I was raised to be strong and to not show emotions…especially the “negative” or “bad” emotions such as sadness or anger. I have developed a strong sense of myself and I have figured out what works for me and what doesn’t. What does become challenging for me at times is listening to and paying attention to that voice that tells me something isn’t right for me and setting boundaries.

The inner battle

It is an inner battle that I fight quite often. Knowing what is right for me can mean saying, “No” to someone else or to their opinion. Saying that I disagree with them or that I am not ready to talk about that issue at that very moment does not mean that I don’t want to talk about that issue—or them—ever again. Setting boundaries and not being upset if someone else does not like it can be extremely challenging.

What is it about setting a boundary that makes me feel like I have alienated that person or a particular group of people? For me, it comes from my upbringing. I recall so clearly having a differing opinion is “wrong” and it disrupts the “norm.” And, we can’t have that!

Healthy boundaries

Making the move to set healthy boundaries and to take care of myself was neither admired nor respected. But, rather, the result would be alienation and rejection. I was labeled as someone who just wanted to cause problems.

Setting boundaries leads to happiness. (Even if it feels a bit painful or challenging at first).

If someone wants you to volunteer and you can’t or you don’t want to do it, you can say, “Thank you for thinking of me for that. I can’t at this time. Have fun!”

If someone gives you unsolicited advice, imagine that the person is coming from a helpful, caring place and thank them.
You can say, “Thank you for the advice. I appreciate your concern.”

If you are feeling stressed or you are worried about whether everything will work out, let your mind rest.

You can say to yourself, “You have been working very hard. Allow your thoughts to drift and your mind to rest.”

Keys to living a happy, peaceful, healthy life include…
• Setting boundaries
• Asking for you what you want and need
• Self-preservation and self-care

About the author: To find out more about Julie Ostrow, please click here.

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