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Let’s talk about healthy ego and boundaries. Much of our satisfaction in life comes from living in peace and loving relation to others, be they family, partners or friends. To be in successful relation to others you have to know and maintain your boundaries so as to avoid losing your sense of self and falling into the destructive patterns of people pleasing and drama.

When setting and maintaining boundaries you need to be able to hold the concept of a healthy sense of ego (who you are, what you stand for, what you want) in tension with the needs and wants of others. You have an absolute right to own and express your needs, your desires, your values and beliefs; and so do others. The trick is to know how to cope with being true to yourself while allowing others to be true to themselves.

As the old saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to disagree and it’s okay to have needs and desires that conflict with other people’s, even the people closest and most important to you. You are the person you spend the most time with, so it’s crucial that you work out who you are, what your values are, what your limits are and learn to stand by them confidently.

I spent a lifetime apologising for who I was and making small, safe decisions to keep people liking me. When I finally realised I was bitterly unhappy with the life my decisions had created and started to assert myself it came in the form of aggressive entitlement, refusal to give ground, rejecting others and trying to cope on my own. I denied myself the love and support I desperately craved because I didn’t know how to be vulnerable and admit to needs while staying fully myself. I didn’t know how to set healthy boundaries. And I didn’t know who I was because I’d spent a lifetime being whoever I needed to be to get that love and approval.

What I had to learn was that the art to setting boundaries is quite easy but takes courage. You simply work out what you stand for, say what you need and then calmly stand by it – without trying to force others to agree with you or change their behaviour to suit you, and without doing the same yourself. If someone rejects you for doing that then they don’t respect you or care for you and they certainly aren’t right for your life. You can compromise or agree to disagree but if you don’t act in integrity with your innermost values then you will not truly enjoy being around them – or yourself.

You don’t have to be everyone’s friend but you have to be able to be your friend. If you spend a lot of time dealing with drama and conflict or living a life that doesn’t feel like it belongs to you then examine your values. Examine whether you are honouring what’s important to you in your interactions with others. Look at how you hold your boundaries and how you respect the values and boundaries of others. How can you set a healthy balance? What do you need to work on to protect and project a healthy ego? These are the fundamental questions of healthy relationship with others and yourself.

ACTION POINTS:

1. Take time today to remind yourself what your top level values are.
2. Review your friendships and relationships. Who are you spending time with? Is there drama and conflict or do they support and uplift you?

Take these two actions today and start to restore balance to your life.

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