setting boundaries

Reduce Stress by Setting Boundaries

One of the major lessons of my adult life has been setting boundaries. Whether they be emotional, financial, physical, spiritual or mental. I am such a keep-the-peace type of person by nature that in the past I gave over control of many aspects of my life to circumstances or people because

  1. I wasn’t clear where the line was between them and me. I was fuzzy about what’s my responsibility and what’s theirs
  2. When I did realize I needed to set a boundary, I didn’t want to deal with the anticipated “conflict” of doing so.

Thus, over the years, I owned other people’s emotions. I allowed money I earned to get spent unwisely by other people. I enabled other people to atrophy in their own responsibilities and character, over-invested in relationships that weren’t at a commitment level to warrant the investment, and didn’t take enough care of my own health.

I have learned that when I allow one area of my life to swell beyond boundaries, other areas suffer. For example, when I was a workaholic, my family suffered. When I over-invest in relationships, my work suffered. When I owned other people’s negative emotions, I became drained and didn’t have the energy to be there for the other people who needed me. When I didn’t take enough time for sleep and exercise, I got sick and stressed.

It’s a delicate balance.

Creating an Energetic Buffer Zone

For me, as an empath, one of the first boundaries I learned to set was between my emotions and someone else’s. I’m still not perfect at that, I still have a knee-jerk feeling of responsibility for easing other people’s upset emotions. Yet, I have developed somewhat of an energetic buffer zone where I create a shock absorber between other people’s emotions and me.

If I am, for example, in a room full of highly emotional people, I can use this buffer to mute my empathic abilities. This way, I can withstand the intense environment. Then I can reduce the size of the buffer and connect empathetically when I work with a client or want to be emotionally responsive to my significant other. If the environment was extremely intense, it may take a bit of alone time to rejuvenate, but I give myself that time and honor the need for it.


Another way I’ve prevented one or more areas of my life from getting out of balance is to use a schedule. I used to avoid schedules like the plague. I love spontaneity and going wherever the Spirit leads, but I have learned that a schedule is my friend. When I set clear work hours, free-time hours, and time for uninterrupted sleep and exercise, my life goes more smoothly.

Get Clarity

I still struggle with boundaries. I still take on responsibilities that are not mine. I still have a tendency to make excuses for other people as to why they can’t step up or contribute. As a result I tend to take on their part. But I’m learning that the clearer I am about where my boundaries are and the more clearly I communicate that to other people, the more I take back my personal power. I have come to finally realize that not setting and communicating clear boundaries is giving away my power.

It would be easy for me to blame other people and say they are trying to control my time and my life. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not their fault when I have not clearly communicated my boundaries. It’s not their fault when I don’t enforce my boundaries.

For example, as a work-at-home entrepreneur with teenagers, I set the boundary, “When my door is closed, please do not come in.”

In my romantic relationship, I’m setting boundaries like, “I work from 9 am to 3:15 pm every day. You’re welcome to text me, but please don’t expect a swift reply. If I have a moment I will reply during the day or perhaps it will need to wait until after I pick up my son at 4pm.” Or, “If you wake up thinking of me at 3 am and want to text, you are most welcome to do so, but please don’t expect a reply til morning.”

Be Flexible

As wonderful as boundaries are, life happens. There are special circumstances.. Loved ones go on vacations to tropical islands and want to touch base with you in (what for you) is the middle of the night. Elderly parents get sick and need your help during your work day. Schedules may need to be adjusted. Don’t be afraid to ask other family members or your church to assist you in such cases.

What areas of your life are causing you stress? Which areas feel out of control? Perhaps it’s time to get clear on setting boundaries. When you get clear with yourself and clear with others, you take back the power in your life and reduce stress significantly.

If you enjoyed this post, you  might also find this one helpful: Is Your Inability to Say “No” Making You Sick, Tired or Broke?

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

letting love lead

Letting Love Lead the Way

I think more than anything, the people in our lives need us to be a safe place to go for a listening ear, a shoulder, a sounding board. Having a successful relationship means letting love lead. People don’t need us to be one more person condemning them or telling them they did something stupid. Most of us do quite well guilt-tripping ourselves.

People need us to believe in their ability to change, to do better, and to reach their potential. They need us to remind them of the good that is in them. They need us to remind them that God loves them, is on their side and has already paid the price to redeem them if they will just accept it and come to Him.

Letting Love Lead Doesn’t Mean Being a Doormat

In saying this, I’m not saying we must continue to associate with someone whose actions constantly undermine our peace. There may come a time when you will feel led to part ways with some people.

Even if someone is past feeling, refuses to change, or we can’t safely be in their space any longer, we can still hold hope for them that maybe one day they will find their way back to Him.

Forgive, let them go,and trust that God will take care of them and find a way to reach them when they’re ready. Get on with your life and make the best of it.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Would You Change Anything?

This morning I found a new song by Sara Bareilles. I often feel like Sara has written the soundtrack to my life. This song is no different, “She Used to Be Mine” may not feel like exactly where I am now, but I think it’s a great snapshot of some points along my path. Especially, in those times where I screwed up royally and longed for the girl or woman I used to be.

I’ve listened to this song several times today and had a conversation with my mom about it. (Love, my angel Mama, by the way.)

YouTube Preview Image

if you could live your life over would you change anythingWe’ve mused about whether we’d change things in our lives. Would we rewrite some endings for the girls we used to be?

Problem is, the big things that I’d want to change are like threads in a tapestry that gets mutilated when I extract them.

Remove my first marriage, and I might not have the children I have. Remove the crazy, stupid love-turned-to-heartbreak, and I wouldn’t have key wisdom and perspective that helped me fully appreciate and value the man who’s sharing the second half of my life.

The only thing I might change is I’d wait until I was older to marry. At 19, I didn’t even know who I was. My brain wasn’t even fully developed! I had no experience with men or love or hormones. I didn’t know that hormones could make you see people through a completely unrealistic lens. I didn’t know how much hormones distorted perceptions. I didn’t fully learn that lesson until I was 48 and single again.

Maybe if I’d taken my time when I was young, I would have matured and had enough experience to choose wisely. Then again, there’s the kids and my new hubby who loves me like I’ve never known love, and I think the price was worth paying.

Yet, there are plenty of small moments I’d like to change…

  • I would have spent more time enjoying my children.
  • Would have worried less over making money and relaxed and spent more time with my kids in their early years.
  • I would have handled some situations differently when my kids were struggling.

I think I could safely do those things without disturbing the timeline too incredibly much.

What about you? If you had your life to do over, would you change anything? And if you would, could you handle the ripples?

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Suffering from the Savior Complex? Take the Quiz!

A lot of my clients suffer from the Savior Complex. They don’t realize it when they come to me, but after I tell them the symptoms, they say, “Oh, yeah, that’s me.”  If you have the Savior complex you’re probably overworked, overwhelmed and carrying a lot of stress. All of this gets in the way of you being able to be the brilliant light you were born to be.

If you’re curious if you have the Savior Complex, watch this video and take the free quiz…

So how did you do? Think you might have a touch of the Savior Complex? If so, join me for Breakthrough to Radiance! Let’s get you past it!

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Are You Paying a Price for Drama?

Drama and being with drama-creating individuals can exact a hefty price on our lives. My colleague Laura West had this to say about stirred up situations:

“It keeps you focused on the drama instead of moving forward & taking action.”

  • Drama creates stress
  • It sucks your mental and emotional bandwidth and kills creativity.
  • It keeps you from finding innovative solutions to your problems,
  • It makes you feel stuck, depressed, and confused.
  • It wastes time.
  • Being around drama dictators sabotages your confidence and keeps you second guessing yourself.
  • As Beth Tipper said, drama is “Emotional hijack.”

In this brief video I share a bit more about the price of drama.

Leave drama behind and Breakthrough to Radiance!

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Drama, Drama, Drama

Have you ever noticed themes crop up in your life? As I’ve been working with clients and interacting with other people this month there has been one reoccurring theme — Drama.

Drama, Drama, Drama.

You can blame it on the blood moon or that Mercury is in retrograde, but whatever it is, drama can be a common part of life at anytime. In fact, for many people it’s their normal.

In the following short video I talk about the 3 types of drama personalities and how they may be affecting your life.

Leave drama behind and Breakthrough to Radiance!

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Quest for Love: A Masterpiece in the Making

Have you ever watched someone throw pottery? Sometimes things seem to be shaping up nicely and then the potter smashes it flat and starts over. The pottery rarely looks like a masterpiece along the way. If you were to stop mid-process you’d see flaws and misshapen pieces. Sometimes it looks absolutely nothing like the final product.

As we proceed through our lives I think we could benefit by seeing them through the Master Potter’s eyes. God is outside of space and time, He sees us as a finished product — a final masterpiece. He knows what’s being created, and He isn’t the least bit concerned about your screw-ups along the way.

Greek Roman potteryWe, on the other hand, see only flaws, mistakes, and strange shapes throughout the process. As we look at our own lives, circumstances, and other people it would be great if we could get in our minds’ eye a vision of the finished product.

I found this video of the pottery-making process. It’s mesmerizing to watch. Notice the video starts by showing you the finished product, then goes back and shows you how the artist created it. As we watch, we are fascinated by how he does it, but we aren’t the least bit concerned or confused about whether everything will turn out right in the end.

Unfortunately, in our own lives, we don’t always have that end picture in mind. We don’t know where God is going or what He’s creating. When we (or He) smashes our clay flat, we don’t always have the faith that He can still turn it into a masterpiece. But He can.

For us, it is an exercise in faith and trust to believe that no matter how badly flawed or messed-up our lives look, if we allow Him to be the Potter of our lives, a masterpiece WILL inevitably be created.

Along my Quest for Love, sometimes it looked like a pitiful misshapen ashtray. At one point, I felt as if my entire life was smashed flat into an unrecognizable heap. It’s amazing how quickly (in a matter of months) God took that formless heap and started shaping something new. This process has taught me to look at every aspect of my life with more trust that somehow, in the end it’s all going to work out beautifully.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Quest for Love: Following Taillights

[This blog entry is the 13th in my Quest for Love Series. If you’d like to start at the beginning, click here.]

I don’t know if it’s just me or if it happens to others, but the right people always come into my life at the right time. The exact mentors, friends, teachers and companions intersect my path to help me get through whatever it is I’m dealing with. They’re guides who help me navigate to my next destination.

It’s like being on a winding road on a dark, rainy night and seeing tail lights just ahead. What a relief it can be to have someone to follow!

When I’d first decided to get a divorce, but hadn’t even told my spouse or family, I had a business acquaintance come to mind.  We had exchanged services about six months earlier.  One day she was on my mind, so I sent her an email to ask how she was doing. She replied that my timing was impeccable. She’d had me on her mind as well. She’d even put my name on her to-do-list for contact, but hadn’t gotten to it yet.

We set up a time to talk, and she asked how my life and business were going. I admitted to her that I had decided to get a divorce. In response she revealed that she too was going through a divorce. I had no idea this was the case. She and her spouse had filed several months earlier and because of the state they lived in, there was a lengthy waiting period.

What’s more, her marriage had an extremely similar dynamic to my marriage. She began telling me how she and her husband-at-the-time had mapped out an amicable divorce that helped their children make the transition more smoothly.

At the time, it never occurred to me that a divorce could be as amicably as she described. She gave me tips and pointers for making it flow better. I ended the call by thanking her for letting me “follow her taillights.”

Over the last couple years, this woman and I have become wonderful friends. Soul sisters, if you will. Sometimes I’m following her taillights and sometimes she’s following mine. Our paths intersect in so many interesting ways. It’s as if we’re always learning similar life lessons. The opportunity to share our experiences lifts, encourages and gives each of us more insight into our own challenges.

I’m very grateful for those little nudges that have come over the last couple years that have prompted either she or me (often both of us simultaneously) to reach out to the other.

As you go through your journey of life, I hope you’ll open yourself up to receiving the people God places on your path to show you the way. It’s a huge blessing to have a shoulder to lean on, a sounding board, or a soul sister to share your heart’s concerns. It’s a priceless gift to have such friends.

PS: Want to hear something weird? The minute I saved this blog, my friend (who I haven’t talked to in several weeks), texted me to say she had a window to talk and wanted to know if I could. Yep, it’s fun having a soul sister!

friends are like taillights on a dark night

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

building relationships

Quest for Love: Dumb Dating Mistakes Women Make

This entry is the 7th in a series. To start at the beginning, go here.

Being single I’ve studied a few programs created by dating gurus. Most of them have one common theme. Women tend to be needy and over-deliver, over-invest, and over-expect. Before you argue with me, let me explain why there’s a lot of truth in this.

building relationshipsOne program I bought compared building a relationship to building a multi-story building.  The woman shouldn’t come in and build all the floors or even two floors to his one. You should build the floors together. Or if you build a floor, he needs to build a floor.

As a woman you should be contributing less than or no more than equal to the man’s investment.

There are lots of warnings about “neediness.’’ You don’t need to be texting him all the time, calling him, etc. Let him initiate those things.

Another guru suggests that women shouldn’t be hanging out on a guy’s Facebook wall liking and commenting on all his posts. Another says, if he backs off, you should back off. Most women go into panicky chase mode if a man backs away.

My dad gave me some interesting advice. It confused me thoroughly when he said it, but it proved incredibly true.

He said, “You need to not care. It’s when you don’t really care that a man wants you.”

I questioned him, “What? Not care? How do I do that? Just not care at all? And why would I want a man that I don’t care about?”

He added, “Well, care, but don’t care.”

“Gee, Daddy, what the heck does that mean?”

“I can’t explain it to you, but you’ll figure it out.”

I don’t know if I can explain this to you any better than my dad could, but I sure hope I can. If someone had really been able to explain it to me earlier, it would have helped immensely. In the end, I’m sure the timing was all for the best.

In every serious relationship I was in, I cared. I cared a lot. When you care a lot, you go overboard to do things that you think will please the man. It’s not that you’re lying or faking anything. You honestly don’t even know you’re doing it! You’re just genuinely enthralled with the person.

If he burped you’d want to store it in a jar. (Okay, maybe that’s a little overboard!) But you get my drift.

When you’re enamored, and especially when dopamine is coursing through your veins, everything the other person says or does is wonderful. You’re incredibly blind to red flags that tell you otherwise.

You aren’t your every-day, normal self. What happens is you start constructing that multi-story building, predominantly by yourself. Much of it is largely in your mind. It’s amazing how what goes on in your mind and emotions gets emitted to another person without you even saying a word. It’s a vibe.

You also do extra things to please him. You accommodate your schedule to spend time with him. You let some of your own interests go to the wayside.

Not until I went through a major breakup and didn’t trust my instincts, heart, or inspiration anymore, did I learn what it meant to “care, but not care.” I came to this place in two steps.

Step 1: Looking Myself in the Mirror

Immediately after the breakup, I started a new relationship. This man was instantly taken with me and started talking about how he wanted to marry me. He was smitten, and I could see he was very much like I’d been in other relationships. He was moving like a freight train, but I was still incredibly jaded. I remember thinking, “Poor thing, he’s on dopamine.”

This man was not needy, but he was determined. He was convinced I was the one for him. He reminded me SO much of myself. I thought, “Oh, man, no wonder I scared the crap out of those men I dated! No wonder they wouldn’t commit!”

When the other person is so driven and determined, you begin to feel like you want your own choice in the matter. You start slowing things down and telling the person you need some time and space.  Honestly, I wouldn’t call it needy. I’d call it feeling like you know what you want and by dang, you’re gonna have it.

Step 2: Being so Burned, I Couldn’t Care

I don’t recommend everyone learn how to “care but not care” the way I did. Honestly, I was incapable of caring. I was so jaded, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust chemistry or hormones for sure. They’d betrayed me. I also didn’t trust my ability to receive inspiration, because I completely misinterpreted it when love-struck.

I had to get to the point where all I really wanted was someone to hang out with and go places. Marriage wasn’t even on my radar. I let any expectation of commitment go. I resolved to be myself, enjoy my life and never, ever let dopamine (the brain chemical released when you’re in a new relationship) rule my life.

I wrapped up my heart in a nice suit of armor, and I went out into the dating world simply for something to do. Once I did this, once I didn’t care anymore, that’s when the man came along who was ready to commit and choose me.

Because I didn’t care, I didn’t over invest. I was completely  myself. I was honest. I let him know my heart was guarded and that I needed some time to learn to trust my heart again.

He gave me some space. He made it very clear that I was the type of woman he’d been looking for, but he didn’t push. He wasn’t needy, and he wasn’t so determined that I felt pressured. It was the perfect balance.

I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t sure I could even open my heart again. The thought occurred to me that I might be incapable of loving. But bit-by-bit, through a lot of prayer and energy therapy my heart began to trust again.

It was from this space of “caring, but not caring” that I found the man with whom I could create the love that I desired.

I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but I sure hope it helps someone. I hope it helps you find that space of “Caring, but not caring” without having to have your heart hammered to get there. It’s not the most pleasant route to travel.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Quest for Love: 10 Ingredients to a Lasting Loving Relationship

When I was in Utah, I was with some friends who were building a fire. They used some newspaper, a few sticks and a log. The fire started out blazing, but it quickly burned out because they didn’t know to create a teepee of smaller kindling and gradually add larger and larger pieces of kindling and wood until the fire was prepared to handle a big log.

campfireWhen their attempt failed, I said, “Here, let me help.”  I instructed everyone to gather small twigs, and we built a small tee pee and started the fire in the center of it. The fire took hold, and we gradually added larger and larger pieces until it was time to add a bigger log.

There’s a point at which you know a fire is going to last. It’s well before you’ve put the big log on the fire. It’s way back at the beginning when the teepee catches fire and you’re adding more fuel.

I believe creating loving relationships is like building a fire. It doesn’t take much longer to create a lasting fire than one that will fizzle fast. You just have to have certain elements in place and put them on the fire in the right order.

Through trial and error, I have identified the following elements to a long-lasting intimate relationship. While the first 8 can come in any order, one should never risk flipping the order on 9 and 10. Think of #10 as the larger fuel that will smother your fire if you put it on before the other elements have given your fire a good start.

  1. Respect
  2. Shared Values
  3. Communication
  4. Caring and Kindness
  5. Connection
  6. Chemistry
  7. Love & Affection
  8. Trust
  9. Commitment / Investment
  10. Intimacy

A great relationship comes when two people are willing to invest in each other and in the relationship.

I love this quote by David A. Bednar:

“The word love is both a verb and a noun. I think sometimes we think, ‘Well, I have to have the feeling (the noun) before I can start doing love (the verb).’ It works both ways. Now, I don’t want this to sound unromantic, but love (the feeling) follows love (the verb).

We find young people all over the world who think, ‘I have to find the one, the true, the only; and more correctly, you have to become the one, the true and the only through what you do and what you become. You don’t just sit around and wait to fall in love. You engage in love (the verb) and then love (the noun – the emotion and the feeling) is just remarkable. So I think you create it. You don’t find it.”

This principle applies not only to dating, but also to life and business. Taking your time to build solid foundations and systems, allows for future growth and expansion that is sustainable.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.