In a previous article, I wrote about what happy and positive thinkers never do, and the situations they never put themselves into. (Hint: It has everything to do with their healthy boundaries.)

As a followup, we now look at what people with emotional intelligence do to avoid drama and conflict by breaking their own cycle of a boundary-less life. I strongly urge you to begin with the first article for context.

To start, let's understand that people who operate without solid boundaries experience many things, including:

  • Difficult or dramatic relationships.
  • Inability to make decisions on their own.
  • Tendency to please others at their own expense. (They hate to let other people down.)
  • Sharing too much with people not close enough to them.
  • Repeatedly being the victim of circumstances.
  • Not knowing who they truly are.

Although it may not be their intention, that's the way people lacking boundaries unfortunately roll. They may have a self-imposed doormat policy in effect and not even know it.

If you believe you could benefit from more emotional intelligence in your life, I suggest this as your personal strategy to increase personal boundaries and eliminate drama:

Step 1: Assess Your Situation

Do an honest self-appraisal of the situations that make you feel threatened. What is it about these situations that makes you feel that way? Process your thoughts carefully and drill down until you get to the root of the matter, going below the symptom-level.

We're not talking stress, that's evident. Instead, what specifically is stressing you out? That's your cycle.

Step 2: Write a List

Make a list of your unresolved issues, and be sure to break them down into small and manageable parts. Resolve each issue separately instead of feeling frustrated by viewing the pile of issues as a mountain of unsolvable problems.

Step 3: Leave the Past in the Past

Realize who you are and that you have value, and that others value you and your contributions! Break free from preconceived notions that you have about yourself based on what other people say or what you think they are saying. None of that matters and may quite possibly be drama that you have been scripting in your head for years. Deal in the factual and the here and now. Leave the ghosts of your past in the past.

Step 4: Say No

Remind yourself that it's OK to say "No" to anyone if the request interferes with your beliefs, goals, passions, or even your schedule. You do not have to be a yes-person for anyone; it takes too much effort and leaves you frustrated. Offer resistance when those beliefs are threatened. You can tell the person gently without being harsh, but assertiveness may be necessary to draw the line. That's boundaries.

Step 5: Get Over Your Guilt

There are situations that, upon further inspection, have nothing to do with you. You are not responsible for the actions of others, so beating yourself up about something that someone else does is counterproductive and pushes you further away from your own inner peace.

Step 6: Stand Up to Manipulators

Undesired submission to harmful and manipulative behavior serves only to reinforce and condone those actions. Stop bowing your head to the corporate bullies in your life.

Step 7: Get a Support Group

Choose supportive and encouraging friends and co-workers instead of controlling or constantly needy takers who only care about themselves.

Step 8: Stop Pleasing Others

Remove yourself from the dark shadows of those who you try to please. Wake up tomorrow with a new positive approach to your day, and go out of your way to brighten someone else's life. This, in turn, will brighten yours.