I have this friend – we’ll call him John – and John struggles with boundaries. John’s favourite lines are “it’s all good”, “no worries”, and “it’s not an issue”. John’s the kinda guy who has chosen to accept the short end of the stick for a good portion of his young-adulthood/adulthood, and has suffered for it as a result – low/no-paying gigs, unpaid intern ships from hell, manipulative relationships, lacking or non-existent boundaries, etc.
To be clear, John isn’t a victim, John is a creator. You see, John has set the standard for his life, and by not respecting what he desires and requires, John has created a less-than-desired-and-required lifestyle for himself – he knows this.
You’re probably thinking “But how is this his fault, John has simply been screwed too many times,” and you’re right, but it’s important to recognize that John made the decision to accept the low/no-paying gigs, the unpaid internships from hell, the manipulative relationships, and the limitless boundaries, therefore; John has set the standard for what he desires and requires, and his environment reflects that.
Boundaries are a must, and, if ignored, a life of dissatisfaction will likely be the result. Set those boundaries John – set ’em strong, set ’em straight, set ’em clear, and watch satisfaction and respect pour into your life like a tropical monsoon.
You see, boundaries act as a sort of fence which we are to place around our open hearts. In order for you to create strong boundaries, you must create clarity around what it is that you believe you deserve, what it is you believe you are worthy of, and the non-negotiable things that you will invite onto the other side of that fence; the stronger and more clear your beliefs around what you deserve and what you are worthy of are, the stronger your fence. The more clear you are about the things you will not invite onto the other side of that fence, the easier it will be to see them coming, and turn them away: “No thank you; return to sender.”
Respect is earned. Some believe that fear equates to respect, but I believe that respect is earned and born as a result of love, trust, and wisdom; if you embody these attributes, you will receive deep admiration. The way to achieve respect is to practice love, share wisdom, and build trust with those you come in contact with. Listen, engage, connect, contribute, and serve; these are some of the easiest ways to earn respect from those around you.
Now for the fun part! A practice for defining your boundaries and inviting respect.
Start by creating a “I Am Worthy Of/I Deserve List”, take a deep breath, connect with your inner child, and love it by writing a list of all the things it is worthy of (love, respect, clean drinking water, food, clothing, happiness, abundance, etc). Then, below that list, create a “Return To Sender” list, and write down all of the non-negotiable things you will not invite or accept in your life. Finally, take that list and put it somewhere where you can see it regularly and refer to it. Eventually, this list will become a part of your daily practice, and you may find that you need it less and less.
Feels good when it’s in writing doesn’t it!?
If this has served you in some way, and/or you feel you know someone who it would help on their journey, I invite you to share it with them – they’ll thank you for it.
With Candour, Truth, and Love,