How you can tell if you have boundaries that support your well-being?
I don’t know the answer to this definitively. However, below are some considerations.
- We are all on this journey.
- Set judgement aside.
- Be kind to yourself as you read my questions and propositions below. Remember, not only is perfection not real…it is super boring.
#1-Do you say “yes” to opportunities and invitations when you are already overwhelmed, sick and/or tired?
There is no doubt that our well-being is compromised when we say “yes” when we should be saying “no.”
- Some of us are afraid of missing out on opportunities to earn money. This can lead to over scheduling and accepting low paying contracts for services because “some money is better than no money.” When starting out, you may need to do some work just to gain experience. However, after a certain point…you can find yourself being taken advantage of if you are not clear that some opportunities simply aren’t worth the cost to you and your well-being.
- Others are concerned to miss out on opportunities to gain access to power. Everyone would like to have a seat at the table. Sometimes we are invited to meet with people, serve on a committee or some other such opportunity and we say “yes,” even though we don’t have the availability because of our perception that this opportunity gives us proximity to power or power itself.
- Still others don’t want to miss opportunities to do or be or be seen as someone important. This is how I categorize opportunities involving mass media in particular or other invitations that may be even beneficial to others as well as oneself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing or accepting those opportunities; however, if it is at the expense of your basic needs (and especially if you are already on empty)…just say “no.”
#2- Do you frequently say to yourself I can sleep later or catch up on sleep or sleep when I’m dead?
Sadly, more research is being shared that the negative health outcomes from lack of sleep are serious and in some cases long term.
- From brain health to heart health and autoimmune disease…we are learning that not getting sufficient sleep – deep sleep in particular – results in decreased cognitive functioning and even a build up of plaques in the brain that are associated with more difficulty sleeping. This ultimately results in increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Lack of sleep promotes inflammation in the body and we now know how much inflammation contributes to almost every disease process in the body.
- Lack of rest/sleep also exacerbates chronic pain. It can exacerbate high blood pressure and it can interfere the recovery from the cold, flu and other common illnesses.
#3- Do you effectively calculate whether or not opportunities to earn income are actually providing sufficient return for your time and investment?
Anyone who makes a living by providing a service that is billed hour for hour has to take into account that they can’t spend every hour in direct service. If they do, they will be stuck in a loop…like a hamster on a treadmill. Everyone needs breaks. Everyone needs time to complete administrative functions or to direct them; and if you want to expand your business, you need time to plan and execute.
- Know your numbers including:
- How much you need to earn weekly, monthly, and annually to support your business and your life. Looking beyond “break-even” and toward what will result in a more balanced life is critical.
- Not only calculating, tracking and knowing your numbers by way of bookkeeping, but also in terms of setting service fees. This can leave a business owner very “busy” with limited financial returns for all of their hard work.
- Remembering that self employment or entrepreneurship is not like working for a job that pays you overtime. You will work more than you expect to get things done and in place. However, it can take some time to see the results of that extra work in terms of money. Also you will never see it if your fees don’t reflect what you need to charge to earn a living.
#4- Do you find that you have multiple projects that you have not seen to completion?
- Having healthy boundaries also includes not taking on and continuing to start things without completing others. I find that I have engaged in this practice myself and I work diligently now to not take on more and to prioritize bringing things to completion.
- Bringing projects to completion can reduce stress and improve esteem. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you know the dirty little secret – that you have unfinished business. It can make you feel like a fraud even when you are very much the “real deal.”
- I’ve seen some people sabotage their licensure process by getting sidetracked by other opportunities or sadly putting someone else’s goals ahead of their own. This is not to say that we should never place a dependents needs ahead of our own needs. It is to say that unwittingly you are placing a burden on your loved one(s). They somehow become responsible for your relative happiness or unhappiness. They can also get the false sense that everyone will center them…and they may struggle with accepting boundaries and limitations connected to the “no’s” they will face from others.
#5- Do you make sure other people’s needs are met and put your needs last?
Whether as an employer, client, family, friend or even a stranger…consistently putting what others need ahead of what you need is a fast track to stress and burnout. I won’t bother with cliched statements that you’ve heard before. What I will say is that trying to prove yourself to be loyal and valuable to an employer or client and not wanting to disappoint people in general, especially those you love but even in some cases strangers….is likely the single biggest factor in whether or not you set your own well-being at the center of your life.
- I’ve observed that people who actually center their well-being are:
- vibrant, healthy and energetic; and as a result they have more to give.
- They are intentional about their meals, hydration, rest, exercise.
- They practice gratitude or some other spiritual observance.
- They are willing to risk rejection or loss (of money, relationship or opportunity) by saying no to requests and to people in order to honor their commitment to themselves.
Give From Your Overflow
No one is perfect. That is not the goal. It is unreasonable, unwise and harmful to carry that narrative in your version of an ideal life. What I have been reminding myself and others is to give from your overflow. Don’t get mad at other people for not looking out for you or not considering your best interests when they are following your lead.
Copyright © 2018 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.