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Day #37 – The Boundaries Are Yours to Draw – What is One Thing You Can Do Today?
People fear three things in life – death, pain and abandonment. Most emotional pain comes from the fear of being alone. Anger, resentment, frustration, being let down, and hurt all come from the worry of having no one on whom you can rely and trust. In an extreme case you sense as if the people you love have forsaken you. You may believe you have few, if any options, and have no way out. This paralyzes you from taking action that moves you forward.
There is no wonder why you feel trapped by the despair of these feelings – because to undo them relies on someone other than yourself to remedy your pain. And that is completely outside of your influence – even more frustrating.
As loving people we give love and receive love with a childlike openness and vulnerability that often is not reciprocated on our terms. Then when we experience hurt or are let down by someone we often shut off our ability to love because the pain associated with the risk of having our heart injured is too great. This results in an overall numbness to all emotions – even joy. Not healthy.
How do you take back the control of you own inner peace? Establish boundaries on your terms and no one else’s. When you give of yourself, give for the joy of giving with no expectation of anything in return for that is what it is to have an open heart. If giving that way brings you positive emotions such as joy, fulfillment and happiness then continuing to do so will generally further these emotions. If you find that giving of yourself brings you negative emotions such as disappointment, sorrow, resentment, and despair then you need to define a self preserving boundary and change your own behavior – not wait for someone else to change theirs in order for you to feel happy. You might consider changing your availability to that person, have an honest discussion about your feelings with them, or offer your energy in another direction until you see things more clearly. Basically you are defining the scope of what is healthy and not healthy for you. Awaiting someone else to meet your needs is not the answer. Your behavior will tell them what they need to do to gain your respect. If they don’t want your respect, you’ll know that by their reaction.
When you feel trapped in the head trash of your own negative emotions and feel as if there is no way to escape them define one simple thing that YOU can do today that will take you one step closer to peace. Just one thing. You might call a friend, update your resume, get expert advice, research something online. Then tomorrow take one more active step in a similar direction. This way you will start to take back ownership of your own destiny and not feel as if the boundary of your happiness is outside of your control. Start now!
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Mary Lee Gannon is the president of Gannon Group – an executive coaching and consulting firm that produces higher individual and organizational performance through Executive Leadership Coaching, Fundraising Coaching, Organizational Development, Board Retreats, Visioning, and Planning. Mary Lee’s personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother, with four children under seven-years-old, who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance from where within a short time she worked up to the level of CEO. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules for When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available in bookstores or at Amazon. Get her FREE ebook – “Grow Productivity – A Leader’s Toolbox” on her web site at www.StartingOverNow.com.