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Queen of Your Own Life

Boundaries | Reclaim the Crown to Harvest Happiness

by Cindy Ratzlaff

Everyone wants something from you. Even you want something from you.  I know this because the issue of boundaries is at the core of nearly every moment of dissatisfaction or distress in our lives.  When we’re not clear with ourselves and with others about what we will and will not, can and cannot do, then we set ourselves up to disappoint others and ultimately, ourselves.

This all stems from our deep seeded desire to be loved or at least liked. So we say yes. Yes to the neighbors, yes to the boss, yess to our children, yes to our spouse or friend.  Each of those “yes” answers might have come from the heart, and a true desire to be of service.  I get that.  I do that. But they almost always also came from a need to be liked or loved and a fear that if we said no, we would be unloved or not liked.

And, after saying yes to everyone, we find ourselves deflated, defeated, overwhelmed, angry, hurt, unappreciated and emotionally fried. Then, whether we know it or not, those feelings of being put upon seep out and get directed toward the original askers.

That’s where we need to stop and say to ourselves, “This is not their fault. This is my fault.  I didn’t set strong boundaries and in saying yes to everyone, I was untruthful about my abilities and my desires.”

“Woah,” you’re saying. “Why is it my fault that everyone takes advantage of me?”

Here’s why.  When we set strong boundaries, we are being honest and we are giving our loved ones and friends the gift of that honesty. When we pause and think through the request and answer based on these questions, then we’re being clear.  Stop and ask yourself:

“Do I want to do this? Do I have the time to do this? Do I have the resources to do this?”

IF the answer to all three is yes, then say yes, with love and deliver the request with love.

IF the answer to any of these three questions is no, decline the request immediately, with love and allow the asker to find another person to do the favor. Your gift to them is honesty, time to find someone else AND the absence of your anger and frustration later when you’re overwhelmed.

Say yes only when you mean yes and no, only when you mean no and you’ll be reclaiming the crown to harvest happiness. This one takes practice on a daily scale because we’re all serial “yes” sayers. But I promise you, you can train yourself and your circle of friends to value your yes more because your no is honestly, kindly, considerately given.  Practice, Queens.  This is a big one.

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9 Responses to “Boundaries | Reclaim the Crown to Harvest Happiness”

  1. Yvonne says:

    This is truly damaging to us and those we love. If we start to be honest with people close to us, and who have been in our lives for a long time, they may not like to hear “no.” But with daily practice, and coming from a place of love for ourselves and others, we need to push forward. It isn’t going to be easy but it is something we need to do to reclaim our lives.

  2. cindy says:

    So true Yvonne. Sometimes it’s hard for people to accept change, so it’s important for us to be clear, consistent and to honor ourselves.

  3. victoria says:

    This article came at the very perfect time for me. At my age, you would think that I had this figured out-boundaries! Well, I find myself in this again. Rather strange to realize that I don’t want to disappoint anyone so I end up feeling terrible and having to go back and change the answer to “no” which is upsetting to all, not to mention that my stomach aches, can’t sleep and no one is inspired.
    Thank you for the timely reminder. It did inspire me to be more vigilant with my responses for everyone’s sake.

  4. Laura Hall says:

    This is really useful for me. I’ve written the three questions and taped them up where I can see them every day. They are so simple, but I often don’t ask them and automatically say yes. I hope this will help me be more mindful when asked to do something.

  5. Terry says:

    It is so very true -to set boundaries, but for those of us really just starting on that journey, it is extremely difficult . But the challenge is on, so here’s the first opportunity don’t try to change every area at once just pick one focus on it, celebrate your steps forward , share your success, your mistakes and we can all learn from them together. Mine is planning time for myself ( my daughter and 2 grandchildren are living with me) a safer environment that with the father of the grands, but yet an adjustment none the less. I was married for 37yrs and in 2008 my husband passed away , four months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am now 2 1/2 yrs cancer free! My life has changed in just about every way, so why not focus on making those changes for more emotionally, spiritually , physically and mentally balanced life and setting boundaries is very important. All these can be stresses that if not dealt with can affect our immune system. Don’t wait start now !

  6. Barbara Neary says:

    I used to be a footstool for every man in my life. One day I just asked, “Why do I put up with this?”. It wasn’t a big change, but it got noticed. I keep being asked where the person I was has gone.

  7. Bonnie says:

    Setting boundaries appears to be an issue that women struggle with more than men. I have pinpointed specific persons and/or situations that have me saying “yes” when I mean no. I started practicing on the “small stuff” and then when the big stuff came along (like saying “no” to my sister when she wanted to visit me) came along, I did it! Not only once but twice! Yes, it felt awkward and I think my sister was disappointed but guess what, I felt great knowing that I didn’t once again say “yes” to appease someone else’s needs. It also felt great to see that my sister didn’t “abandon me.” My fears of what will happen if I say “no” of these years in many situations was based on my assumptions, which I know now, were not true. So to fellow Queens – re-take your throne and let your decisions be based on your needs and desires, not others. Thank you for introducing this topic Cindy!

  8. cindy says:

    I love the actions you are taking, Bonnie, to take care of yourself. And, now, when you say yes, your friends and family will know that you really mean yes. That’s a wonderful feeling!

  9. cindy says:

    I’d say that the person you were is back!

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