I had a hard time learning the concept of boundaries in my life. I wasn’t really a “yes man,” but I had a hard time learning how to set a boundary with someone when they had certain things they’d come to expect of me. I would usually just makes excuses of why I couldn’t say yes rather than just saying no. I always felt like I had to have a reason to say no, or at least find one.
No one holds your time or energy hostage.
You do not have to say yes simply because someone asks you. And you don’t have to say, “I really wish I could but…” You can just say “No. That’s not right for me.” Or, “No. I can’t help with that because I have other priorities right now.” Or, “I love you, but no, I can’t spend time with you right now because you have cancelled on me too many times and my time is valuable.” I know this sounds harsh and the hardest part about setting boundaries is letting everyone around you learn to take no for an answer. Some will get very upset. They are used to getting whatever they ask for and this is natural. Some people may feel that you are acting less loving towards them or that you are upset with them in some way. This will pass. People will learn to appreciate your boundaries because they will know that when you say yes, you really mean it and you will not resent them for it later. ...
First, let’s start with the definition. Character is what you do when no one is watching. If this is the case, what does that even mean anymore? We post everything we do on social media. We post what we eat, what we wear, what we’re listening to. The only things it seems we don’t post are things we are ashamed of, which honestly, if you spend too many hours on YouTube you’ll realize is not much.
As a high school teacher, I can tell you that positive reinforcement is drilled into teachers in almost every training we go to. Studies show that positive reinforcement tends to work even when the reinforcer leaves the equation, so we started using it in education all over the place. Teacher buy loads of candy, do treasure chests, have games with prizes, all so that students can feel an immediate positivity about reaching some kind of goal or exhibiting some type of desired behavior. This, of course, is a push back against old school academics with paddles and other punishments or negative reinforcement (when you withhold a reward) for example no recess. ...
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“The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m not sure who the first person was who said that. Probably Shakespeare. Or maybe Sting. But at the moment, it’s the sentence that best explains my tragic flaw: my inability to change. I don’t think I’m alone in this. The more I get to know other people, the more I realize it’s kind of everyone’s flaw. Staying exactly the same for as long as possible, standing perfectly still… it feels safer somehow. And if you are suffering, at least the pain is familiar. Because if you took that leap of faith, went outside the box, did something unexpected… who knows what other pain might be out there, waiting for you. Chances are it could be even worse. So you maintain the status quo. Choose the road already traveled and it doesn’t seem that bad. Not as far as flaws go. You’re not a drug addict. You’re not killing anyone… except maybe yourself a little. When we finally do change, I don’t think it happens like an earthquake or an explosion, where all of a sudden we’re like this different person. I think it’s smaller than that. The kind of thing most people wouldn’t even notice unless they looked at us really close. Which, thank God, they never do. But you notice it. Inside you that change feels like a world of difference. And you hope this is it. This is the person you get to be forever… that you’ll never have to change again.” ...
We grew up in a generation where we were told we were not enough. Not smart enough (maybe you have ADHD- get some meds), not happy enough (Prozac), not creative enough (take every lesson on the planet but also have time for homework), but at the same time make sure you don’t pursue all that creativity and choose a job that is not too unrealistic. Most of us were brought up in a lose lose situation. Here are some examples from a Kacey Musgraves song I just love.
“If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore.
If you don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a whore-able person.
If you won’t have a drink, then you’re a prude.
But they’ll call you a drunk as soon as you down the first one.” ...