Importance of Setting Boundaries

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One thing that I have always struggled with is setting boundaries. I was too busy with being concerned about people liking me and avoiding conflict. Now that I’m self-reflecting, I have realized now more than ever how essential setting boundaries are. Not only does it help prevent conversations that make you uncomfortable, but it also keeps your privacy to yourself. The fewer people that know your business, the less likely you have to worry about information getting out. I came up with four steps to help with setting new boundaries within your relationships.

Decide Which Boundaries to Set
Before you can set boundaries, you need to determine what your limits need to be. Get a pen and paper to write down your limits and to whom each category represents. For example, finances and dating are off-limits to parents for discussion. Follow this exercise for others, such as friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Doing this will help with oversharing information as well. Conversations should be a dance, and if it’s turning into a solo act, you’re sharing too much. Having boundaries will help you with not sharing details before it’s safe to do so.

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Start Implementation of Your Boundaries
Now here comes the fun part of implementing the new boundaries that you set. It won’t be easy at first, but people will learn to adjust over time. You will most likely get backlash from folks closest to you but stick with it. People who love you will respect your boundaries after some time. Start with someone who will be least resistant to your limits. That will give you the confidence to continue down this new path. Don’t give up easily if people start to provide you with a hard time. People will try to see how far they can go, but enforcing your boundaries will let them that’s not possible.

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Continue to Reinforce Your Boundaries
The best way to keep people on board with your boundaries is to continue to enforce them. Once someone tries to overstep, you have to shut it down immediately. Also, people need to know there are consequences to their actions. For example, if you told someone that dating was off-limits and they continue to push, the result is that they don’t get to speak with you. I understand that sounds harsh, but you have to put your foot down. People need to respect the boundaries you have set forth. However, if you don’t consistently enforce your limits, people will walk all over you. You have to be intentional for people to understand why your boundaries are vital for them to follow.

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Reassess Your Boundaries as Needed
As life changes, so should your boundaries. There may be new topics to add or old ones to remove. Whichever way it goes, continue to reevaluate your boundaries. Make sure you do this often to avoid conflict when a topic comes up that you weren’t expecting. For example, a newly married couple will receive unsolicited advice from different people. It can even become overwhelming at times. When a new life event like this occurs, your boundaries need to include it. That way, people will understand that every new life event is not up for discussion. If you do decide to share, it will be your choice to do so.

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Setting boundaries can sound scary if you never did it before. It can seem like a difficult undertaking at first, but it’s worth it in the end. I recently started implementing boundaries, and it’s working out great. I’m not forcing myself to discuss or do things I’m not necessarily comfortable doing. The beautiful thing about boundaries is that it helped me improve my self-care and improve my overall mental health. Boundaries are helpful because it sets expectations of what topics you will share and which ones are off-limits. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, but something beneficial in the long run.

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Be sure to check out the discussion questions below before you go, and I’ll chat with you in the next blog.

Do you have boundaries set up? What type of challenges did you face while implementing your limits? 

Career Advancement

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I’m at a crossroads currently within my career. I want to move to the next level but unsure of how to get there. My current team doesn’t have any job opportunities at the moment. That is furthering my confusion on the next steps that I should take. I had to sit with myself to come up with solutions to improve my current situation. I came up with a list of four things that I employed right now to help improve my career prospects. I hope that this list works for you, or in the comment section below, you can tell me what tips you will use or which ones you currently use.

Hire a Career Coach

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Hiring a career coach may or may not work for everyone, but it was a game-changer for me. It has been years since I last applied for positions. I wasn’t sure what employers were looking for in terms of a resume. I needed help updating my resume properly, interviewing skills, job searches, and working on past issues that could impact me from getting hired (confidence & mental health issues). A lot has changed since I last interviewed, and the knowledge that I gained was a tremendous help. My resume look 100% times better. That reminds me that I need to make an update to my Linkedln¬†page to reflect the recent changes I made. I started going on job interviews. I haven’t gotten the jobs that I’ve wanted, but I’m making significant progress. I know the right position will come along, but in the meantime, I won’t stop looking for the next opportunity.

Updated My Wardrobe

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You know what they say dress for success or dress for the job you want. Making new tweaks to my clothes not only empowered me gave me new-found confidence but also people took me more seriously. Let’s be honest people judge your appearance. Based on your clothes, if you don’t look presentable, then you’re perceived as unreliable and disingenuous. As superficial as it sounds, if you don’t dress the part, then you won’t get the part. With that in mind, don’t give anyone any reason to use anything against you. There are plenty of budget-friendly places you can use to update your wardrobe as necessary.

Invest in Yourself

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I started to educate myself while reading more books and looking into certifications to further my career. One book that helped me the most is called ” 7 Healthy Habits of Highly Effective People.” I realized that I needed to make myself better for this next chapter in my life. I need to work on my time management skills and setting my goals/expectations more effectively. If you need more information on this, there’s so much information available at your fingertips. There’s no excuse for working yourself to exhaustion when you could be bettering yourself in the process. Don’t be afraid to change things about yourself that may be holding you back. We all have to be continually improving ourselves as that’s what’s going to help us win.

Ask for Honest Feedback

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I understand that harsh criticism from others can be triggering. However, if we don’t receive honest feedback, we won’t be able to make adjustments. For example, the feedback I received over a year ago from a review stated I needed to work on my tone when I would speak with people at work. Unfortunately, microaggression is a real thing (research that if you aren’t familiar with the term), so when someone who looks like me says something that can appear aggressive, it’s out of context. If I were a man, it would be an utterly different story. I realized this could be holding me back from moving forward. It took a year to work on this, but I’m pleased to report that in my latest review, my efforts paid off. It was a good feeling to know that my hard work was acknowledged. Had I not asked for the feedback, I would’ve still been doing something wrong. Behind close doors, that would’ve been the reason for me not to achieve a promotion. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but doing the work on the back end is the difference between advancement vs. stagnation. You want to put your best foot forward, and you need to know if anything is preventing that from occurring.

Let’s get the discussion going. Let me know in the comment section below what your thoughts are. What steps will you take, or what steps have you taken to make improvements?

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