There comes a time for most of us when we look around and feel that everything we’re doing is obligatory. We have to go to work, have to do our volunteer hours, have to grocery shop, have to cook dinner, or pick up kids. A lot of those things are totally necessary for us to survive and live well, but when we start to feel like life is one long list of obligations a problem arises.
Self-perception is affected when we have a low sense of free will. People who feel they have less free will when choosing between two options evaluate themselves more negatively on authenticity, self-awareness, and alienation. Lower self-will is associated with increases in aggression and lower desire to help our fellow man as well. Check out the research here!
The research stands to reason – how can we feel connected to ourselves when our choices all feel like they are due to social influence or other external stuff? Those thoughts can in turn increase feelings of anxiety (a loss of control or feelings of uncertainty) and depression. Likewise, when you feel in control of your actions, your self-esteem is likely to go up along with a sense of personal purpose and feeling like your true self.
Putting the research to work means that we need to examine boundaries. Boundaries – the forever ongoing buzzword of personal wellness and self-care. The reality is that if you’re having trouble saying “no” about things, you have a never-ending list of “to-do’s”, and its regularly added to – not from your desire to do things but because you feel you have to, then its likely you’ve got some boundary issues going on. If the idea of potentially disappointing someone in anyway is the major motivator behind your decision to do things, your natural people-pleasing ways, may have you lowering your boundaries to avoid dealing with other people’s judgment or disappointment. Nothing screams, “I have no control!” than literally allowing others to make choices for you.
Make a move and examine your boundaries – if you’re here and reading this, you probably need to set some as well.
Check out the awesome graphic below for quick tips on boundary setting!