As a life coach, I am often asked for tips on how to live a happy life, and I believe that you can never be truly happy if you are not entirely in control of yourself. Just a week ago, I got a call from my coachee saying she cannot tolerate her husband’s relatives anymore and she thinks it is already affecting their relationship to the point that she wanted to leave him.
Ahh.. we all have them. Those negative, offensive, hurtful, and manipulative people in our lives. Whether they’re our relatives, our in-laws, our boss, a colleague, a social media basher, or just a random person we see at the supermarket, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you. Although I often tell others to find their tribe and surround themselves with positive and good people who will contribute to their growth and happiness, we just couldn’t stop some toxic people from showing up no matter how hard we try.
For a variety of reasons, we may not be able to avoid these kinds of people, but we can control how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us. We must learn how to take more control of our lives and stop them from pushing us around. When we set clear firm boundaries with the people around us, we protect ourselves from the harmful effects of toxic people.
Even though I often talk about boundaries in relation to other people, in some ways, boundaries are really about your relationship with yourself. Boundaries help you honour your needs, goals, feelings, and values. A boundary is like an imaginary line that separates me from you. It’s also like a powerful force field that separates your physical space, your needs and feelings, from your responsibilities to others. Having boundaries also tells other people how they can treat you – what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Boundaries can be mental, emotional, physical, or even digital.
Boundaries are a form of self-care. When you set them, you are valuing your needs and feelings first. Learning to show compassion and kindness to yourself is crucial in setting healthy boundaries. It also allows you to let go of worrying or feeling guilty about how others feel when you say “no” or when you make yourself a priority. Setting healthy boundaries will help you become a more confident and happy person because you recognise that you are in control of yourself and you own your powers.
Without boundaries, you allow circumstances and other people to control you, mistreat you, or take advantage of you because you haven’t set limits about how you expect to be treated. So, it’s essential to know how to set healthy boundaries and gain control over your life, and it requires that you make a conscious choice to set limits and own your powers. So, here are some ways to help you reign in your personal space:
Be true to yourself. To be truly authentic, you have to know who you are first, what you want to become and what you want in your life. Clarity and self-awareness will help you to discover and find your authentic self. When you are true to who you are, you can identify what kind of people you are allowing into your circle of influence. Usually, they are the ones who can contribute to your growth. Authenticity also allows like-minded people to connect and learn from you. So the best way to influence others while taking control of your life is by being your authentic self.
Communication is key. Knowing your limits and being true to yourself is great, but it’s the follow-through that counts. Yes, you can say no to people and tell them that they are crossing your boundaries but the only way to really do it is to be direct to them. When you refuse to speak up for yourself, you give away your powers to other people. Sometimes, others can be so pushy and controlling, and oftentimes, they are not aware of it. Please recognise that you cannot control how they act towards you, but you can influence them with the way you react and take charge of yourself. Clear communication is essential. Being assertive may be scary for you at first but know that it can be done with proper manners and consideration for others.
Build your self-worth. Your self-worth shouldn’t depend on people or things. You are not totally free if you are always seeking validation from others and if you are always concerned about what others might say about you. If you allow them to affect how you operate, you are giving away your powers and not reigning in your personal space. Understand that not everyone needs to like you, nor do they have to agree with your lifestyle. You do you. Grow without guilt. Evaluate the criticisms you receive, but never allow anyone’s opinion to determine your self-worth.
Practice, practice, practice. If you really want to reign your life, you need to start owning your power and practice doing it. If you believe that something needs to be done, practice showing up and be more assertive. Practice saying “no” to things that don’t add value to you and practice saying “yes” to things that you deserve. Keep telling yourself that you are in control. Know how to take your powers back when you have unconsciously given them away.
Standing our ground and forcing consequences may not come quickly to us. We always want to be nice. We want others to like us. But, we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends, to level-up, or to achieve success.
If you truly want to reign your life, you must never limit yourself from growing. If you want to attract more success and better experiences, then you must be someone who sets boundaries and be brave enough to ask what you deserve.