by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

The Secret to Feeling Amazing

Do this one thing, and you'll find success in work, life and love

Do you have a Talker in your life?

You know the one -- you're quietly working away at your desk, and suddenly she pops up out of nowhere and traps you in a one-way conversation that includes all the details of her glorious day, from what her mother-in-law said to what she ate for breakfast. You don't want to hurt her feelings, but you do want to go back to your work and meet that deadline. So what do you do?

If you just pictured doing nothing but sitting there and cringing because you're too afraid you'd appear rude, selfish or mean if you spoke up, you're not alone. This fear, which can keep us from setting boundaries, is quite common in our society. But according to Dr. Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection, the most boundary-conscious people are also the most compassionate and affectionate she has ever seen. So how do you create boundaries and stick to them without feeling guilty?

1. Realize that your time is precious.

Here's the thing: Creating boundaries essentially means recognizing your self-worth. If you don't value and honor yourself, you won't ever create boundaries nor will you stick to them. This process takes time, but you can start by spending time with yourself, journaling, meditating, praying, going for walks without any distractions or simply taking a deep breath. These practices alone will ground you and make you realize that putting yourself first and learning to say no is not as horrible as you might believe.

2. Come up with a plan.

If you don't have your personal guidelines thought out and written down, you won't stick to them. If you don't know what your personal boundaries are, then how can you voice them for others, right? So take some time to think about what behaviors are not acceptable to you, and what you'll do if someone violates your boundaries.

3. Acknowledge your fears.

While writing down your policies, pay close attention to your feelings and thoughts. Are you scared of missing out, being abandoned or being judged? Acknowledge your fears, but don't let them hold you back from following through.

4. Announce your boundaries.

Let your partner, your co-workers, even your boss know about your boundaries. Make it clear that you have a life outside of work. Tell your partner that you need some time for yourself every now and then. You'll be surprised how well-respected you'll be for giving others simple guidelines to work or live with you.

5. Practice.

Even when you've written your policies down and announced them to the world, you'll struggle to follow through. Don't let that discourage you. Practice your new policies as often as you can, and you'll soon notice that it will get easier and cause you less stress.

Remember that saying "no" to others always means saying "yes" to yourself, and that can't hurt a bit, can it?

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Woman to Woman: "The Secret to Feeling Amazing"