Setting Healthy Boundaries | Making Yourself a Priority

Image for Cheers 2 Chapter 2 Setting Healthy Boundaries and Making Yourself a Priority page image of window with pillows blankets a book and mug of tea

Do you find you basically have no boundaries and rarely make yourself a priority?

Do you find yourself getting sidetracked from your goals and emotionally thrown off course by those around you?

Allowing others in your life to steer your emotions and priorities is like being locked in the trunk of a car – bouncing around in the dark getting bumped and bruised with the curves and bumps of the ride, and not knowing where you’re heading because someone else is driving.

No matter how innocent the intentions are of those around you, it presents a detour that drains your energy and prevents you from your own intentions – living your best life.

Sometimes we don’t even realize it is happening.

We are often too busy to reflect on how we allow ourselves to get emotionally and mentally dragged around by the circumstances around us and by the people and influences we come across throughout the day.

Example – It’s Saturday morning. You’re in a great mood. Feeling super-charged and motivated to have a productive day.

You’re planning to write in your gratitude journal, go for a health walk, clean out a closet, eat healthy all day and (finally) get around to taking care of a few errands for yourself that you’ve been putting off for weeks.

Then your partner (or other family member) makes a comment at breakfast about his or her needs.

Before assessing how urgent their need for your help is, you immediately shuffle your plans for the day to see how you can fit their needs in at the top of your list.

Which means your plans move to the bottom.

And, let’s be honest, this usually means some (or all) of your own needs get bumped completely. Not just for this day, but for several days and possibly even weeks.

Your goals and priorities never seem to make it to the top and actually get done.

We like to say it is out of our control. That we’re just doing what needs to be done.

But the truth is, we are choosing to put ourselves last.

Does this sound like you? I know I’ve been guilty of this many times myself.

“Girl, get a hold of yourself… stop giving away pieces of yourself… and take control of what happens next.” – Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face

We’ve been doing this for a lifetime, putting others before ourselves. Allowing ourselves to be thrown off course repeatedly.

Big hearts seem to know no boundaries.

We like to help those we love and make others happy, especially the people we care about. We’ve accepted it is natural, loving and “right” to put their needs first.

Where it goes wrong (and we end up locked in the trunk for a bumpy detour ride) is when we allow the agenda and needs of others to consistently bump our own needs down or off the list, time and time again.

This contributes to eroding our sense of self-worth, creates guilt around ever making ourselves a priority, and makes it increasingly more challenging to create healthy boundaries.

“’No’ is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott, writer

Habitually prioritizing the needs of others is not being kind and caring, it’s showing yourself and those around you that you don’t value yourself.

It’s setting a repeated habit of zero self-care boundaries.

It screams that your goals, emotions, and needs aren’t important, as clearly as if “I don’t matter” was tattooed on your forehead.

And over time, you start to believe it too.

You start to feel stuck and overwhelmed and damaging feelings of resentment, anger, guilt, shame and hopelessness begin to bubble up.

It’s time to get out of the trunk.

Wake up! This is your life! You can be kind, loving and helpful to those around you and still set healthy boundaries for your own needs.

Climb right out of the trunk and into the place you belong.

The place where you are most able to take control of living your life as fully, mindfully and positively as you’d like – in the driver’s seat.

No more unwittingly allowing others to throw you in the trunk.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

We need to set healthy boundaries for what we will allow to take space in our lives and our minds.

Our emotions and self-worth belong to us alone.

It’s our choice to allow negativity, jealousy, and low vibes into our head and heart space or to hold that space for our own joy and growth.

We decide how our day is going to go. We choose our mindset. We can choose healthy boundaries.

When we do decide to allow our plans and priorities to be bumped down the list, it needs to be our warranted and conscious choice.

There is a big difference in choosing to rearrange your plans and priorities for the day versus unconsciously allowing it to happen.

If you don’t continue to mindfully fight for your priorities and to stay on your own track – you will never get where you want to go.

And this happens to so many of us, especially as women.

We want to make everyone happy.

We mistakenly think that love has no boundaries.

So, we absorb and ingest the sadness, worry, disappointment, dreams, hopes, fears, anxieties of those around us until it feels like our own.

And we feel the (sometimes desperate) need to solve all problems. Even the ones that don’t belong to us.

This becomes a habit and prevents us from our own personal growth, our own evolution, our own hopes, dreams, goals and destinations.

I’m not suggesting we become callous, uncaring and selfish.

Selfishness is not synonymous with self-worth.

Self-worth is self-respect, self-sufficiency, happiness, joy, self-trust, self-love, self-dignity, self-value.

These surround our innermost feelings of worthiness and authentic wholeness, like we naturally had on the day that we were born. Before our environment, circumstances and experiences whittled away at our who we think we are.

Give yourself the same consideration you give others.

We can’t nourish our sense of value and self-worth if we continually push our needs to bottom of the daily to-do list.

Commit to building new habits, making healthier choices from the driver’s seat with eyes wide open and your long-term destination map in hand, rather than giving others the control of how we feel or where we are heading.

Cheers to climbing out of the trunk and grabbing the wheel.

To feeling worthy enough to prioritize your needs and set firm, healthy boundaries. After all, what fills up our mind, body and spirit truly helps us pour more love on others.  – Marlene



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