This is a non-negotiable principle. No amount of medication, therapy, or hard work can make someone happy if they are in a situation where their boundaries are violated. This applies to any area of an individual’s life that matters. If someone is in a relationship with a friend or family member or significant other who violates their boundaries, things will not turn out so good. Unconditional love is great in principle as long as people are dealing with collaborative spiritually enlightened beings. Sadly, that is not usually the case. Sometimes, you can be in “love” with someone but they may express explicit hostility regarding your friends, your hobbies, your family, your work,etc… The problem here is that all those people and choices are a great part of who you are. It’s up to you to do the math and decide what things are fundamentally essential for you to be happy. Most normal people are going be OK if they have a hobby preferably active and social and people who share their sense of vision. If you are in a job or relationship, that is mutually exclusive to seeing the people you want to see and doing the stuff you want to do, beware. No amount of money or sex even good sex will make life that awesome.

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Fortunately, people may become more collaborative if you tactfully articulate your needs. Step one is to have a clear idea of how you want to spend your time. Not how you want to spend your time just when you are on vacation twice a year but in and out of the office. This is America. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you are involved with a job or relationship, know what’s in it for you aka what you value in your relationship. Share it with the people that matter. If you have a friend you love to play tennis with go do that. I often ask my clients what they would do if I waved a magic wand and fixed them. I usually hear, ” I would be happy.” or “I would not worry.” That’s true but not very useful. I then ask them to explicitly tell me how their day would run. What time will you get up? What are you going to eat? What are you going to do for exercise? Who are you going to hang out with? What are you going to do for fun? Chances are that if you schedule your time to make your life to happen, it probably will. Don’t wait because “Someday never happens, man” as Janice Joplin put it.

Many of you may be wondering “Well if it’s that simple, why isn’t everyone in seventh heaven?” or “I would have fun but need to work, take care of my kids, and run errands.’ The key is how to maintain balance. Having a job and family doesn’t have to stop you from taking care of yourself and in so doing the others around you will be happier as well. Emotions are contagious. If you are miserable, people around you will be and vice versa. It’s physics. The work is in making choices that may have varying levels of popularity with people around you. Many people fear asking loved ones for a night to go bowling or for time off from work in spite of working many many many extra hours without compensation because that is the culture of their relationship. It doesn’t have to be. We are in the solutions business and strive to help our clients establish an ego congruent set of principles to live with at home or at work. Fortunately, people may become more collaborative if you tactfully articulate your goals. You may have to do so repeatedly, but things will work out. If not, it may be time to make a righteous change. Guilt holds many people back but guilt is diminished if you have the skills to explain your reasoning without it becoming a personal attack. Adults can agree to disagree. With coaching and practice , you can go from feeling like a victim to feeling like yourself. The choice is yours.