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As a health coach, I can spend all day every day helping women learn how to eat more healthfully, how to exercise, and how to lose weight. But if I am not teaching them inner transformation, the outer transformation isn’t going to stick. And one of the biggest pieces of that inner transformation is learning how to set healthy boundaries.
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” ~ Anne Taylor
Samantha Skelly is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, best-selling author, and emotional eating expert who has revolutionized the weight loss industry by examining the individual and underlying causes of eating disorders.
As a fan of Samantha’s podcast, Hungry for Happiness, I knew as soon as I heard her episode on how to set healthy boundaries that I had to have her on my show to talk about this topic.
You Don’t Have To….
One of the things that continues to amaze me as I work with women is how many of them do things either because their own mothers did them or because they think they’re “supposed to.”
Coming to the realization that you don’t have to do things just because they’ve always been done that way has been a game-changer for Samantha. She chose to travel the world rather than go to college, a decision that many might frown on.
But her traveling taught her things that more traditional schooling never would have. And she uses those lessons in the 2 businesses she is currently building to help her clients achieve things that they never thought they could achieve.
What are some areas in your life where you can lean into the difference? Where can you do things differently so that you are more aligned with your beliefs and convictions?
If you’ve always followed the traditional path, maybe it’s time to make a change. Maybe it’s time to go after what you were meant to do. It’s never too late to flip the switch and live the life you were made to live and to show your own kids how to go after what you want.
“At any moment in time, I can change my story.” ~ Samantha Skelly
A Passion for Setting Healthy Boundaries
Even if you feel like you have good, strong boundaries in place, it’s always a good idea to think over what you’re allowing and where you need to revisit some of those boundaries. Especially if you’re a people pleaser, learning to set healthy boundaries can be hard work and can take some practice.
We have an infinite resource within ourselves to be creative, loving, giving, and kind. We, especially as women, are born to serve.
The problem is that many of us can’t say no to service opportunities and so we say yes, but we feel resentful of all the things we’re doing. And yet we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone feel unloved.
Setting healthy boundaries doesn’t only teach others how to treat you but it also teaches you how to treat yourself.
Maintaining healthy boundaries is saying to yourself, “I’ve got you. I won’t overextend you. All the opportunities you want will come to you when you honor your energy and spend it on things that are in alignment with your core values.”
Ask yourself, “If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to? What will this thing cost me in terms of energy? What will I need to give up in order to do this?”
“If I want to be the best version of myself, for myself and for others, I must value my own mental health over other people’s expectations.” ~Samantha Skelly
How to Know if You Need to Set a Boundary
If you’ve been living life, pleasing others and feeling exhausted, maybe it’s time for you to set some healthy boundaries. But I find that most of us aren’t sure where to begin.
Samantha recommends setting aside some time to think. Now, this is not time while you’re also cooking dinner. This is not while you’re driving the kids to karate or while you’re in the school pickup line.
No, no, friends. You need time to just sit and think. Time to evaluate the areas of your life.
Begin with your relationships. Think about your relationship with your spouse or partner. Are there any boundaries you need to set in that relationship for better connection? Are you resentful about something in the relationship but you’ve just been letting it go because you don’t want to cause conflict?
You need to remember that resentment causes disconnection. So by not addressing the situation and setting a healthy boundary, you are already creating and allowing conflict to build in the form of resentment.
Ask yourself if you’re communicating the boundaries you have set. Oftentimes, people step over our boundaries, not because they don’t respect them, but because we haven’t clearly communicated that the boundary is there.
Setting Healthy Boundaries with Technology
One of the most difficult boundaries we have to set is a boundary around technology. If we don’t set it, our families and our goals will suffer.
As a business owner, I have personally seen this in my own life. I remember when I was first growing my business and I would get on my computer at night once I put the kids to bed. One night, my husband said, “Is this our new life? Do we longer get any together time? Will you be working on the computer every night now?”
I had to immediately set boundaries around my use of technology for our evenings. I also had to set healthy boundaries to ensure that I wasn’t looking at my computer or working on the business when it was time I needed to be with my kids.
Airplane mode is my favorite way to set healthy boundaries around technology. Every night at 8:00, my phone goes into airplane mode so that my husband gets me 100%. And when I’m with my kids, I try to be 100% there with them; not looking at my phone and telling them to hang on every 5 minutes.
How to Communicate Boundaries
It’s one thing to learn how to set healthy boundaries; it’s another thing altogether to communicate your boundaries to your loved ones in a way that doesn’t come across as unloving or uncaring.
This is especially tricky if you need to either set a new boundary or increase one that’s been set.
Communicating boundaries begins with taking full responsibility for what you need. So instead of apologizing for the boundary, you own it.
Here’s an example from Samantha –
“I’ve noticed that I feel resentful of you when you _______. This has nothing to do with you because I haven’t communicated that to you. But I need you to know that I need _____ in order for me to feel _______.”
We aren’t making demands, we are making a request that they honor our boundary. And if this person refuses to honor your boundary, you then have to decide if you want to continue to deal with that person in your life.
If you choose to continue to have a relationship with the person who doesn’t honor your personal boundaries, what shift will you need to make in order to avoid the negative feelings you have toward the certain behaviors?
Setting Healthy Boundaries Has Mutual Benefits
While at first, setting boundaries may feel icky and unloving, in the long run, healthy boundaries benefit both parties in the relationship.
You are setting a great example for your partner to be able to set healthy boundaries for themselves in their other relationships. It also puts to an end that feeling of always having to live our life to please others.
We are so afraid of offending people but maybe they need to learn how to deal with being offended and what boundaries they need to set around their own feelings.
Guess what? People are going to trigger you. All-day, every day. It’s just a fact of life. The question is always, what are you going to do about it? How will you respond? Will you use it as a chance to grow or will you become resentful and kick those people out of your life?
Resentment is not conducive to happy, healthy relationships with others. If we don’t lead by example in learning how to set healthy boundaries, our families won’t know how to set healthy boundaries in their own lives.
Learning how to say no and set healthy boundaries is a game changer to creating the best life for YOU.
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