The subject of boundaries has been coming up so often with my clients lately that I just had to write a blog post about it. What is it about having and keeping boundaries that confounds so many people? I’ll tell you what. We are all afraid of being rejected or making someone unhappy with us.
It seems like everyone I talk to is having boundary issues with their kids, significant other, boss, friends, co-workers, or family members.
When it comes to boundaries, I want you to understand this: Your boundaries are for YOU. Not anyone else. Other people DO NOT have to understand or agree with YOUR boundaries. They are yours. You put them in place for you. You stand by them for you.
When you let other people cross boundaries, you are setting up a situation where you are essentially giving them permission to do it again and again. Then, when you eventually become angry and resentful about it, you’ll blame that person for not having any respect for you. It’s a vicious circle and here is what you can do about it.
- Stop explaining yourself. When you feel compelled to say, no, to someone, do you also feel compelled to give a long explanation about why you’re saying no? It’s the idea of the explanation that makes us sweat. If you would just speak your truth in a kind way, minus the explanation, it would be so much easier. Example: Vicki, can you volunteer to run such and such activity at school this week? I’m sorry (smiling), I’m not available this week. No explanations!
- Stop trying to control other people’s emotions. You are not responsible if someone lets their feelings be hurt by you having a boundary. You have no control over how another person reacts to any situation. This includes when you say no to them or set some other kind of boundary. Again, the boundary isn’t for them or about them. If a person gets upset over your boundary, that is their issue. Also, you might want to question what kind of relationship you have with someone if they get upset over you having boundaries.
- Be kind but don’t be a pushover. If you really feel like to you want to help someone or make an exception for them, please do. However, if you feel in any way that you do not want to, please don’t. I have a client who is a sucker for anyone who seems like they are in need. She will pretty much do anything, even if she doesn’t want to, if another person seems like they need her. She is being a pushover with no boundaries. If you don’t really want to do it, don’t do it. Find a kind way to say no (minus the excuse).
- Stop blaming the person who is repeatedly crossing your boundaries. You have set it up this way or they wouldn’t be doing it. I know this sucks, but it’s true. You created this mess and you can change it. One of my friends has a boss who pretty much knows no boundaries. He asks (more like commands) her to do work that is outside the scope of her job, at odd hours and with little notice. He speaks to her in a disrespectful tone and pokes fun at her in front of her co-workers. He might be a jerk boss but it’s my friend who has allowed this to happen.
Even if it’s your intimidating mother-in-law or your boss, you can stand for your boundaries and not be a jerk about it. The key is speaking your truth in a kind way.
If you have someone in your life that repeatedly crosses your boundaries and you want to learn more about how to stop it, contact me for a 45 minute, Boundary Reinforcement Session. First time clients pay only $25 and can then apply this fee to the purchase of any coaching package. Vicki@mykickasscoach.com