BLOG POST: How to Create Better Boundaries
To give or not to give, that is the question.
For many high-achieving women entrepreneurs and business owners, creating and honoring boundaries can be so challenging. From a young age we are taught to be accommodating to others, behave, take care of others, to not ask for much, be a good girl and don’t make trouble. Do well in school and nurture other people and take care of them and this goes very deep.
Let’s talk about why creating better boundaries is so important.
For one thing, you’re juggling work and family and it’s natural to feel pulled in different directions. And sometimes your clients are very needy. The problem is that you are human and can only giving so much of your time and energy, right?
If others’ needs are constantly eating up your time and energy, you won’t be able to focus on the things you want to do for her life and business.
Also if you keep giving and giving, eventually you’re either going to burn out or feel resentful. You won’t have energy to do things for your family. You won’t want to meet with that client. Maybe you’re at that place already. The key is figuring out what to give or what not to give so you can create better boundaries and get back some of that time and energy.
Let’s talk about Essential and Non-Essential forms of giving
Our goal here is to have better boundaries so that you can have more time for yourself, more emotional bandwidth, more enjoyment, more freedom. When you have better boundaries you also stop enabling others which is the first step in teaching them how to take care of themselves. As the saying goes, even better than giving someone food is teaching them how to fish. Or something like that.
Creating more time for yourself isn’t only about your schedule. Having more energy isn’t only about getting more sleep or exercising or eating the right foods. Here’s why:
Knowing the difference between what’s essential and not essential at pivotal times has a huge affect on your energy as well as your ability to have time for yourself. Let me repeat that.
Now, you might be thinking, well, everyone needs me. Yes they do need you. But the thing is, sometimes they need you and sometimes they don’t “really” need you. They want your attention and love. But you don’t have to go all out and deplete yourself to give them your attention and love.
Here’s an example:
One time a client of mine was upset about taking time off from her business to care for her sick toddler. And in the process, she got sick too!
In this pivotal time of self-care, she couldn’t take care of herself because she was so busy taking care of her child. That is so difficult!
I asked her, “How could you start ‘putting yourself first’ in those situations?” She said, “If I had someone to take care of my daughter’s needs when she is sick.”
I asked her what those needs were. She stated them: Food, making sure she doesn’t make a mess. reading books, having conversations and playing with her.
No wonder why my client couldn’t take care of herself! She had confused essential needs with non-essential needs.
I asked her to name each type of need that her child had. Then she decided what was essential (setting out food — in a way that her child could eat independently) and not essential (conversations, playing with her, reading multiple stories at nap time).
When you understand the difference between essential and non-essential needs, then you can begin to set better boundaries and have more time and energy for yourself.
So here’s the paradigm shift:
Know that everyone is always being taken care of to some extent. The divine, whether you call that by Source, God or another name, is taking care of you. AND YOU are not the be all and end all of other people. Even in extreme cases of when a baby loses a parent, they get taken care of.
Remember, you are not the be all and end all of every person that steps into your life. You get to choose how much time and energy you spend in each case. Sometimes that means moving your schedule around to accommodate them. And sometimes it means prioritizing and making choices. Sometimes it means saying “no”. Sometimes it means saying, “Look at that, we’re out of time. That’s a great topic to start with in our next session.”
Now I want to share a pitfall with you. Years ago, in the spirit of creating better boundaries, I made the mistake of getting overly ambitious in my efforts. I jumped in impatiently with a client and that didn’t go over very well. These things can easily happen and luckily I course-corrected pretty fast.
So you still want to maintain that feminine loving nurturing energy, even if you have to say “no” or “later”, or offer someone a helpful suggestion and send them along.
So here are three tips to guide you:
- Know that the divine is taking care of all of you
- You are not the be all and end all of others
- Ask them, coach them, what can you do, what kind of help can you get, how can you make your situation better, who can you ask for help,
- Create your boundaries and honor them
I hope this was helpful and know that I’m here to help you with this if you’d like to reach out and connect with me.