborated with some of the world’s most distinguished leaders, including: President Clinton, Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon, and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. She is also aligned with many high impact Western organizations such as the World Bank, United States Department of State, American University, MIT, and others due to her tenure serving in multiple professor roles, as well as Director of The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. She is a master at teaching and promoting the art of effective communication and diplomacy in the Middle East.
Amongst her many hats, Dr. Nasrine is the Editor of the highly exclusive publication HauteLiving.com, founding member of AmBadAssor, a start-up e-magazine providing a medium to share true stories of real global citizens and serves on numerous committees dedicated to global understanding, academia, and family business elements.
Dr. Nasrine earned a Master’s of Science in Information Systems and a Ph.D. in Technology and Education. She has held a professorship at the University of Michigan and served as the Director of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Orientation Program at the U.S. Department of State. She has had her research presented at the MIT LINC Project, the World Bank, and the U.S. Department of Education. She is also the Happy Post Project Ambassador to the Middle East and represented the project at TEDxDubai in November 2011.
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