Sweet people often have trouble saying ‘no’ when they are giving so much already, and it’s important to learn how to conserve energy and be direct with people in a pragmatic way. If you spread yourself too thin, you risk burning out, health related stress problems and building resentment.
If you want to be helpful and loving to people without sacrificing your personal happiness, read these 10 tips I’ve developed as a bleeding heart that have helped me create healthy boundaries with work, love, friends and family.
If you suspect that you belong to the ‘Women who love too much’ club, you probably do. If you feel like you can’t focus because you’ve taken on so many volunteer positions or promised so many people you would help them, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re spending your precious energy before it’s squandered.
Many bleeding heart type of people take care of everyone but themselves, and then end up having emotional problems as a result. It’s essential that you find confidence to structure your life without feeling the need to help too much because you just can’t do it.
1. Keep a realistic schedule
Women who love too much often become overbooked with activities, things to attend, tasks to complete and promises to fulfill. Suddenly, they lose focus of being sweet and kind because they are pulling their hair out trying to find time to do everything.
Look at your to-do list and cut back. You don’t have to do so much. If you do less, you’ll have more energy to put into those projects anyway, and be more present with people throughout the day.
When we rush, we risk getting into an accident while driving or becoming sick from stress. You should never rush; always leave yourself extra time to get places, so you can remain peaceful all day long. If you have too much on your plate, it’s time to put some things on the chopping block.
American lifestyles are way too busy for people to keep a healthy and positive mindset. If you’re going to take care of yourself, you need time to eat healthy food and make your own health a priority.
While you’re doing your labors of love for your partner, children, friends and coworkers, make sure you take breaks to have healthy snacks, stretch and relax. It’s just like they say on the airplane, first secure your own air mask before helping others.
2. Leave enough time to relax
You literally will be so much more efficient and helpful if you make time to relax every day and throughout the day. Music can help you relax. You need to let your brain decompress and not think about how you can help other people for a little while. Just be present to your surroundings and take in the sights, smells and sounds.
It took me a while to understand how important it is to relax. If you push yourself too much and neglect the need to have fun, you risk becoming depressed and it can lead to problems in your relationships.
While you have everyone’s best interest in mind, you can become a stress case if you don’t actively do nothing at least once a day. Simply watching a movie, reading a book, laying and looking at the stars or having tea with a friend can help you unwind.
I see lots of helicopter moms that try to be superwoman end up downing a bottle of wine every night just to deal with their stress. So take a bubble bath, play some reggae and dance around the house in your underwear before you end up taking life so seriously that you forget how to have fun!
3. Say no when it doesn’t feel right
Women who love too much often agree to things they really don’t want to do. It’s either because they feel obligated/guilty to do something or they have trouble being direct and saying what they actually want. This comes up in our jobs and our personal relationships.
If someone were to walk up to you on the street and ask for money, do you feel strong enough to say no? If you don’t, this is something you need to work on. Being too kind to people is actually being unkind to yourself.
If you’re getting too many responsibilities at work, and you feel like you’re buried under it, you need to speak up for yourself before you end up resenting your boss. They will respect you when you respect yourself and your time.
This is also important for women who are dating. Don’t be a martyr and try to help someone while you’re in a relationship. Women often overlook the behaviors of men with drug or alcohol problems because they love them too much. Sometimes it’s other issues, like gambling or lack of help with the family or just being disrespectful and not showing up when they make plans.
Men that disrespect women do not deserve a loving woman and you are only enabling them by staying with them. If they are verbally derogatory or physically abusive in anyway, at any time, you must realize you have a problem with healthy boundaries and get out of the relationship now.
4. Take time to think about things
Here is one technique that can help you create healthy boundaries. When people ask you to do things, they are probably used to you saying yes all the time. You can say, ‘oh let me look at my schedule and see if that will work.’ Or you can say ‘oh let me think about that.’ That gives you an opportunity to mull it over and see if it’s realistic for you to take on anything else.
The same goes for if a guy asks you out. You don’t have to agree to go out right away. Sometimes our impulse decisions are based on our old way of thinking, and just waiting to think about something can keep us from making poor decisions.
Take some time to consider if the guy really seems like a good guy or if he’s just a pretty face dangling a fancy dinner, trying to get what he wants. Your heart will know if his intentions are pure or not if you actually pause to see what your intuition says. You deserve to be treated as good as you would treat them.
5. Carve out time to do things you like
That’s right; you have got to do things that are going to fill up your tank. Don’t just say you enjoy helping people because while that is true, your subconscious brain also wants you to know life is meant to be playful and spontaneous too.
Taking time to go hiking, to have a laugh at dinner with friends, shop for something you like but don’t need or to take a yoga class can give you the energy you need to carry on with saving the world through random acts of kindness.
If you tend to cater to the needs of others, you also need to cater to yourself. If you have a partner who wants to spend lots of time with you and smothers you with love, you still need to create healthy boundaries and take time for yourself to make sure you don’t lose your identity getting wrapped up in other people’s lives.
You see, nice women often feel insecure because they don’t allow themselves to be fabulous. They’re so busy people-pleasing; they lose balance in their lives. I’ve definitely been there, and you’ll find that if you give all your time to others, you’ll soon crumble.
You must remember to focus on the many important factors of your life which include social, financial, family, spiritual, romantic, career, goals, hobbies, physical health and eating. We often lose sight of something when we focus all of our energy on helping others. Suddenly, you look up and years have passed and you haven’t laughed, danced or doodled. So take some doodle time today and find balance.
6. Remind yourself that you don’t have to save the world
Women who love too much take on too much and feel like it’s their responsibility to do everything. They think they have to solve poverty, save the environment and get everyone to understand how to eat healthy. Yes it is important we don’t ignore the problems of the world, we must fight to solve them, but we also must not bite off more than we can chew.
In the movie Australia there is a line that says “pride’s not power.” This reminds me of how important it is not to define yourself by how much you help others. If you allow your ego to build based on what you do for others, it will create an insatiable desire to sacrifice at your own expense.
Basically, what I’m saying is that you must do your best and forget the rest. Accept that you can’t do it all, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep a good intention but don’t get worked up when you can’t keep everyone happy.
When you take the world off your shoulders and realize it’s not your responsibility to solve all the problems in the world, you will get your mental clarity back and realize you can help more if you focus on just one or two issues at a time.
We all know those people that flake out all the time because they have too many meetings and are pulled in every direction, it’s like a disease. They literally can’t decide where to help and their energy is scattered all over the place. Don’t be that girl, stay focused.
7. Don’t give your energy to people who mistreat you
This can be a really hard boundary to set up and it’s hard for loving, nurturing women to know when to say enough is enough. We take on other people’s problems and it weighs us down.
If someone isn’t treating you decently, the bottom line is, you must speak your mind and not put up with it. It’s old-school to keep things inside. Be bold, be courageous, and even if you know that person isn’t going to take it well, you need to get in the habit of drawing clear lines by saying exactly what is not ok.
You will have to burn bridges in your life, my dears, there are still people out there who don’t respect women. I don’t care how powerful they are; you stick up for yourself and don’t give them a minute of your time. A really loving woman sticks up for women’s rights, and sets an example for her friends and family.
8. Work towards one goal
Try just focusing on one project at a time. You’ll be able to get enough sleep and do things thoroughly. Make sure you actually enjoy what you’re doing too. Demand to be fairly treated for your time and not just left doing someone else’s dirty work for a fraction of what you should be paid.
If you’re volunteering, still make sure you’re being treated with respect. If you’re a mother, let your kids know you will help them, but also show them how to take time for themselves by doing it yourself.
Write down your top goals, choose one and go for that. Make a realistic list of steps you need to do to accomplish your goal, and go about it with a sense of ease and relaxation, so you enjoy the process. It’s essential that we enjoy what we are doing while we give our nurturing energy. In doing so, we spread joy, happiness and teach others not to struggle.
9. Take time to get to know people before committing
When it comes to relationships, don’t let your niceness allow him to pressure you into one. You have every right to take your time getting to know someone. No doubt, men can be manipulative and they know how to tell you what they want.
Depending on what role models we have had, we may not really know how to have a strong voice. Well, today is a new day and you can find that strong voice right now. You can say, this isn’t working for me or I’m not doing all your laundry anymore. You can say how you really feel and be proud that you are doing the right thing.
10. Don’t overlook red flags
Unfortunately, loving women have a tendency to be so positive they overlook the red flags and find themselves mixed up with people who take advantage of their kind nature. Creating boundaries means being less agreeable and soft. I know it might sound like I’m beating a dead horse but this is a hard shell to crack.
We are so used to overlooking red flags that we don’t even realize when something obvious is staring us right in the face. Your protective mechanisms need to be more like spider senses and cue you into people who might influence you to make poor decisions.
When you are a people pleaser, you may find yourself mixed up with crowds that are less than high caliber because you don’t want to judge them.
Well, stay on higher ground and lead an example from a distance. Don’t mingle with dirt or you’ll get dirty. If people have an unhealthy lifestyle, act in ways that are disrespectful to others or do things that are unkind, you really don’t have to be their friend. Be selective with whom you hang out with or you’re liable to end up involved in things you want to stay away from.
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