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“It's a slippery slope, Carrie. Without boundaries you never know what might happen.” Miranda from Sex and the City TV Series
I’m a firm believer that setting clear defining boundaries (and keeping them) is key to keeping your life reasonably smooth and sane, and even more so during a stressful time such as an upcoming holiday season.
If your holidays are starting to get as tangled up as your Christmas lights then it is probably because you have lost sight of your boundaries, plus your ‘eyes’ are eating more than your ‘mouth’ is right about now. You are probably saying ‘YES’ when you want to say ‘NO’.
I can relate. Christmas is my favourite time of year and I do love spreading cheer. I can get so caught up in those bright shiny objects that I forget where I was going when I started. However, if I don’t honour my boundaries, I don’t take care of myself and then I wind up not enjoying the holiday season. Those old People Pleasing habits run deep. It showed up for me this past weekend when I was out Christmas shopping for Mimi’s hearts (which are my 5 precious grandchildren). I wanted to buy everything I saw. However, what helped me was that I set a budget before I went out shopping.
So let’s talk about how you can stay sane and take care of yourself at the same time this holiday season.
So what’s a boundary? Yeah, I know. It took me a lot of years to answer that one too and I still struggle with it on occasion. By definition, the word boundary means to set a limit, a line not be crossed. And if you are a chronic People Pleaser, you have allowed others to step over your boundaries for so long that you’ve forgotten where your boundaries are. Why? Because you’re so used to people pleasing that you are too afraid to speak up.
Over time you have given away your integrity, your self-esteem, your dignity, and most of all, your power. And more than likely those dreaded double “R’s”, resentment and resignation have set in and you feel powerless to change it. The bottom line about setting boundaries is not that we can’t set them; it’s that we don’t give ourselves PERMISSION to set boundaries.
So let’s talk about how you can stay sane and take care of yourself at the same time this holiday season. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
If you noticed above, I like to focus on more of what I want to do as opposed to what I don’t want to do. That’s what boundaries are about – doing what YOU want to do as opposed to what you feel OBLIGATED to do.
This year take a look at where you are now, where you want to be, and how you want to feel when Christmas gets here.
When you set boundaries and have an action plan, you are more likely to get where you want to go and stay sane in the process.
Article by C. Tuminello