3 boundaries every woman should have
I hate saying no. I used to try and live in a world where I said yes all the time, to everyone.
It was not a fun world. The symptoms of poor boundaries (not being able to say no) in my life were exhaustion, anxiety, weight-gain, isolation, burn-out, lonliness, lack of sleep, low immunity.⠀
My coach used to say ‘every time you say yes to something you say no to something else’. For me when I said yes to something I would be often be saying no to me. Saying no to rest, exercise, leisure or pleasure. Or just doing the things that I found most meaningful.⠀
3 boundaries every woman should have:
Respect in relationships
It's all too easy for the way someone treats you to become the acceptable norm. Whether it is a mild form of disrespect like verbal manipulation and criticism or a more overt form of disrespect like put-downs and sexual harassment. Everyone should be able to hold respectful boundaries with others.
The first stage in holding these boundaries is recognising when they are not there. Noticing that if you feel uneasy about a relationship and being prepared to talk to a trusted friend about it. Naming the disrespect for what it is without hiding or defending the behaviour.
We do not have control over the choices of others but we can have full control over our own choices. Being consistent with appropriate boundaries in relationships will lead to health and happiness.
If you are concerned about a relationship in your life make an appointment with a trained counsellor for advice. The BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) is a good signpost site.
Treating your body well
If you do not have complete positive regard for your body right now then you have got some work to do in this area. Right actions are formed out of right attitudes and self-love is the only source of consistent positive choices for your body.
My advice is to work on the habits that promote health but also the mentality that produces health. Any small increase in good habits will have a knock on effect to well-being; so buy a smoothie for lunch, book in a coffee with your girlfriend, find a good book and join a kettlebells class. Whatever works for you.
When it comes to mindset for treating your body well my most powerful tool is mirror work. Stand in front of a full-length mirror (work up to standing in your underwear or naked) gaze at each part of your body in turn and speak words of acceptance and pleasure. Even if you don’t feel any acceptance or pleasure choosing positive words and saying them out loud will have significant benefit for your psyche. Repeat this gazing at yourself and speaking positively as often as you can. Track the changes you experience in positive self-regard.
Being in control of your finances
Whether you have your own bank account or a shared one knowing how much money you have and choosing how it is used is a vital part of womanhood. Too many women I know defer on proper financial responsibility to their partners. (N.B that includes me; I’m working on it!). And good financial management takes more than just time and inclination. It takes us to straighten out our relationship with money. Get rid of hiding or fear and to embrace our worth and power when it comes to money.
Amazingly these days, there are lots of online money courses and books written for women. These are a couple I like:
Whether you are just getting to grips with healthy boundaries in your life or you are a seasoned boundary setter the good news is that setting healthy boundaries is something we can all learn to do. Whenever we begin to benefit from saying no to unhealthy choices the cycle of health gets strengthened. The next time the healthy choice is a little easier.