When I was a kid I let myself be pushed around and be taken advantage of. In one of my first grown up jobs I had a turning point. Someone, whom I didn’t respect, said something rude to me. I shot back with an insult (not recommended). Laughter filled the room and I found my legs.
When pushed we eventually push back. Rather than waiting until your breaking point, it’s better to set a boundary to protect yourself. A boundary is simply an invisible line someone may not cross.
A client told me recently that she respects herself when she sets a boundary. Cool. I know that when you set a boundary with the intention of protecting yourself and improving relationships, others will respect you also.
If you’re feeling burnt out and/or resentful boundaries might be in order. What’s holding you back from speaking up? Is it the fear of not being liked or rejected? Are you afraid of conflict? Are you feeling smaller or less important than someone else?
As mentioned above, you will be liked and respected. We all know people who give off a certain “Don’t mess with me” energy, and we think nothing less of them. For the most part we admire them.
When you set boundaries with an open heart you avoid conflict. You do this to enhance the relationship – and that’s what happens.
Most importantly, you get the courage to set boundaries by seeing yourself equally important as everyone and everything else – because you are.
Having clarity about what you will not accept or tolerate from others is integral. You can’t be wishy washy when it comes to teaching people how to treat you.
Setting boundaries is simply a way of saying no. “No, you can’t yell at me. No, you can’t criticize me. No, you can’t keep blaming me for your problems. No, you can’t touch me. No, you can’t text me at all hours and expect a response.”
Of course there’s a right way to say no. That’s not what I did. Good came of it, in any case, as it was an important step in building my self-confidence – albeit at the expense of my bully.
Perhaps you know boundary work is in order because you’ve been tolerating something, or someone, for too long. If you’d like support feel free to ask for my handout, or ask for coaching. I promise I won’t insult you.