There is a lot of advice that we should set some level of personal and professional boundaries. We want to protect our time, our space, our sanity. But how do we actually create, set, and hold on to boundaries? Three experts helping women change the way they think about self-worth, money, and relationships chime in.
sara michael is a coach who focuses on getting past awkward conversations about money.
Her mission is to help women more confidently earn their worth while making a difference in people’s lives. She believes that the biggest obstacle women have in setting boundaries is the primal instinct to feel connected to others.
“Connection equals security,” she says, “it’s the female survival instinct that drives us to avoid disconnecting from other people at all costs. Asking for money, charging what you’re worth, and honoring the immense value you provide are all potential ‘disconnects’, making it easier to charge by default or give your services away for free.”
Michael points out that this mentality is called the “servant heart” mentality. He sees it frequently among his business clients.
“When clients come to me with no money limits, it creates a ripple effect,” she says. “In an effort to earn more money, you have to work harder and put in more hours. This is what causes burnout, adrenal fatigue, and burnout.”
She advises women to break free of that servant-hearted mentality, which gets in the way of getting paid what they’re worth. Many women fear that when they charge too much, others will see them as greedy or useless. But Michael points out that they might actually be more helpful to others if they had more money to invest in their business. To do more, they need to charge more.
Hilary DeCesare is a business coach and founder of The Relaunch Co. She encourages her clients to overcome the notion that limits prohibit growth.
“85% of our thoughts are automatically negative,” says DeCesare. “When an opportunity arises, we tend to think that it will not work because we lack the tools that allow us to believe that we can succeed.”
DeCesare sees that the biggest obstacle for most of her clients is a lack of self-confidence. “Stable ‘boundaries’, like a line in the sand, no longer exist,” she says. “Many have found themselves in a constant and unresolvable state of internal struggle and stress.”
She says that when people start to doubt themselves, the first thing they should do is ask themselves, what is not working right now? Once she identifies her biggest challenge, she says the next step is to change the channel in her mind like you would change a song on the radio. This can be a powerful tool to help you start to visualize what you really want and set boundaries around it.
kate mangona is a certified relationship coach and host of the Medicine, Marriage and Money podcast. She sees the biggest hurdle in relationships as figuring out the most important line to set.
“A boundary is for our emotional safety, not to harm or punish the other person in the relationship,” she says. “I often work with perfectionists and people pleasers in recovery who have to get over their own mental drama about what a limit is before they can set one and stick with it.”
She points out that each person in the relationship has different needs, and both must be accommodated. Mangona often finds herself reminding clients that meeting their own needs is not selfish.
“We must first learn to love ourselves and care for our own desires before helping others or else others will feel resentment, anger, or burnout,” she says. “Our children see it and feel it too. What we model eventually becomes their main reaction as well.”
She worries that too many women leave their well-being in the hands of others and would like to see more of them take the reins. They also need to meet the needs of their partners based on where they actually are.
“You did NOT marry yourself,” she says. “If we can accept the fact that our love languages may be different, we can learn to receive more love from our spouse. Once we stop trying to change what they say or how they say it, we can start loving them exactly as they are.”
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