This whole month we are talking about everything BOUNDARIES. It’s the hot buzzword right now. With the holidays right around the corner, this is a buzzword that is going to get you through the next few months and the rest of your life, feeling more powerful than you ever have before.
Growing up, I had no idea what boundaries even were. “Boundaries?! What’s that?!” In my Italian family, they were nonexistent. In Italian culture, how we are portrayed and what people think about us is more important than living our truth. This way of life was all I knew, that is until I set that belief on FIRE.
Let me give you some examples of boundaries:
- Saying no
- Being able to change your mind
- Having your own opinion without being criticized
- Being able to communicate your physical needs
- Sticking up for yourself (all my people pleasers, I know you are feeling this one)
- Having autonomy
- Having your own space
- Being able to express your feelings
These are to name a few. Can you relate to any of these? I’m raising my hand right now because I certainly can. If you’re raising your hand too, I want to let you know that it is totally possible to change all of this around, but not without first getting a little uncomfortable. If you’re going to go from a quiet kitten to a lioness, you’re going to need to find the courage to find your inner ROAR.
I am a visual person, so let me paint a picture of what your life may look like without boundaries in relation to others. I’ll use myself as an example. Growing up, I was always taught to say yes, and to put other people’s needs ahead of my own. If I was invited to a family event, I went, saying I can’t make it came with backlash and loads of guilt. I was also not allowed to be my own person because I had to be what everyone else needed me to be, “The Good Girl, The Good Daughter, and The Good Wife.” I was what was safe and acceptable. I had to live up to the expectations of what was “proper and conducive in a marriage.”
You might be wondering, “Where is Marisa in all of this?” The essence of who I was was buried beneath the surface. She was so far down that I had no idea who she even was anymore.
But a suppressed volcano can only contain itself for so long before it erupts.
Living without boundaries was living a life outside myself. I like to explain it as I was sort of a spectator in my life and not the creator of my life. I allowed everyone else to pull the strings. Because of that, I felt very disconnected and isolated, and that infiltrated how I showed up in all my relationships, especially my marriage.
It was not until my 19-year relationship came to an end that I realized that if I wanted to rediscover who I was again, not as a mom or a wife but as a woman, I needed to be able to set massive boundaries with everyone—with my ex, my kids, my parents, family, anyone that got in the way of me living my truth. =
If you’ve never set boundaries before, don’t be surprised when you are met with resistance. The people in your life that are used to getting what they want from you aren’t going to like it, and frankly, it’s not your job to be liked. Your only job is to live your truth.
How Do You Find Your Inner Roar?
- Enlist support!
Nothing is going to change unless you change something. The people in your life got you to where you are. They are not your go-to people when it comes to change. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It just means that they may not have the tools or the awareness to get you to where you want to be. So, you’ll need to gather some troops to help you find the courage to get the ball moving.
When we are conditioned to people not respecting boundaries, we start to normalize bad behavior, and we create all kinds of excuses for this person who is disrespecting us. They aren’t the problem because they are only doing what they have always done. We have to accept responsibility because we are allowing this bad behavior to continue.
When you enlist support, make sure they have no vested interest or emotional attachment to your situation. You can enlist a counselor, coach, mentor (if you don’t know any personally, find them digitally), or someone with a growth mindset that can be a pillar of strength until you can stand in a place of power on your own.
- Practice listening to your inner spirit
Your authentic voice, the truest version of who you are, will not be found or determined by anything outside yourself. In order to find your voice, you need to be willing to journey inside yourself and be ready to have deep-rooted conversations. I like to say that the moment I met my truth was when I journeyed inside myself and my voice met my spirit and their conversation was stillness. In that stillness is where my truth lives, and so does yours; it is the only truth that exists.
Finding your roar doesn’t have to be loud or aggressive, but it does need to come from deep within yourself. A lioness’s roar is purposeful: she is very protective of her family, and she warns those closest to her to step away if she feels threatened. You are doing the same when you are expressing your voice. You’re saying these are my boundaries, and nothing will get close to my energy field unless it serves my highest good.
Practice sitting in stillness, undistracted in silence, so that you can connect with your inner voice. Meditation is also a great way to connect to your voice. It’s those quiet moments that allow you to wash away all the noise of the world and connect to the one voice that matters—yours.
- Kick guilt to the curb
Guilt has no room in your life, and to be honest, it’s getting in the way of living your purpose. Guilt is just learned helplessness. If you feel guilty about setting boundaries, it’s because no one ever taught you self-love and self-care. Unless you were raised by enlightened parents, which most of us were not, you might not have the tools in your toolbox to protect your energy from those who want to take it from you.
How does guilt show up when using your voice? Guilt can rear its ugly head when you set boundaries, and people don’t like it. If you get resistance when setting boundaries, it’s because those people in your life are used to getting what they want and saying what they want, and now you aren’t allowing them if it isn’t aligned with your highest good. Remember, you are teaching people how to treat you. You cannot feel guilty for how others receive your truth. Their reaction is their responsibility.
If you read my story in the newly released book, “Owning Your Choices,” you know about my divine experience I had during my separation in my closet. It was a powerful experience that changed the course of my life. You can get my chapter right here and read all about what happened: https://marisalupocoaching.com/ (scroll down to where it says Get My Chapter Free).
When I had that experience, the message that I received was, “You cannot do what I need you to do if you continue to carry what isn’t yours.” I knew exactly what that message meant. It meant that if I wanted to do what I was here on this earth to do, then I needed to get rid of the anchor I had been carrying. The deadweight that I had been holding onto was guilt for wanting out of my marriage.
It’s time to start noticing where guilt is showing up for you, and when it does, be ready to have a conversation with it. Let guilt know that you are more than capable of handling the situation and that you are no longer helpless.
- Be ready to get ugly and uncomfortable
When you begin to set boundaries with people by expressing your authentic voice, it will feel uncomfortable and scary. The people in your life may try and make you feel bad about yourself or say to you, “You aren’t the same as you used to be. You changed.” Damn right you changed! You’re now standing in a place of loving yourself so much that you don’t have time to care about being liked. A woman standing in her power will threaten some people, and if it does, those aren’t your people.
Look, I get that you may be the good girl, and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but do you want to be a doormat for the rest of your life? Staying silent and not speaking your truth comes at a cost, and that cost is crippling your spirit. We are too comfortable with saying to ourselves, “But I don’t want to hurt this person by speaking my truth,” and we don’t realize it’s at the cost of hurting ourselves.
Will speaking your truth feel scary? YES, but do it anyway! Eventually, it will feel like second nature, and you won’t live life any other way. It’s like learning how to walk for the first time as a baby. A baby doesn’t give up when they fall. They keep practicing, and before you know it, they are running all over the place.
- Praise and celebrate yourself for doing hard things
This one is probably the most important tip as well as the hardest one. I don’t know what it is, but we never really stop and see how far we have come as women. I’m not going to lie; I still struggle with this. Someone recently just said to me, “Marisa, you’ve come so far on your journey, and you have overcome so much. Have you stopped to celebrate that recently?” Ugh, to be honest…NO.
Why don’t we celebrate our victories, even the small little incremental ones? I believe that we are so always in our masculine energy of DOING DOING DOING, that we never stop and allow ourselves to be in the feminine of allowing and receiving. Many of us have been in our masculine energy most of our lives, and we believe we don’t have time to slow down. The world needs us to keep going, hence why we bring ourselves to burnout.
So, please allow me to give you, and myself, permission to STOP and appreciate and celebrate how far we have come. I know you have come far, even if you don’t see it at the moment.
What I have done is every month on my computer, I write down all the things I accomplished for the month, and I celebrate it. It could be as simple as spending more time in nature or having a difficult conversation with a family member. Anything that allows me to feel like my most authentic self. At the end of the month, I look at all of it and celebrate it and acknowledge it.
Doing hard things, like setting boundaries and speaking your truth, should be celebrated. If you haven’t read the book “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, you need to. He writes about how small incremental actions lead to significant results over time. So, celebrate the baby steps because they will lead you to great success. Like a muscle, practice makes you stronger.
Your voice is the most powerful thing you have. Using it allows your spirit to express itself, which comes from the deepest part of your knowing. Permit yourself to BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, AND SPEAK YOUR TRUTH.