Category: Self-improvement

Setting Boundaries

In any relationship, whether personal or professional, setting boundaries is vital. Your relationships will be healthier, and you will have the emotional and psychological space to thrive. Yet setting boundaries is a skill that can be tough to master. Here are some active steps you can take to create healthy boundaries.

Identify Your Boundary Limits

Setting boundaries requires you to do some introspection. How can you build a fence if you don’t know where your property line is? Begin by tuning into your feelings. Notice what situations cause you to feel uncomfortable, stressed, angry, or resentful. Odds are high that your feelings are caused by crossing your limits. Keeping a journal can help you take an objective look at stressful situations and identify which specific limits were crossed.

Know Non Physical And Physical Boundary Violations

There are many types of behavioral boundaries in relationships. It’s vital to understand specific boundary violations as you begin to set and master your boundary limits. This list illustrates  behaviors that are unacceptable. These behaviors and actions should not be tolerated or accepted as okay. Don’t let others cross the line. If they do, politely call it to their attention and let them know you are setting new boundaries and this is unacceptable for you. It may take several times of reminding them you are fully committed to improving your relationship and respect for your boundaries is going to be a necessary part of the process.  

Non Physical Boundary Violations:

  1. By word or deed, indicate that a person is worth less.
  2. Yelling or screaming.
  3. Ridiculing or making fun of.
  4. Lying.
  5. Breaking a commitment for no reason.
  6. Attempting to control or manipulate another person.
  7. Being sarcastic while being intimate. 
  8. Interrupting.
  9. Blaming.

Physical Boundary Violations:

  1. Standing in another’s personal space without his/her permission.
  2. Touching another person without his/her permission.
  3. Getting into a person’s belongings and living space such as one’s purse, wallet, mail and closet without his/her permission.
  4. Listening to a person’s personal conversations or telephone conversations without his/her permission. 
  5. Not allowing a person to have privacy or violating a person’s right to privacy.
  6. Exposing others to contagious illness.
  7. Smoking around nonsmokers in an identified non smoking area.

Be Forthright

Once you know what you can and can’t tolerate, don’t be afraid to tell people. You don’t need to go around announcing every boundary to every person—in fact, when dealing with people who have similar values and personalities to your own, boundary discussions may never come up, as you will likely approach each other in a similar way.

However, even people that you are very close to may have different boundaries than your own. When you notice yourself becoming tense and uncomfortable with someone, start a dialogue. Explain how you are feeling and what your boundary is. Some boundaries require a bit of compromise, as in a romantic relationship where one partner needs lots of space and the other needs lots of closeness, but you should never agree to behavior that is a clear violation of one of your boundaries.

Own Your Boundaries

Many people have trouble enforcing their boundaries due to feelings of guilt, fear, or self-doubt. Especially in your closest relationships, you might worry that you will anger the other person or even feel that setting boundaries means you are not a good partner, son, or daughter. In reality, though, boundaries are a sign of healthy self-respect and generally lead to healthier relationships. If someone becomes upset with your boundaries, it reflects that person’s issues, not yours. Own your boundaries and work hard to preserve them.

Remain Self-Aware

Very few people are naturally good at setting and sticking to boundaries. Now that you know how it feels when your boundaries are crossed, check in with yourself now and then. If you are starting to feel stressed or resentful, you may need to make a new commitment to honoring your boundaries.

Consider Environmental Factors

Your past and present environments play a large role in your ability to set healthy boundaries. If you were the caretaker of your family, you became accustomed to ignoring your own needs in service to others. If you are currently surrounded by psychologically unhealthy people, you may be giving more than you get. If you are in a job that demands a lot of overtime, you might feel pressured to constantly give more and more, regardless of what you need or want.

Combat these environmental drains on your boundaries by prioritizing self-care. As the airplane safety spiel goes, “put on your own oxygen mask first.” You cannot take care of others unless you are healthy and happy yourself. Identify the things that help you relax and put you in a good mood, and make time for them in your schedule. It is far easier to enforce your boundaries, and to navigate complex relationships, when you are in an energetic and peaceful state of mind.

Ask for Help

If you are having trouble with boundaries, find some help. There are numerous books and websites dedicated to the art of setting boundaries. Church groups, life coaches, mental health counselors, and even close friends or relatives can help you learn to set boundaries and hold you accountable for preserving them.

Take Baby Steps

You wouldn’t pick up a violin for the first time and expect to play a concerto. Any new skill requires a great deal of practice. Start with a small, nonthreatening boundary, and reward yourself for enforcing it. Over time, gradually build up to larger and more complex boundaries. With discipline and hard work, you will eventually find that setting and maintaining boundaries becomes second nature.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re in Houston and are ready to start your journey to better mental and emotional health with an experienced, compassionate therapist, contact Renee Lederman today at 832-969-3885 to schedule your first appointment.

Why It’s Important to See Beauty Everywhere

What is beauty?

 

You might think that’s an easy question to answer, but is it really? One thing to remember is that beauty can be subjective. Just because you find something beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean someone else would.

 

We all have different taste in romantic partners, for example. Just because you find someone unbelievably attractive doesn’t necessarily mean your best friend will too (fingers crossed). Some people think that the first snowfall in winter is stunning; others look at it and see cold and frigid weather. It all depends on who you are and your point of view.

 

But despite what you naturally find beautiful, I believe that it’s important that you learn how to see beauty everywhere. And believe me, there IS beauty everywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places. You just have to be able to see it. And that doesn’t always require using your eyes!

 

Seeing Beauty with the Heart

There are many different kinds of beauty. The two you might immediately think of are superficial and inner beauty.

 

Superficial beauty is what’s on the outside. If you find someone physically attractive, for example, that is entirely superficial. Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t base an entire relationship off that. However, when you get to know someone better, you start to see the beauty they have on the inside. That’s what makes for a loving relationship, being able to see the beauty of someone, even into our old ages.

 

Seeing inner beauty requires us to look, not just with our eyes, but with our hearts.

 

Not Being Able to See Beauty

Here is something that I find to be a tragedy: We are surrounded by beauty at all times, yet we don’t see it. Imagine going on a vacation to Venice, Italy. Every year, countless tourists go to see the canals and the architecture. It’s objectively a beautiful place, but what does it look like to the people who live there; the people who see these beautiful buildings every day of their lives. Do you think that they’re overwhelmed by the beauty all the time? Of course not! Eventually, they become desensitized to it because they see it every day.

 

To a lesser degree (depending on where you live), we are all guilty of this behavior. We stop seeing the beauty that is all around us because it is always there. It becomes, for lack of a better word, boring!

 

I think that it’s so important that we put effort into genuinely appreciating the beauty that surrounds us. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by it, but realize that it is there. By reminding ourselves of how beautiful our homes are, we can train ourselves to find the special in the mundane. And isn’t that just a fantastic definition of what beauty is?

 

A Beauty Exercise

If you want a reminder that beauty can be everywhere, here is an exercise you can try.

 

On a nice day, pick a spot outside (preferably not in the sun) and sit down. This could be on a park bench or even the grass in your backyard. I want you to close your eyes. Now, this isn’t meditation (although it CAN be used for that purpose), but you could still find it relaxing. Don’t fall asleep! Instead, I want you to forget about your eyes and wake up all of your other senses.

 

Let’s do smells first. Some people find the smell of freshly cut grass to be pleasant. Some might say, beautiful. The scent of flowers can often be just as lovely as the flowers themselves. If you are sitting inside while someone is cooking, close your eyes and take a sniff of the air. Smells delicious, doesn’t it? Well, that’s just another word for beautiful.

 

What about sounds? With your eyes closed, listen to all of the sounds around you outside. Birds chirping, the wind blowing through the trees. What sounds do you find particularly relaxing and lovely? If you want to “cheat,” you could try listening to beautiful music with your eyes closed. There is so much beauty that we can hear without seeing.

 

And how about tastes? This one is easy. Ever close your eyes before you eat something mouth-wateringly delicious. It’s almost like the lack of sight makes it taste even better. And personally, I find that beautiful.

 

What About Things That No One Finds Beautiful?

Ok, this section is going to be a challenge for many people. If you read something that makes you super uncomfortable, then don’t worry, you can skip ahead.

 

There are things out there that many people find hideous or terrifying, but are actually just signs of nature. And if you can find beauty in them, even in small amounts, it can have a drastic impact on your positive mindset.

 

Find a picture of a snake online. Instantly, I suspect some reading this have just sat up a little straighter. Yes, snakes can be terrifying, but let’s try to see the beauty. Don’t pick a scary snake, pick a cute, little corn snake. Look at the delicate pattern of their scales. Look at the colors. Look at the texture. When you separate these things from the idea of “snake,” they can be quite beautiful.

 

I know this can be a challenge. If you don’t want to think about snakes, try to think about something else that you find unattractive. Then really analyze it, trying to find the beauty in it. It doesn’t need to be a TON of beauty, just a little shimmer.

 

So, how can all of this help you to thrive? Easy. It’s all about your mindset and positivity. When we close ourselves off to the beauty all around us, we are closing ourselves off to the possibility of positive emotions and feelings. We are less likely to see kindness, forgiveness, and generosity. But when we open ourselves up to beauty, all of these feelings become more available to us! That’s why I believe that it is important to see beauty everywhere!


We will be exploring this in more detail in the Time to Thrive program. If you’d like to learn more about it, I invite you to click here!

The Power of Gratitude

Do you remember when you were very young and your grandmother would give you socks for the holidays?

Sure, socks sound like a fantastic present now, but to a three-year-old who wants toys? Not so much. Do you remember your parents telling you that you had to thank your grandmother profusely for her present? While you might not have realized it then, that single act of gratitude probably had a profound impact on your grandmother. Frankly, that thank you could have made her day, or even week. That’s the power of gratitude.

The Benefits of Gratitude

There are real physical and emotional benefits to regularly showing and feeling gratitude.

With gratitude can come greater levels of optimism and happiness, along with decreased levels of stress and anxiety. Knowing what we have in our lives and feeling grateful for those things can help build our self-esteem and even strengthen our ability to forgive others in our lives for incidents both old and new.

There have been actual scientific studies on this phenomenon, showing evidence that gratitude can help to heal the many negative emotions that we carry around with us all day long. Can you think of a better reason to cultivate a sense of gratitude than that?

Showing Gratitude to Others

The example above about your grandmother and the socks gets repeated in miniature every single day of our lives. From a genuine “thank you” to the grocery store clerk, to writing up a great reference to a colleague, there are so many ways that we can show gratitude, both big and small.

One of the biggest benefits of showing gratitude to others is that it allows us to improve our relationships. When we show that we are grateful for the people in our lives, they, in turn, become more grateful that we’re in theirs.

How do we do this? Easy. When you feel a sense of gratitude towards someone, don’t suppress that feeling out of embarrassment. Instead, express it to them. Trust me; it will make their day.

Showing Gratitude to Ourselves

Showing gratitude to others is easy when compared to showing gratitude to ourselves.

You know that little inner voice that channels your darkest, most negative thoughts? The one that whispers lies about you in your ear, damaging your self-image? That same little voice plays a huge part in an inability to show gratitude for the things in your life.

That little voice may tell you that what you already have isn’t enough. Or it might say that all of your blessings aren’t as good as you think they are. If we want to thrive in our lives, we need to learn to shut this little critic up!

I have found one of the best ways is to directly counter whatever that little voice says with the exact opposite. For example, if it says, “You’re not making enough money,” counter it by saying, “I’m making more than I did a few years ago.” If it says that “You don’t go to the gym enough,” counter it by saying, “Yes, but I go on long walks and do the best I can to stay fit right now in my life.”

Once we learn to silence that little voice, we can genuinely start to show gratitude for the wonderful blessings we have in our life!


Something that I am particularly grateful for is my tribe. This is a group of like-minded people who have banded together to support each other. The tribe that I’ve helped build in the Time to Thrive course is a community that I am very proud to be a part of. If you join in the Time to Thrive program, you will have access to this group of supportive, wonderful women who will help you navigate the trials and tribulations of learning to thrive.

If you’d like to learn more about the Time to Thrive program, click here. I hope you will join us!

How Forgiveness Sets Us All Free

There is an ancient quote that I’ve always loved:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Saint Augustine

Let me ask you a question: have you ever been deeply hurt by another person? Maybe it was someone who broke your heart, or a business partner who stabbed you in the back. When you think about this person, do you feel a tightness in your chest? Do you stand up straighter? Does your breathing become quicker? That’s the flight or fight response, once again kicking in when it isn’t useful!

As human beings, we are hardwired to remember when another party wrongs us. It’s a simple survival mechanism. Back when we were living in caves, it was important to remember if someone in your community stole your berries or “borrowed” your animal skin. Those things could be the difference between life or death. Today, the stakes are a little lower, but it’s still incredibly easy for us to form resentments over perceived or actual slights.

The problem is that it becomes incredibly easy to dwell on these slights, letting them poison our lives.

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The Difference Between Good Boundaries and Bad Boundaries

Establishing healthy boundaries is an important part of being, well, healthy!

Clear boundaries in both our lives and relationships are the key to success in both. Whether you are out on a date with a new person or taking on extra work to help out some of your teammates at work, it’s crucial that your boundaries are well defined and well inforced.

Unfortunately, boundaries are not always healthy. Sometimes, the boundaries we put up designed to prevent us from being hurt or facing rejection can backfire, inflicting real harm on our ability to thrive.

So, what are some good boundaries and what are some bad boundaries?

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How Do You Tell the Story of Your Life?

Ok, this might get a little trippy, so hold onto something!

I want you to think back to one of your most embarrassing high school memories. You know, the one that makes you want to hide under the couch, even though it’s been years since it happened. Ok, got it?

What if I told you that your memory of that event might not have been as bad as you remember it? Actually, it might have only been a fraction as embarrassing as it is in your memory. You might scoff and say that you remember it as clear as glass. But the reality could be entirely different.

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The Importance of Having a Tribe

I think one of the biggest lies of modern society is that we are more connected than ever.

If the internet has brought the world together, then why do so many people feel isolated? Yes, we have friends and family, but we often don’t connect with them in the way that we wish. This leaves us feeling alone, like we are in our own little bubble. This sense of loneliness has permeated our culture, making us desperate for human contact; to feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves.

Many, many years ago, human beings existed in smaller social groups. Rather than the millions of people that surround us today, we lived in smaller societies of hundreds. We knew everyone, and that closeness fostered a sense of community, a sense of belonging to the group. For the most part, we’ve lost this in modern society. It’s easy to feel like we’re just one in a countless sea of millions upon millions of people.

Thankfully, this social isolated in an age of supposed unparalleled connection does have a solution. You need to go out and find your tribe! But how will that help, you ask?

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Renee Lederman Therapy

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LEARN TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE RIGHT NOW.

With the start of a new year, many of us are turning our thoughts from holidays and celebrating to detoxing and rejuvenating, which makes now the perfect time to look forward, and plan for the changes you’d like to make in your life.  Sometimes, however, facing these changes can seem overwhelming or impossible, especially when the things you want to change may involve your relationship, your marriage, your job, or even your own habits. Read more

Setting Boundaries

In any relationship, whether personal or professional, setting boundaries is vital. Your relationships will be healthier, …

Why It’s Important to See Beauty Everywhere

What is beauty?   You might think that’s an easy question to answer, but is it really? One thing to remember is …

The Power of Gratitude

Do you remember when you were very young and your grandmother would give you socks for the holidays? Sure, socks sound like …