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.
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change. – Barbara de Angelis
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.
Table of Contents
- What Does it Mean to Take Control of Your Life?
- What Does It Mean to Set Boundaries?
- 10 Steps to Take Control of Your Life
- Final Thoughts
- More on How to Take Charge of Life
What Does it Mean to Take Control of Your Life?
When you take responsibility for all the aspects of your life and have the power to navigate the course of your life path, you are in control of your life. It signifies that you are extremely capable of syncing your vision and efforts.
Taking control of your life means that only you keep the power to set goals and bring changes to your life without being influenced by anyone or anything.
“You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” – Napoleon Hill
All the choices and decisions would be completely under your control. It is entirely up to you if you want to take help from someone. However, the final decision-making power would lie with you.
You get to decide what’s good for you and what’s not? You no longer give the authority and power to anyone or any external circumstances to dictate your life. Taking control of your life means living life on your own terms.
Just remember that when you take control of your life, you give up the blame game. All the decisions become yours to own, so the outcome, whether good or bad, should be accepted by you personally.
What Does It Mean to Set Boundaries?
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.
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.
Boundaries Are Not Set to Change
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.
Boundaries Are Limits
The purpose of boundaries is to set the limits. They are not threats or ultimatums.
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 Inform or Teach
They are not a form of punishment.
10 Steps to 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.
You only have control over three things in your life – the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions your take.” – Jack Canfield
You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel.
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.
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.
5. Take Power Back in Your Job
Most people try to balance their lives between the professional and personal arenas. However, not everyone is successful in doing so.
Undoubtedly, we live in a professional world where excellence is very overrated. To balance your personal and professional life, you need to pay attention on both facets and be content too!
Not getting the desired promotion, fear of failure or not getting expected salary hike may lead to many negativities. Such instances are supposed to be dealt with extreme determination and great effort.
You can bring back the control in your job when you try to focus on what is required to achieve the level of excellence, rather than brooding over the past.
Take up additional courses, attend seminars, educate yourself further, go the extra mile and impress your peers.
When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat. – Ronald Reagan
6. Assess the Financial Stress
Believe it or not, almost everyone on this globe is living under some form of financial stress. It is easy to feel that you are losing control if your finances are not in order.
Instead of getting stuck in the vicious cycle of debts, reflect and discover what went wrong.
Analyzing the fundamental factor responsible for this predicament would help you gain a better insight into finding out what must be done next.
If you are overspending on luxurious products for necessities, then you can try switching to affordable options till you get your finances back on track. Prepare a budget and stick to it.
If your current job is insufficient to meet your expenses, consider getting an additional job or finding a new one.
Money is not everything. However, it does give you a feeling of security and a sense of power. Having your finances in order gives you the desired control over life.
7. Outgrow Toxic Relationship
Some people immerse themselves in relationships that cause more harm than good.
“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” – Jack Welch
If you feel stuck into such associations, it can result in events that will twist life beyond your control. You must identify such associations and cut ties for good since there is not point improving your relationships with them.
You can only take back control over your life if you do not let toxic relationships change the dynamics of your decision-making.
Do not let anyone unimportant influence your real life events! A sure-shot way of doing so is by outgrowing such toxic relationships.
8. Practice Positive Self-Talk
The person you see in the mirror is exactly who you are! If you see a confident, smart, and poised person in that mirror, that’s what your life will turn out to be for you. And the same goes with a negative self-image.
“Control your thoughts. Decide about that which you will think and concentrate upon. You are in charge of your life to the degree you take charge of your thoughts.” – Earl Nightingale
Learn to give yourself a pep-talk now and then. It’s not crazy talk we suggest! It’s completely the opposite of that!
Positive self-talk is reassuring yourself about your capabilities and achievements! You can take back control of your life when you learn to build a positive image for that person in the mirror.
9. Find Your Support System
We are not super-beings who can go through everything alone. Everyone needs a support system.
This support system might be your friends, family, acquaintance, confidants, or an external group. You need to find a support system to share everything openly.
The people in the support system are your go-to people who are dependable and trustworthy. Whether it’s advice you seek or assistance on any other level, you should be able to count on your support system.
The major advantage of having such a support system is that you maintain control over life and don’t stumble or get stuck.
10. Reflect on Life
Life goes on even when we stop working or thinking. People spend their lives setting goals and getting a sense of accomplishment when they fulfill these goals.
However, it is important to look back on your life and recollect exactly what you planned for.
Sometimes, the major reason for losing control is that things did not turn out to be the way they should have been. Allow yourself time to process everything that is happening or happened over a period of time.
There might be habits that you must have formed or taken an undesired path during a particular phase.
Check if these habits or activities are the sources of your unhappiness. If so, then take steps to get rid of them and bring back control of life.
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.
More on How to Take Charge of Life
- How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late
- Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start?
- How to Get out of a Funk and Take Control of Life
Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com