Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

Coaching and consulting. Something's calling. It's your life.

Stop trying to make everyone happy (and other non-selfish things to do this time of year)


Are you excited, filled with dread, a little stressed with the holidays looming? It’s a crazy time of year. I hear situations like these all the time—any of them sound familiar?

As soon as I walk through the door of my parents house, it’s like I’m 12 again.

My sister and I have the same fight every Thanksgiving.

Pass the eggnog—I’m going to need it to get through my company party.

My mother-in-law pushes my buttons every.single.year.

I swear if I weren’t there to keep the peace, World War III would break out around the table.

Did you hear . . . ? so much gossip at the neighborhood pot luck. Can you believe what she’s wearing?

My kids are going to have the best Christmas ever. (They look like they’re having fun, right?)

If I don’t put up the decorations and make the dinner, who will?

I’ll get a fresh start in the new year.

For the love of kittens and bunnies, PLEASE don’t wait for New Year. Please. There’s a lot to get through between thumbnail (2)now and then. Holidays can be lovely, but they can also trigger all kinds of relational boundaries issues.

One thing I see ramp up for a lot of people this time of year is trying to make everyone else happy. Sometimes that looks like buying too many presents or saying yes to every invitation that comes along or agreeing with Tim from accounting at the holiday party, even though you’re like, “What? Did he really just say that?”

This time of year, we tend to overcommit in addition to spending a lot of time with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and our boss. All those relationships. All those expectations to deal with, without healthy boundaries, are draining.

Here’s a question (or three): What about you? What do you want to do? What would make you happy? If these questions are hard to answer or make you uncomfortable or you just wave them away as unimportant, I hate to tell you, but you have boundary issues.

The good news is that you can make a change. If you want less drama in your life, more calm, more you, working on your boundaries can make a HUGE difference.

More good news: there’s help AND support.

Here are three easy things you can do to improve your relational boundaries:

  1. Write down what you want this holiday season (or your life in general) to look like. (For this exercise, don’t worry about what your kids or spouse or anybody else wants.) Ponder what brings you joy.
  2. Say no to at least one event you don’t want to attend or one activity you don’t want to do.
  3. Join me for The Real You 101: Healthy Boundaries in a Demanding World 6-Week Program
    During this potentially, emotionally charged time of year when family, friends, work, and all other kinds of people want to connect with us (and put demands on us), healthy boundaries are crucial. We’ll start the program on November 9 and spend 6 weeks improving physical, emotional, relational, energetic, and spiritual boundaries to help you navigate this tricky season and enter the new year calmer and more centered. You’ll have my support plus a dedicated group of other lovely souls working toward healthy boundaries as well.

    I know it’s a busy time of year, but I can’t think of a better gift to yourself (and to your friends and family) than to get your boundaries in shape.

Learn more about The Real You 101: Healthy Boundaries in a Demanding World and take a step toward more ease and the real you.

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