By Janice Story
After working twenty four years in what became for me, a very toxic job, I was finally able to leave and retire from the corporate world. I spent the majority of those years working sixty to eighty hours a week and had no boundaries. Not only did I not know that I should have them, I had no clue what that even meant. People would say to me, “You need to put boundaries in place.” “Quit letting others walk over top of you.”
I never realized that I had been allowing this to happen. When I took a moment to look back through my life and my relationships, I could see and understand that I had been doing this for almost my whole life. I always put other people’s needs and wants in front of my own. I thought that’s what life was about, helping others, keeping them happy. Trying hard not to cause problems, tip-toeing around and just keeping quiet in general so everything remained peaceful. Even if it meant sacrificing my own needs and wants.
My behaviors and patterns originated from my own lack of self worth and low self esteem. I didn’t really know how to take care of me. I found myself becoming more stressed and really felt stuck. Then something magical and wonderful happened when I truly started loving myself. I learned to use healthy boundaries and that it was ok to say “no.” Things began to shift when I started loving myself. Others seemed to be respectful of my boundaries, instead of walking over top of me.
As I continued to learn about and utilize boundaries, I discovered that they not only helped me, but they also made the relationships around me thrive. As my own self esteem and confidence came back, I was learning what self love really was. When I started taking care of me first, I was able to take care of and assist others in a more beneficial way. I could help them without allowing myself to become trampled on, and I wasn’t giving more than I had to give. In the past I had alway felt drained and exhausted.
Don’t let yourself be consumed by the fear that putting up boundaries will cause those you love to retreat. You might just discover, like I did, that people will actually respect you more.
Boundaries are a topic that often shows up during my Equine Assisted Coaching Sessions. Horses seem to be able to "pick up on" when someone doesn't have very good boundaries, and are quick to point it out. Yet at the same time, they are excellent at helping people learn to create and establish healthy ones. Equine Assisted Coaching is the most rewarding job I have ever had. Helping others through areas in their lives where they are feeling stuck, by providing a safe space for them to reconnect to themselves. To learn more about our programs, visit us at: www.freedomwayequinecoaching.com