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How to Avoid Fake Growth and a Life of Endless Seeking

How to Avoid Fake Growth and a Life of Endless Seeking

    Standing before you is a game filled with a complex network of mazes and ladders.

    When you came into this world this game was already established.

    All of the rules were set in place. A path was laid out before you, and as you grew, you slowly became indoctrinated into that world, into that game.

    It was a game not designed by you, but you played it anyway. You played it because it was what everyone else did.

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    Then at some point along the way you started to realize that something was wrong, kind of like Neo in the Matrix, you sensed that something was seriously flawed with this game.

    Not only did you not have much of a say in the way you were living, you also began to sense that you were seeking success that didn’t exist. It was an endless chase.

    A carrot on a stick always one step ahead of you.

    Always another job. Another house. Another promotion.

    It eluded you. Endlessly.

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    Then you woke up

    You started to realize that you didn’t have to live this way. And you began to test your assumptions about what was possible, and what wasn’t. You found that many of the rules in the game were breakable without any negative consequences. They weren’t rules at all really, more like agreements.

    You noticed that when other people “leveled up” in the game not much of anything changed. They thought they were growing, but it was more like fake growth than anything. The things in their life were more like fake plastic trees than living things.

    Every event completed to collect trophies, each won in an attempt to complete a master checklist in the game.

    However… the checklist is never complete

    When you’re playing someone else’s game, there is always a sense of incompletion. You can always do it better, faster. There is always a way for you to compare your success with the success of others.

    It’s a slippery slope down that rabbit hole.

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    Here’s the deal… it’s easy for me to talk about creating a life on your own terms. It’s easy for a bunch of people to create a big song and dance about opt-ing out of a template, creating your own path, blah blah blah.

    And the sad reality is a lot of people replace the game of conformity with a game of non-conformity. Nothing’s really changed, has it?

    If you really want to create a life of freedom, there is no formula. Sorry.

    The truth about systems

    The truth about systems is that you were not born to follow one.

    You can’t follow a system for not following systems. You feel me?

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    Anyone that tells you they’ve created a system for your happiness is probably full of it. It’s the honest truth.

    However, I didn’t write this to just make you depressed. I can give you a small but potent bit of advice: surrender.

    No, not surrender in a passive, fatalistic way. Surrender in a powerful, really submitting to your path way.

    • What was it you were born to do?
    • What do you feel excited about, in this moment?

    Listen. Then surrender to that. Have the courage to see where it leads you.

    Living on your own terms is hard. It’s a lot easier to have someone else tell you what to do. But you weren’t born to play someone else’s game, now were you?

    (Photo credit: Stairway to the Sky via Shutterstock)

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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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