I heard a statistic on the radio (yes, a radio, it's still a thing) that said, more of us are single than in a romantic relationship or marriage. That means more of us are going to die younger than necessary.
Human beings require intimate connections with other human beings to stay alive. To further highlight this point, there was a study decades ago that coined the phrase "failure to thrive." It proved that people who have food and water but little or no intimate connections or touch from other people pass away faster than humans who are being hugged, kissed, and spoken to regularly.
Here is another eye-opener. In our lifetime, we spend more time on social media (5 years, 4 months) than we do eating and drinking (3 years, 5 months). Hello! More time watching other people "live" than we spend doing something that is required to stay alive is a problem! But, there is hope. There is something that can protect us from these modern-day silent killers: Boundaries.
Healthy boundaries are the elixir to all that ails us. Many of us aren't aware of where our boundaries lie, let alone if they are healthy. Healthy boundaries can quite literally cure us of mostly everything we suffer from, mentally and physically.
Knowing what you want or don't want and being consistent with honoring your desires is the way to develop healthy boundaries.
It is also the only way to feel and actually be genuinely happy. We don't often recognize when we are compromising our boundaries, especially with the seemingly simple things in life. Take the scenario test below to see where your boundaries lie.
Once you get a sense of how weak or strong your boundaries might be, then you can take steps toward making your boundaries healthier. There are only two answers you can give to each scenario: YES or NO. There is no MAYBE. Be honest with yourself. When answering, your answer MUST reflect what you've done in the past, not what you wish you did or what you plan to do moving forward.
A girlfriend asks you to brunch when you want to stay home and funds are low. Do you pull out the credit card and go? YES or NO
Your cousin asks you last minute to watch her kids for 30 minutes. Last time, 30 minutes turned into 6 hours. Do you agree to watch the kids? YES or NO
Your bestie ask you to do something that will interfere with your plans to go home, take a bath and watch Love Is with your cheesecake. Do you comply with her request? YES or NO
Do you look at social media instead of making your to-do list, taking yoga class, cooking a good meal, or writing another chapter in your book? YES or NO
You've eaten poorly and drank with friends all weekend and your body is feeling it. Monday night work dinner with the company bigwigs, the boss suggests that you try the restaurant's decadent 5-star dish. This dish is everything your body doesn't need right now. Do you comply to show off your team player skills? YES or NO
Your "maintenance man" is texting to ask for a late night oil change (wink, wink). You would rather chill alone for the night. Because you know you've used this guy for the occasional early morning tire rotations or evening engine flush, do you agree to his request? YES or NO
A boundary is a point or line that marks a limit. It is a borderline or partition between the life you want to live and the life everyone else is trying to make you live.
If you had more YES's than No's, you need to tune your boundaries to a higher and healthier frequency. Here is how:
At the beginning of each month, decide on your top two priorities for the month. For example, firm up my thighs and write 15 pages of my novel. Before you agree to requests, demands, or suggestions from others, ask yourself these three questions:
1) Does this keep me on task with my top two priorities for the month?
2) If I do "this," will I get closer to achieving my goals or completing my plans?
3) If this doesn't turn out to be amazing for me, will I be upset or frustrated?
We all have moments when flexibility is required, but for the most part we need to know what we want and reject all the things that won't get us there. Think about it like this, creating your boundaries is like roller-skating. You set your direction and speed while allowing yourself to have fun and try new moves, but if you let someone else push you, there is a good chance you will wipe out.
Big or small, any step past your personal boundaries is a step away from your peace and happiness.
La Shell Wooten is a NYC-based licensed therapeutic life coach who enjoys a good cup of tea, beautiful sunset and a quality tire rotation. Check out her website: www.lashellwooten.com