Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

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

Warning: Weak Boundaries May Cause Illness, Exhaustion, Martyr Syndrome…and Ghosts


I’ve been getting a lot of calls from former and current clients. It appears as though their unsteady or non-existent boundaries are haunting them, literally and metaphorically. One client can’t seem to shake a ghost. For reals. Others are finding themselves getting sick all the time. Or exhausted. Or suddenly lashing out in anger. Not pretty—or healthy for that matter.

It’s time for a boundary check. Answer yes or no to each question.

Do you pretend to agree when you really disagree?
Do you get sick ALL.THE.TIME?
Do you say yes to do things you really don’t want to do?
Do you ignore your needs like eating regularly and sleeping enough?
Do you only feel like yourself when you are by yourself?
Do you experience chronic pain and/or fatigue?
Do you work too hard or too long?
Do you hold back your true feelings?
Do you feel like people take advantage of you?
Are you relatively calm and then suddenly explode when it’s too much?
Are you always on your electronic device … even when real people are around?

One or two yeses, you might get a pass. More than that and I think we’re looking at some holes in your boundaries.

Boundary issues are common and real, and they wreck your personal energy system. You’re likely to see weak boundaries manifest in poor health, chronic head colds, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, frustrating relationships, feeling taken advantage of or victimized, poor work-life balance, depleted spirit, and lack of a sense of purpose. You know, just the big stuff.

If you want to start feeling better, improving your relationships, and living your purpose, heck if you just want to feel more like YOU, it’s time to build better boundaries.

So, where do you start?

How about the word No.

No, I can’t chair the committee.
No, I don’t feel like going to the lake today.
Can I work through lunch? NO.

It feels negative, but it’s a great start to something positive. Like self-esteem. Physical health. Being treated well.

No’s a good start, but there’s more that goes into setting, recognizing, and maintaining our own boundaries. If you want to get started with some boundary setting, I shared three boundary tips for you here. And if you’re in or near Laramie, I’m offering a live workshop on this material next week.

Learn more about Boundaries in the Real World: A Yogi’s Guide to Taking Back Your Life.

I’m not kidding about taking back your life. Boundaries are that important. So start building them today. Express how you truly feel. Say no to one thing your gut is telling you you don’t want to do. Say yes to something that fills you up. Figure out where you need to set your limits. If you don’t, who will?

In the comments HERE, share one way you have strengthened a boundary in your life. Did it improve your life? How did others respond?


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