Do you have limits in your life? Are they self-imposed limits or are they imposed by someone else? Are there limits which are out of your control? Most of us do have certain limits which are out of our control. (i.e., Financial limits. Physical limits. Intellectual limits.)
Let’s look at ways to be personally involved when there are limits imposed upon YOU. For instance, if you get paid $12 per hour you can’t live outside of those financial limits. You need to accept that limit and devise a self-imposed budget. You allow yourself to spend only so much on various expense categories. You must limit yourself with purchases and buying choices. If you live outside of or beyond those limits, bills and collections will catch up with you and your conditions will only get worse. If you don’t like your externally imposed income limits, then you must take it upon yourself to qualify for and find a higher paying job. Even if you earn gobs of obscene money at your job, you still have to impose some limits or you’ll end up running out of that obscene money.
I have held many jobs and still do work that I don’t care for, but I’m good at it and it helps me pay my bills. I then do the type of work I love doing on my own personal time. These are all self-imposed limits and ultimately it comes down to choice. I will choose to take a job even if I don’t like it as long as it serves my financial purposes.
I am no better and no worse than anyone else. Yet I find it interesting that we are able to see all the flaws and misbehaviors of others. (But we’re unable to see ourselves, even when we’re staring directly into a mirror.) “Jesus, can you believe that guy? Why does he do that? Can’t he see what he’s doing?” And how many people say that about me or you? This concept seems to apply when it comes to limits. We see the limits of others (or question why the other person is unable to set limits on themselves), while at the same time we think that we ourselves are limitless. I’m surprised at how guilty I am of this. I try very hard to not be a judge about others and judge only myself. Please don’t be bamboozled into thinking that I’m a soft, caring, introspective person. I want my own life and world to be better. Because I know that I have certain limitations and I’m not equal to some others, I need to enlist their help. If I can become a better and more valuable person for them, then they’ll help me get what I want. I always hope that others will benefit as a result of my actions, but it’s only a just a bonus if they do.
I accept my limitations. That doesn’t mean that I acquiesce and give up. When I know and understand an external limitation, I think about ways to circumvent the limitation. How can I make the best out of the situation? How can I use what I have or am able to do to make the best of this? Is there an alternative so I don’t have to deal with this limitation? And you can do this as well. You can also impose self-limitations and accept them.
I can’t drink (well, I can drink but I choose not to), so I have self-imposed limits as to my social lifestyle. I may go to a bar or a club with friends, but I limit the amount of time I’m willing to spend there. I may offer to be the designated driver, but I’m not going to hang out all night while everybody gets loaded. I usually take my own car and meet everyone there. I only take a limited amount of money with me so I’m not tempted to overspend or start buying drinks for people. By imposing my own limits, I have maintained my sobriety, developed a calmer life and it has helped me to value myself more.
Another type of self-imposed limit is staying out of others people’s drama and problems. There’s nothing wrong with helping out a friend or even helping someone you don’t know. I know people who are so involved in everyone else’s life that they don’t have time to take care of their own stuff. Everyone else is an emergency. They aren’t nosy busy-bodies, they just like to be helpful. But all their helping of others is eating up their own life.
Someone else’s problem does not have to be an emergency for you. It’s difficult to help someone else when your own life (or mind) is in disrepair. You might feel like you’re missing out on something or that you aren’t in the “loop.” I believe that the biggest waste of time and the biggest infraction of setting self-imposed limits is allowing yourself to get involved in everyone else’s drama.
I limit how involved I’m willing to get in someone else’s dramas. I’m not being heartless, but I have limits. My time is valuable. My sanity is valuable. My friendship is valuable. If I’m just going to be drained or sucked into someone else’s drama, I step away. I “Make NO useless acquaintances [in life].” I limit how much I’m willing to give of myself. If I’m not appreciated, respected or receive something in return, I limit my involvement. I am truly sorry if you think this all sounds so cold and calculated. The truth is that I cannot be of benefit to anyone else by crucifying myself. I can’t help anyone until I help myself.
I know that it feels good to help a friend. I know that it feels good to be useful, needed and important. But there has to be limits. Sometimes you just have to say “NO.” You have to be able to say “no” to yourself and to others. You aren’t being mean when you say “no” to someone or to something. When dealing with others you can offer an explanation or offer an alternative when you say “no.” Offering an alternative might go something like this: “I can’t come over right now, but I can come over Friday afternoon and help you with it.” You’re softly saying “no” but you’re also saying “yes” to what you can or will do.
Saying “no” with an explanation can be tough. (While I agree that honesty is usually the best policy, it is not always advisable.) For instance you don’t have to tell someone, “I don’t want to hang out with you because you’re a drunk (or I don’t like you).” You can offer some other ambiguous reason. “I can’t go out and party tonight. I’ve gotten so far behind on so many projects and I just need to get some of this stuff done. Maybe next time.” And maybe next time you will go hang out with them—but on your own terms. And you don’t have to disclose the terms. There will be times when you actually DO have other things to take care of or you have your own life responsibilities to tend to (umm, like staying sober).
Self-imposed limits will save you from loads of heartaches, problems and unnecessary dramas. Setting your own self-imposed limits will help you feel valuable and worthwhile. It will build your self-esteem. You ARE valuable. Your time, your heart and your talents are worth a lot more than money. Don’t just throw yourself around to any request that comes your way.
Self-imposed limits will become easier the more you practice them. Self-imposed limits will allow you to get control over your life. Self-imposed limits will also help you to value yourself. No one can take advantage of you unless you let them. And if anyone is going to take advantage of you or put a limit on you, it should be YOU. Take control of your life and set your own limits.
These are my own opinions and observations. Please, think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my blog, podcasts and website. I invite you to pick up one of my books: You can find my books in paperback, eBook or if you prefer, you can get my Audiobooks. My books and audiobooks are available through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places. I put my blog, podcasts and website out for people to access FREE of charge. I pay for all of this with my own personal funds. If you like what I do and what I write about, you can show your support by making a donation to my site, it’s done securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site I post a truthful report on my website of how much is donated and what this all costs me. I am very appreciative that a few people have signed up to make a $5 a month donation. Thank you for spending some of your very valuable time with me. Mark Tuschel.