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Does Your Life Need Personal Boundaries? Take This Quiz To Find Out

Wellness

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.

Quiz:

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

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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