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3 Tips for Enriching Life Without the Riches

3 Tips for Enriching Life Without the Riches

Is money really the root of all evil? It might be if we’re living life thinking it’s the root of all happiness.

That’s what came to mind after recently bumping into an old friend—let’s call him Kevin—who moved back to our hometown following a midlife crisis over money. Kevin’s story goes something like this:

Meet Kevin

Having had a fascination with numbers since he was a kid, Kevin eventually turned this into a skill that proved beneficial throughout his education and later on in the workforce. Though we all need cash to pay the rent, buy groceries, and support a family, Kevin eventually bought into the philosophy that money was the means to a more enriching lifestyle and took this way of thinking to a whole new level. After some bad advice—and still more bad advice—the bills for the car, memberships, subscriptions, and other expenses accumulated, until he was hoping for nothing more than a pot of gold to fall into his lap! The situation got so bad he decided to pay off all his debts, left the city he was in, and moved back home to start brand new.

“Money isn’t evil,” Kevin said as we were sitting in a coffee shop one day. “It’s like many things in the world that need to be dealt with in moderation. And like all those things, if we’re living life thinking it’s the root of all happiness, then there’s a problem.”

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While Kevin is slowly starting to get back on his feet again, his story got me thinking about my own life and how what many of us are truly seeking when we’re focused on making money are the freedoms we associate with every new bill stuffed in our pocket. What do I mean?

We sometimes perceive a bigger cash flow as providing special freedoms and immunity to many of life’s pressures, such as debt and emotional stress, but this is rarely the case. The people we consider rich have many of the same problems as us, and even if they don’t, they have different ones that money can’t solve. It’s important to realize money is not the ultimate answer to freedom and that there are other paths towards enriching life and gaining fulfillment without all the riches.

There are three things in particular that have had tremendous positive influence on my daily flow and outlook, as follows:

Downsize

Looking around your living space, take note of some of the rarely used or untouched items that ‘close in’ your home rather than open it up. Clutter can be a killer of creativity because instead of day to day life feeling light, we’re weighed down in our pursuit of trying to move forward and follow our dreams.

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The answer, however, isn’t a bigger home or even putting it all in storage, but saying goodbye to as much of it as possible. The keyword here is downsize, and I’m not talking about parting with your favorite sweaters, stamp collection, or grandmother’s pearls and diamonds, but the piles of clothing you wear once in a blue moon, old school papers sitting in a box in the attic, and all those books on the shelves that have little significance for you at this point in life.

Downsizing not only renews our living space, but releases us from worrying about things like constantly cleaning everything up, figuring out what to do with it all in case there’s a need to move, or how to let others into our personal domain without feeling self-conscious.

It could take a few Sunday afternoons or more to sort through it all, but when you’re finished it will be an entirely new sense of freedom.

Live a minimalist lifestyle

Downsizing is one thing, living a minimalist lifestyle is something else because it helps slow the re-accumulation of stuff. Living a ‘less is more’ mindset also instills a revolutionary feeling that whether money is available or not, a person can still survive on very little and lead an enriching life.

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That being the case, if you’re used to stocking up the cupboards or getting things in bulk when they are on sale, try taking a minimalist approach and reject the temptation for all the extras. This can be particularly hard for someone like me who loves a good bargain, but when considering a purchase ask yourself if it’s just about the great price and whether or not the item is truly necessary.

As for all other possessions and new things that may find their way into your home, do an annual ‘checking in’; putting everything in one of two categories, such as sentimental and non-sentimental. Try as hard as possible to let go of the latter, and since this is a process, don’t get down on yourself when making hard or surprising decisions. Less will be more.

Respect yourself

Finally, having found a major part of enriching life being the letting go of things and living more simply, another side is taking care of and respecting one’s self so all the newfound freedoms that come with greater flexibility can be put to good use.

This may mean putting up certain boundaries like not staying out too late, or scheduling time for work and play so neither takes precedence over the other and we don’t stray too much off course.

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It also includes doing things like eating well, exercising, getting back in touch with old friends and positive influences from the past, and improving current relationships.

The goal should be to live an overall healthier lifestyle because when looking back over the years you’ll want to know two important things:

  1. That you made the most of what you had, happy with your lot.
  2. That you’re healthy enough to carry on and enjoy the rest of your time.

If you can manage that, all the money in the world wouldn’t change the feeling of satisfaction.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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