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The 4 Simple Ways Setting Boundaries Changed My Life

We teach people how to treat us – are you sending the right messages?
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I am a notorious pushover. It’s often made me the butt of the joke, because… Well, I let myself be the butt of the joke. I tend to give too many second chances, in all of my relationships (romantic, platonic, or even my family relationships) and there have definitely been a few people to take advantage of that.

I used to always wonder how I always ended up with the people in my life who only wanted to take whatever I had to give, without giving anything in exchange. I lamented myself, “It’s because I’m too nice!”

And I really thought it was a joke… At first.

Until I looked back over my life and realized that I have a really hard time telling people “no”. People are easily able to play to my emotions, because they know I’m quick to see both sides of the situation. I’ll hear them out when they make their case, because that’s the right thing to do.

It helps me to feel like I’m somehow in control – I get to have the last say on whether they stay in my life. Even though we both know I’m going to let it slide.

After a lot of soul-searching, I realized that maybe I was the problem. Maybe I was responsible for all these people taking advantage of me. Maybe I did choose to let them walk all over me. After a particularly intense breakup, I started to reorganize my life, and make some changes – I was going to learn how to put myself first.

I thought it was going to be really lonely. All these people taking advantage of me were just going to disappear if I stopped putting up with it. But I was fed up!

At last, I made myself a priority, and much to my surprise, instead of feeling lonely – I felt more fulfilled than I ever had in my life.


I found my true friends.

When I stopped letting people influence my life who weren’t doing anything to support me, at first I felt like I had less people to turn to. It didn’t take long to realize that the people who were left were always going to be there for me – just as they always had. I even made a few new friends, and I started to understand my true potential.

Now, the friends that I have lift me up – and I lift them up, too. Sure, those other people still hang around, and they occasionally ask me what’s new in my life. I smile, and fill them in on the good things. I don’t need to tell them the bad things – they don’t care anyway. I don’t feel like I have to force a friendship that doesn’t matter anymore.

And I learned that quality is greater than quantity.


I realized I really did have control over who stayed in my life.

In the past, I have given people a place for far longer than they deserved. Even some of the members in my family took advantage of my gullibility and constantly made me question whether I was a good person. When I stood up to these people and laid out exactly what I would no longer tolerate, they disappeared.

But instead of lonely, I felt rejuvenated. I felt like a wave of positive energy had come through and washed over every dark corner of my life. All these doubts that I had hung on to since I was a kid were magically gone. I no longer sought to impress the people who couldn’t be impressed, and I focused on making myself happy.

And it worked!


I realized that I deserved true, genuine love.

I have waited for women who never deserved to be a part of my life in the first place, and I constantly felt that I wasn’t good enough. These women were “perfect”, I thought, and if they didn’t treat me right, it was because I didn’t deserve it. I let them convince me that I wasn’t worthy of being treated like an equal. I let them make me think that I wasn’t an equal.

But once I put my foot down and refused to be disrespected by my partners, the number of women I talked to dramatically decreased. Instead of having a few girls to talk to, I had one woman who was serious about me – and ready to treat me like a queen. I didn’t feel lonely – I felt valued. It turns out a little respect is worth so much more than a lot of attention.

And I became even happier.


I discovered my passion – and financial stability.

The people I distanced from my life had always had these ideas of what I should be doing differently. They had loads of advice, but never any guidance (because trust me, there is a difference there!). They didn’t support my passions, and some even tried to convince me that my passions were a waste of time. Once I decided that I didn’t have to please them, I found out that the things I love could actually make me money.

I’m not wealthy, nor do I think I ever will be, but because I chose to define my success, I am richer than I could ever imagine. Instead of doing what I “really ought to do”, I’m doing what I want – and what I’m good at. I’m still a long way from reaching my life’s goals, but after a lifetime of waiting, I have finally listened to what I want – and that makes me closer than most.

And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.


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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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