Did you know there is a direct connection between your self-worth and the state of your boundaries?
Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is nothing short of a life-changing practice, and one of the major perks is it actively raises your self-esteem. The more we practice making choices aligned with our true feelings, preferences, and desires, the greater our self-regard and self-confidence.
In this week’s episode, I’m focusing on how to raise your self-esteem with the power of healthy boundary-setting.
Exercising your boundary rights is a radical act of self-love. In doing so, you protect yourself from emotional harm, keep your personal dignity intact, and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself.
In the simplest sense, (and according to Brene Brown) personal boundaries define what is and what is not okay with you. Expressing your boundaries means sharing your preferences, desires, limits, and deal-breakers with the people in your life.
For many of us, this feels challenging or even impossible. We don’t want to be “demanding” or for others to label us as “difficult”. We can get really good at hiding behind some version of “Oh, you know me, I’m easy, it’s all good…” even when it’s not.
The truth is when you don’t share what lights you up, what you love, what works for you, and what doesn’t, you are not only denying the people in your life the privilege of truly knowing you, you’re also denying the world your unique amazing self. Your preferences are a vital part of what makes you, YOU.
There is a direct connection between sharing our truths, advocating for ourselves, and self-esteem. Real self-love and healthy self-esteem are less of a “feeling” and more a way of life evidenced in your behavior, choices, and boundaries.
There are many reasons why people have low self-esteem. If you were raised in a family system with dysfunction, addiction, or abuse, if you belong to a marginalized group, if you were ostracized or bullied, if you are a trauma survivor- there are so many ways our experiences contribute to self-esteem issues. If you feel like your self-esteem could use a boost, learning how to create better boundaries, slowly but surely, can help.
The first step is to take an inventory of your relationships. Make some time and space to think through the important connections in your life.
What are your experiences?
What are your complaints?
No relationship is ever perfect, but the real questions are: do you share your experiences or complaints with the other person?
Or are you stuffing your feelings down?
Be honest with yourself and check-in with how you truly feel – who do you have resentment for in your life? Are you angry or disappointed with anyone? Make a list.
Then, get specific around the problem. You’re going to go through your list and get to the bottom of what isn’t working for you in each relationship.
I’ve given you some clarifying questions to help you get a deeper understanding of what might need to change. You can download your guide right here.
Once you go through the exercise inside the guide, you can decide on simple, small action steps to take. I encourage you to focus on your high-priority relationships during this information-gathering process. Your people will go into one of two categories:
- Boundary “First Timers”– this is for the folks with whom you have not, in words, clearly and concisely made the boundary request, expressed a preference, or set a limit.
- Boundary “Repeat Offenders”– these are the people with whom you’ve had the same problem over and over even though you have talked about it and made a request for a change to no avail.
Based on the category each of your high-priority people fall into, you can make a plan to take the next right action. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
For “First Timers”: When you’re changing the boundary “dance” in your relationship, expect you might have to repeat your boundary request or remind them of your limit more than once. Especially in an established relationship, be prepared to get some pushback in the form of defensiveness or “forgetting” the boundary request. You can remind them in a calm, kind, and respectful way.
For “Repeat Offenders”: If you’ve said it again and again (and again) and things still aren’t changing, it’s time to attach an appropriate consequence to the boundary violation.
Identify your deal-breakers. A deal-breaker is a non-negotiable boundary. You may be positive you do not want kids or you do not want to date someone who travels 5 days a week for their job. You have a right to have deal-breakers in every one of your relationships, and you are the only one who gets to decide what those are.
Your deal-breaker is your own. If someone attempts to give you their unsolicited opinion on your non-negotiable, no matter how well-meaning they might be, you have the right to set a boundary with them. It is possible to calmly and kindly express your boundaries. We don’t have to be mean, but we also do not have to let people weigh in on our lives or give us unasked-for advice or criticism.
You can lovingly say something like “At this moment, I’m not asking for input. This is my decision and I’ve made it, but I appreciate how much you care about me.” Inside this week’s guide, I’m giving you some more scripts and sentence starters, so be sure to download it here.
Being more impacted by the opinion of others than your own can be a sign of low self-esteem. Constantly looking outside of yourself for the “right” answers can point to a lack of trust in ourselves and our capabilities. If this resonates with you, the key to making a shift is to become an expert on yourself.
Make it your mission to understand why you are the way you are in the world, with compassion, and without judgment. It is important because how you treat yourself sets the bar for every other relationship in your life.
The foundation of healthy boundaries is developing an unwavering ability to know, honor and protect yourself. Your boundaries are in fact, a beautiful how-to-guide on YOU. Personal boundaries are like a totally customized instruction manual you create to clearly identify the permissible ways other people behave toward you AND how you behave towards yourself.
Commit to pouring love, attention, and understanding into yourself. You are fascinating, your story is unique, and what you think, want, and feel matters. To attract people into your life who feel this way about you and deeply respect you, you’ve got to take responsibility for the relationship you have with yourself. It is THE most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life!
Inside my book, Boundary Boss, I walk you through an entire process of self-exploration, self-knowledge, and self-understanding, because becoming an expert on yourself is the way to better boundaries.
When you fall madly and deeply in love with YOU, you begin to look within for answers. You start to trust yourself and what you think and feel.
When you think you matter, it shows.
When you respect and care for yourself, others will begin to hold you in the same high level of regard.
If you have a low opinion of yourself and treat yourself as such, you will find others who will agree with your opinion. You deserve so much more than that. If you take these steps and begin to set small but important boundaries and work on raising your self-esteem, your relationships will begin to shift.
Inside this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you some more ideas on how to consciously raise your self-esteem with healthy boundary setting so you can elevate the quality of all of your relationships (especially the one you have with yourself)!
Your healing comes from being strong enough and thinking enough of yourself to make the request, set the limit, and ask for what you want. Every time you share your preference, even if the other person doesn’t go along with what you want, your healing comes from the asking.
You don’t have to try to change everything all at once. You can do it one step at a time. Taking small, consistent steps to assert yourself leads to lasting transformation. Each of your boundary-setting wins will boost your confidence and self-worth AND create space for healthier, better relationships with mutual respect.
So are you ready to get committed to your boundary revolution? I wrote Boundary Boss to give you an essential guide to talk true, be seen, and finally live free with healthy boundaries, so if you haven’t ordered your copy yet, grab it right here!
I hope you have an amazing week holding yourself in the highest regard and as always, take care of you.
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I WROTE A BOOK ABOUT BOUNDARIES! Boundary Boss is THE essential guidebook for authentically expressing your desires, setting healthy limits, and bringing more satisfaction, joy, and peace into all of your personal and professional relationships.
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