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The okay vs. the not okay

Every Sunday, Arti Kashyap-Aynsley drops by to discuss all the many things we may be facing, feeling or going through in our day to day lives. Share your questions and / or requests for topics with Arti anonymously at

For the perpetual people pleasers out there, this weeks’ column is for you. It’s a chance for me to admit that all coaches don’t have it perfect yet for ourselves and to instil a way of relooking at how we look at and define our boundaries.

After vowing to change my people pleasing ways years ago, I have become so conscious of my boundaries. But over the past many months I have been dragged into loads of situations in work, life and everything in between that have made me realise that I am slowly falling back into the people pleasing trap.

I am exhausted, constantly facing an inner battle and feeling like I am in a constant state of compromise and “being the bigger person.” – Any one relate?

At the heart of all my people pleasing behaviour is a fear of not being liked, the idea of disappointing or hurting those around me and / or this feeling of having to take the moral high ground because there may be some hidden life lesson buried in it all – and anyone that knows me, knows I am all about getting as many life lessons as I can.

I wish I could say I was dealing with this uphill battle, but the truth is I have been avoiding this relapse like the plague despite my husband constantly pointing it out. I just feel to far in having set expectations now, to remind myself of my boundaries and the confidence I need to stick to them, so that I can reset people’s views.

So that’s the end of that then – right? I get to just continue down this path and let others continue to drive my behaviour despite it not really agreeing with me at my core. Is that right? Is this it? Am I destined to be a people please for life?

Of course not, especially as I read through “rising strong” by Brene Brown and feel as though with every page turn, I am being reminded to have to face the things I am avoiding most – insert people pleasing ways amongst other things here.

Funny enough as I turned the page this morning as I lay wrapped in the cosiness of my bed and duvet, a whole section on boundaries appeared. I mean you could just imagine my enthusiasm. Either, Brene Brown is lucky I was too cosy to move or am I just really lucky that the right messaging that I needed seemed to appear in front of me.

As I read through the section, I was reminded on why setting boundaries sometimes seem so scary to me and why I tend to avoid them. I mean just look at the definition – Boundaries are a line which mark the limit of an area, a dividing line of sorts. To me that just sounds so final, scary and selfish (at times).

I think this idea of the definition seeming daunting is not only a me thing, but something that sticks for others including Brene Brown. In fact, so much so that she came up with a new definition in the book - Boundaries are simply a list of things that are okay and things that are not okay. And well if you put it that way, it just seems like something we could all easily do. Write our own guides to what we deem okay and / or not okay and hold them in front of us almost like a badge of honour, our moral compasses have you will.

In the book Brene mentions an article that is written by an artist named Kelly Rae Roberts. Kelly having gotten tired of people stealing / copying her work she wrote a blog on her site entitled “what is okay and what is not okay”. And well you can imagine where this is going. Reading through the article was a bit like having an epiphany for me. It made having a list like this seem so normal and actually like my wellbeing post last week – Vital. I mean we all deserve to have a list like that for ourselves – one we can go back and revisit, alter and change as we wish whenever we want. I have linked the article here, as a resource and as a chance to see the idea of such a list in action.

Between the blog and the book, I have regained the inspiration to look after myself before pleasing others, in fact so much so that I have set myself a little Sunday evening task to work through my own version of Kelly Rae’s list.

I know that boundaries are not easy to build and keep, but they keep us living a life that is true to our core and to our happiness. I hope we all have the courage to create our own lists and the confidence to live by them - even if it takes us time to sit down and come to terms with the things on those lists and what that might mean for our day to day lives.

Wishing you all a week of courage and confidence.

With love and gratitude always,

Arti, aka The Wellness Chief xx

Have a topic you want me to address in the weekly column and / or are keen to look at the idea of coaching in general and / or coaching with me, please drop me a note at I offer free taster sessions and am always open to hosting exploratory calls as a starter. Remember this is your journey, and I am just here to provide the space you need.

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