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It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer

It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer
    Photo credit: Lindley Ashline (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    I remember that there were some little kids in my outdoor pool this past summer while I was doing my swim workout. They must have been from about five to eight years old and unlike other kids who usually just play around in the shallow end, these kids were diving all over the deep end like they were mini-torpedoes. I was actually quite impressed with their swimming abilities especially given their young ages.

    I like the idea of doing great cardiovascular exercise without sweating like a hog, which is why I take as much advantage of the outdoor pool season as possible when it is in full swing. So during the summer, I’m swimming at least three times per week all season long.

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    As I was watching these kids through my swim goggles while doing my laps, I was also thinking about how my own swimming skills were like when I was their age — or to be more accurate, the lack of swimming skills. When I was their age, all I could do was the starfish float, in shallow water.

    I had not really learned how to swim yet. Oh, I would try but I would just end up doing some feeble flapping of my arms, which did not propel me anywhere in the pool. I then proceeded to sink like a battleship that took a direct hit.

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    The Turning Point for a Late Bloomer

    In fact, this was the extent of my swimming ability even up to my high school years. During my first year of high school, I was lucky enough (or unlucky as I saw it back then) to get the swim team coach as my gym teacher. It was not surprising that we were going to get double the amount of swim days compared to other students at the school. And for some reason, most students hated swimming.

    I knew that I was in for a major embarrassment each time we had those swim days because of my poor swimming abilities. But this teacher, who we nicknamed ‘Duckie’ because of his obsession with water, forced us to keep doing laps in the pool.

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    Somehow through those forced laps, I actually started to be able to swim the entire length of the high school pool, even though I would usually drag behind most other students. By the end of my high school years, I became a proficient swimmer. During university, I even occasionally went to the campus Olympic size pool to do laps.

    Another World Opens Up

    Years later while on vacation, I took a ride in a tourist submarine in the Virgin Islands. I saw just how beautiful the Caribbean coral reefs were and I wanted to experience this magical underwater world as a scuba diver. When I got home, I soon decided to take a certification course in scuba diving and at age 38, I become a fully certified scuba diver.

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    Being a certified scuba diver opened up a whole new world for me as over the years, I have dived in Costa Rica, the Red Sea and all over the Caribbean. I have had close encounters with all sorts of marine life including stingrays, dolphins and sharks. Some of my dives were even caught on video which I have used to entertain my website visitors, especially the ‘landlubbers’.

    Being able to experience the underwater world and its wonderful marine life has enabled me to really appreciate our planet better. This has also boosted my own personal growth in a way that was not possible before.

    Never Too Late to Learn New Skills

    This is why I totally believe that it is never too late to learn new skills. I was a late bloomer as a swimmer unlike those little kids at my outdoor pool this summer. By finally learning how to swim, I was able to become a certified scuba diver even if I did these later in life. But that is okay because I am now enjoying experiences and personal growth that I would never have imagined when I was young.

    If you have always wanted to do something like swimming or other sports or perhaps learning other new skills such as a new language, it is NEVER too late. Just do some research to find qualified instruction and go for it. Learning new skills is part of personal development. You will not regret learning even as a late bloomer.

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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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