This is the hardest post for me. This is still a struggle, but I am getting stronger. My childhood was less than ideal. I had no idea what a healthy boundary was because it was easy to set others off if I stated my wishes or wants. Therefore, I learned never to do so.
You might have a traumatic background also and have been conditioned just to keep the peace. Problem is, that means suppressing your wants and needs for everyone else. It ’s time to stop that behavior! It’s time for some healthy boundaries.
First time I was told I needed boundaries I was confused. I had big boundaries.
Don’t hit me
Don’t steal from me
Don’t disrespect me
Problem with that last boundary was I never taught anyone what I considered disrespect. And then when someone stepped over the line, I was hurt, angry, and seeing red.
Boundaries are for both parties here. I have learned I need to teach those in my life what are my boundaries by speaking up and letting others know what I don’t like. Problem with people-pleasing is you don’t want to hurt the other person even though they are hurting you. Then one day you can’t take it anymore and blow up. Then the guilt sets in, and you vow to accept more next time. Then the next time. You get the picture.
Setting boundaries allow others to know what to expect from you. What behaviors you find acceptable. That is why it can be hard at first. You have to figure out what your boundaries are and then communicate those to other people vs. swallowing your hurt and then exploding!
Communicating your boundaries isn’t about telling other people how they can act. It’s about deciding how you are going to respond. What are you going to do when someone upsets you. Are you going to speak up or swallow it and never let the other person know. Then one day they do the same thing, and you explode. Now that person is confused because it was acceptable and now it’s not.
To start communicating your boundaries, you need to know what your boundaries are. Trust me, you will get more clear as you practice so don’t get stuck with not having it all figured out in the beginning. The key is to figure out how you WANT people to treat you.
What would you feel if they treated you that way?
How amazing would it be to have people treat you the way you want to be treated?
What does being respected look like to you?
What if you didn’t make all the sacrifices for the relationship?
These are starts to boundaries! How do you want to feel? Then you get to state your wants. Yes, YOU can say what you want. It could be as simple as indicating your preference for dinner. It doesn’t just have to be what they like. You can say what you want.
Boundaries are not about controlling the other person!! Boundaries are about controlling what situations you will allow yourself to be in. What you will let yourself to feel. You have the right to remove yourself if you boundary isn’t being respected. You can’t MAKE them act a certain way, but you can say I’m not accepting that and leave.
Here is an example:
Someone asks me to drop all that I am doing to do something for them that isn’t that important. I have to evaluate if I want to do that. There are days, it doesn’t matter to me, and I’m okay with it. There are days that I have a lot going on that needs to be done. I know I will increase my stress if I drop all that I have planned. I have the right and the obligation to tell them, I can’t stop everything and do that.
If instead, I drop everything and go do what they have asked out of fear of upsetting them, I can be mad all day, and that other person has no idea why. I know all day that I should be doing something else, and my stress is building. If I do not speak up and tell them, they are left wondering why I am acting upset. This is a decision out of fear. I can’t fear someone respecting my time.
My other option is to state I can’t do what they asked. Yes, the first few times I do this, the people-pleaser in me worries they will be upset and never speak to me. But that is putting their feelings above mine. I know I need to honor what I have going scheduled and what will make me most comfortable. Now if they do get upset, that is on them. I have a choice to be around people that are respectful of my time or not.
My boundary was about me. Not what the other person would do or feel. Instead, it’s about me and how I choose to feel. People-pleasing is a pattern of trying to keep the peace at the expense of our own happiness. In the end, it doesn’t work.
How to start implementing boundaries:
1. Imagine what you want to feel.
Decide what boundaries matter to you. This is about deciding what you want to feel like. Do you want to be happy or stressed?
2. Speak up!
People-pleasing teaches us to stuff our emotions and not to speak our minds. I’m telling you to speak up! What you have to say matters. Tell them what’s on your mind. It’s not about hurting others, but it’s a reminder that what you matter!
3. Forgive yourself
Boundaries will be easy to implement on some days and hard on others. Forgive yourself for the days you violate your own boundaries. Getting angry with yourself isn’t the answer. Forgiveness is. Make the next day a better day and move on. Remember this isn’t about perfection. It’s about the process of embracing your life and living it with confidence, contentment, and commitment to your dreams.
I’m ready to
Embrace My Life