Stop ‘Shoulding’ All Over Your Boundaries

Stop ‘Shoulding’ All Over Your Boundaries

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” ~Brene Brown

I’ve coached a lot of people over the course of my career and heard a ton of stories.

A common complaint continues: When (and how) to draw boundaries with people who you know (intellectually) care for you, but in whose presence you feel chronically diminished, dismissed or unheard.

This is the real work of life. Not what you do for a living, not your career, but rather your relationships, especially the one you have with yourself.

Even executives talk about the relationships they find most challenging, and they are rarely the people with whom they work, but rather the people with whom they live, or the family into which they were born.

“Shoulds” arise regularly: “I should…”; “..but she should…”; etc. Shoulds based on duty and obligation rarely provide a joyful motivation.

Here’s my “should”: You should take care of yourself, first.

Learn what a boundary is and how to set it.

It’s not selfish. It’s smart.

And necessary if you want to free yourself from toxic relationships and their effects on your well-being.

How? Start by telling yourself the truth. Just because you’ve got a friend of forty years you “should” invite to your birthday party—but don’t want to—is not a good enough reason.

“But it would hurt his feelings.”

Yeah, it might.

And at some point, making choices for your own sense of well-being is better than continuing to hurt yourself because you “should.”

Sister Mary Tricky (yes, her real name) said, “We are “shoulding all over ourselves!”

I agree. And it’s time to stop.

Stay connected with our Monday Morning Message

Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

If your people have the skills to communicate more effectively, they can connect more authentically and thus collaborate more productively. Not only on the job, but also in life.

Communication, Connection, and Collaboration—the three “C’s”—are the cornerstones of all successful businesses.

Experiential learning through interactive workshops and coaching combines these three essential components with real-world application. By heightening self-awareness, enhancing emotional intelligence (EQ), and reinforcing accountability people become better communicators and self-managers.

I’ve been driving new kinds of conversations my entire career. Clear, confident, congruent conversations that generate change. The kind of conversations that create real collaboration. The kind that build your business—and your character.


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