Time management tips share one essential component – they require that you set aside time for what matters most. And to do so, you need to establish and maintain boundaries.
Boundaries are so much easier to enact when you fully support yourself. The problem is, self-doubt and ambivalence can undermine even your best new plans. If you have grown discouraged with your efforts to implement new plans, take this opportunity to explore one of the most important components of success; the quality of your self-talk.
Transforming self-critical messages into supportive encouragement can restore your self-confidence and effectiveness in two significant ways. First of all, you will just plain feel better. Your quality of life will improve as you effectively silence an ever-present enemy. Second, you can guide your life by your own star. Your love and self-esteem will help you navigate, as you simplify and prioritize your time choices more easily.
Your first step is to recognize the messages that sabotage your success. They may be so deeply embedded into your thinking that you hardly notice their insidious influence. The more quickly you spot them, the more swiftly you can neutralize their poisonous effect.
3 Warning Signs that Self-Critical Sabotage is at Work:
1. Second-Guessing Yourself
Typical comments include, “You should have communicated that boundary differently,” “You should have initiated this sooner/later,” and “That boundary you just set was too strict/too lenient”. The sabotaging intent is to punish you with criticism for taking an important step on your own behalf. If you cringe at the prospect of an inevitable onslaught of self-reproach, you will find excuses to not set new boundaries.
2. Catastrophic Fears if You Move Forward
The underlying message here is that you should not have risked setting this boundary. And your self-punishment is a barrage of dismal outcomes, paraded in front of you, with “What if…?” leading the way. These dreaded scenarios can rob you of sleep and make you hypersensitive to any resistance you encounter.
3. Guilt-Tripping Yourself
These barbs may start with, “It will be your fault if…!” Beneath these critical distortions is an assumption that you are responsible for others’ responses, and that others’ wants and needs take precedence over your own.
All-Powerful Antidotes to Self-Sabotaging Your Boundaries
It can be a lifesaver to your self-esteem to realize that all critical thoughts draw their strength from distortions. As these attacks balloon out at you, imagine puncturing them with an incisive reality check. Boundary setting is a lifelong practice, and there is no “perfect” time to start, nor is there a “perfect” way to proceed. You learn from experience now, with small, simple steps.
Much as you might like to change your time use with a single pronouncement, new boundaries simply take time to take root. You and others will test your new boundary, and the more patience you demonstrate, the more resilience you will enjoy. Accepting this provides another powerful antidote to perfectionism.
Honoring your complexity, and others’, too, deepens you. And the deeper your roots, the less likely you are to be toppled by resistance. Remember that people have an ingrained desire to cling to old patterns, even those that are outworn. Provide yourself with extra love and support as you take these new steps. And accept that others may require time to come round to your new plans.
You will provide yourself with additional benefits if you call in these 3 powerful allies to counter your self-critical messages. Your sense of personal power will increase. Your vision of what is possible will gain creative force. And you will replace resentment of others’ inflexibility, (and your own) with appreciation of your power to initiate change.
So, what is your next step to support your ability to set effective boundaries?© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.