One of the first steps you can do to reclaim your power is to learn how to create healthy boundaries. I talk a lot about boundaries in my “keepin’ it real” blog posts and realized I haven’t really explained “how-to” do that. As someone who used to give away their own power, I can tell you when I finally woke up to what I was doing and learned how to have boundaries my confidence grew. I no longer felt guilty for saying No to people or things I didn’t want to do. I had a greater self-awareness on everything that energized me and everything that drained my energy. My hope for you is that after reading this how-to guide you’ll be able to apply these techniques and tips into your own daily life to create those healthy boundaries that everyone needs for their own wellbeing and peace of mind.
I’m not going to sugar coat this, fluff it up or dilly dally around it. I’m going to be straight forward and get to the point on how you can actually do this. Let’s dive right in!!
To prepare your mind, body and soul for alignment to create these boundaries, one of the most important exercises is learning how to ground yourself first. In the very beginning when I was learning boundaries, I practiced a “be like a tree” grounding exercise every day outside in my backyard. This grounding exercise also helped me cope with a job that I hated being at because of an extremely toxic environment. I needed every self-care and de-stressing technique I could find. From the many years of practicing grounding myself I definitely feel more grounded now instead of that hovering, floaty feeling I used to feel rushing around all the time.
How-To Ground Yourself
a simple 4-step exercise that can be done inside or outside (outside in fresh air is better) and at any time of day or night (I like doing this in the morning before I start my day)
“My body is like a tree”
Begin by standing in a comfortable position with your feet (barefoot is better) firmly planted on the ground. Take a few deep breaths and really focus on how you’re breathing. Are you breathing deeply or short, shallow breaths? Once your breathing is slow and deep, imagine your body is a tree. Say out loud or to yourself “my body is like a tree.”
“My tree has roots”
When you can envision your body as a tree, then imagine your tree roots growing deeply into the ground. Your roots can appear as traditional tree roots or nontraditional such as a beam of light or colors, sparkling roots, roots that look like flowing water. However you are picturing your roots is the right way for you and you’re doing this right.
“My roots reach down to the Earth’s core”
Imagine your roots reaching all the way into the Earth’s core. It may or may not take long to get there. This is a very important step to feel completely grounded and rooted to the Earth.
When we practice grounding ourselves we have the ability to tap into the grounding nature of Mother Earth. She is strongest at her core. Envisioning our roots reaching all the way down to the Earth’s core connects us to the planet and reconnects us to ourselves. This is much needed in our everyday stressful lives, but is seldom felt or acknowledged because “we’re sooooo busy and don’t have time to take care of ourselves.”
The more you practice this grounding exercise the faster and easier these first 3 steps will become. And the more you practice this the more grounded you’ll feel often which leads to more confidence and easier ability to tolerate stressful situations. When you are “being like a tree” you become unshakeable.
The last step … RELEASING
“I release fear (tension, stress, anxiety, anger, guilt, anything or anyone you need to release)”
When you can feel your roots connected to the core say out loud, “I release _________.” As you’re saying this picture whatever you’re releasing leaving your body through your roots. Feel any residual tension also releasing through your roots. If you feel like saying a favorite prayer during your releasing now is a good time to recite that too. Then return back to your breathing and continue to repeat your releasing mantra until you feel like it has fully released or you feel lighter. If you feel lightheaded don’t worry that’s normal after releasing. Rehydrate and sit down for a few minutes if needed.
Alright now that you are nice and grounded, here comes 8 Steps to Creating Boundaries … MY FAVORITE!!!
Step 1: What are your core values? Who are you as a person? What do you truly believe? What are you comfortable with and not comfortable with?
For example: On the weekends I like to spend time with my husband and family doing fun stuff like exploring our area, road trips or going for a hike in nature. This is my time to disconnect from the all noise of social media. All the pings, dings and messages I receive on the weekends I reply back to whenever the next business day is for me. The exception to this rule is if I receive any messages with clients or customers literally ready and wanting to spend money with me. I am not one to turn down receiving money no matter what time zone I’m in.
Step 2: Accept that you don’t have that much power over people that you think you do.
For example: Someone has diarrhea of the mouth and vomits that negativity all over you. 9 times out of 10 the nasty things they’re saying to you they really think about themselves. You have 2 choices here. One, walk away. Two, your first lesson in BOUNDARIES! Let them know their words hurt you or if you’re an Italian Jersey girl like me and this is a family thing, you may have to yell back because these people induce yelling from you. It’s like a trigger reaction for you. You’re reacting before speaking. Hey, no judgement here! I’ve been that person to react like a savage before and then go into an adrenaline crash. You’re human and as long as you’re not physically hitting someone and just using your voice to be heard then yell your face off. BUT if you’ve started to become an expert in grounding yourself you may find that you’re not yelling as often as you used to. I know now it takes A LOT for me to lose my shit.
Step 3: Self-awareness. The people and places that drain you. You’re preaching to the choir on this one!!
For example: This is where you learn to say NO to people and places that drain you. Sometimes we have to go to places or be around these draining people for circumstances out of our control. When this happens, this is not the time to “be like a tree” and cement your roots into the ground. Find a space wherever you are to project that “un-fuckable with” energy. Wear all the crystals you need. Slather on #alltheoils. I feel like an expert in shielding myself because I can be in a room and you know there always has to be that one person ::eye roll::
That person will not come near me and if they do I can project that “get the fuck away from me” energy without saying a word and they will leave. Unless they’re under the influence of a substance … then I whip out my crazy eyes and stare them down making them feel more uncomfortable than they’re making me feel all up in my personal space. Champion of creep staring contests right here when my personal space is infiltrated! If this drains too much energy for you in the beginning it’s okay to just legit get up and walk out WITHOUT feeling guilty. I’ve literally been that “emergency text a friend” telling my friends to get the F out of their seats because they’re texting me saying how uncomfortable they feel wherever they are. It feels amazing to get that text back from them when they tell me they walked out and are leaving. I can hear the confidence build in them via text. It’s AMAZING!!
Step 4: Stop overcommitting.
For example: Are you the type of person that tries to be “the everything to everyone”? Are you exhausted? Now is a good time to focus your attention and energy on things you truly want to say yes to. This last year I spent so much time saying No to things that I cannot commit to. I’m not the type of person to half ass something so if I can’t give it my all I’m not doing it … perfectionist tendencies over here too! Note to self, it’s okay to say yes to help and to ask for help when you can’t do it all yourself.
Step 5: Make a list of boundaries you’d like to strengthen.
For example: I’ve said it before, I love making lists for everything. I’m a visual person so if you’re like me you will LOVE this step. Write down the boundaries you’d like to have. Visualize yourself setting these boundaries and communicate assertively (this is different than all the yelling you just did in step 2) when someone has crossed your boundary. Remember, this is a process that takes practice until you’ve mastered it. Start with having a successful experience with a small boundary before taking on more challenging boundaries.
Step 6: What are your consequences?
For example: A friend is continuing to disregard your boundary of when you are available and constantly calling you at times when you’ve repeatedly communicated to them you’re unable to talk. Consequence? Don’t answer the phone! The easiest way to figure out your consequences when a boundary is crossed is instead of reacting, first stop and think about what your boundary is and how are you going to assertively communicate the consequence of it being crossed.
Step 7: Let your actions speak louder than words.
For example: You found your core values and boundaries. And like clockwork when people know you’re working on bettering yourself they will continue to test your boundaries. When practicing boundaries, it’s not a good idea to give them an ultimatum (unless this is an extremely toxic situation). Instead, communicate your boundaries clearly to people, then let your behavior do the talking. Remember that friend from step 6 that keeps calling you nonstop and they know your boundary? Your action of not answering the phone is delivering the message to them without you putting any energy into something that would drain you. People will test, push and disrespect your boundaries. You’ll know you’re getting better at creating boundaries when whatever they’re doing to disrespect you doesn’t get an emotional reaction out of you. When your boundaries are your core beliefs, you will not emotionally react to them when they test you.
Step 8: Say what you mean and follow through with what you say.
The quickest way for your character or authenticity to be questioned is when you say one thing and then do the opposite. An important part of creating boundaries is how clearly you are communicating them. You can have the healthiest boundaries, but if you’re not communicating them clearly, you are going to be confused and confuse the people around you. This happens sometimes because we’re afraid to tell people what we really want, to admit that we hate going to certain places, have trouble spending time with a toxic person, or hate when the boss dumps a deadline on us at 5pm on a Friday. We hide our core values because we’re scared of how people will react. The more you ground yourself, practice those boundaries you set, and become clear on your core values, the more you’ll be able to positively communicate them.
The side effects of learning how to create healthy boundaries is more self-confidence, less self-doubt, feeling more relaxed, having less stress, speaking up and using your voice, become immune to guilt trips from others, release self-guilt, and feel happier because a weight has been lifted off of you! Get ready to live your best life!