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Limits Are Your Foundation for Happiness!

Whaaaat?? Yes, that’s what I said. Let me explain. When we have lots of options, we have more opportunity to screw things up and cause trouble! We think we will create more to be happy about with no limits, but we (generally) delude ourselves.

For example, if you have a big basement or garage, you are able to store stuff you don’t need, and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed with the amount of “useful” stuff you’ve got to clean out just to park your car, or be able to negotiate a path to get to your Christmas ornaments. Living in a small space and not being able to keep stuff indefinitely forces you to make decisions about how much stuff to keep. After all, you’ve only got so much space (blessed limitation!), so you save yourself (and your heirs) a lot of aggravation. There is a built-in boundary to how much you can deal with.

Let’s apply this to the rest of our life. (And the applications are almost limitless.)

If you have established a budget for your child’s birthday party, you have a limit you can work with. You don’t have to hire an event planner! You don’t have to “keep up with the Kardashians”! There is still room for creativity and fun, but it is more manageable.

If you want to make your marriage better, you can “limit” how much you are allowed to complain, criticize, or blame the other person. How much should that be? Well, one radical approach would be if you just decided to stop altogether! Since you wouldn’t allow yourself to say anything negative, you’d either have to stop talking, or figure out how to say things in a positive way. That could be a fun, creative challenge, and in most cases, it would improve your relationship drastically.

Try putting limits on other things in your life that seem difficult.  Are your closets overflowing with clothes? Decide to only keep half and see if that makes getting dressed easier. Are you stressed about cleaning your house? Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean.  When the timer goes off, stop. It’s not all “done”, but it’s better and you haven’t fought with it. You can set the timer again tomorrow.  You’ve established a limit, and that makes you feel calmer, doesn’t it? Limits will also guide you to find practices that are healthy, instead of becoming upset because you are not realizing your goal.  Your goal may change as you put limits on your life. We all need limits. As you become adept at using limits to destress and enjoy life, you can help your children by establishing appropriate limits for them too.