Are you a master at taking care of the feelings and problems of everyone else?
Are you clear about the things that are your responsibility and the things that aren’t?
Do you struggle with saying no?
If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “yup that’s me!” you’ve probably got some challenges with setting boundaries beautiful. By the way – you are not alone! Many of the women I talk to and coach would rather twist themselves into a people pleasing pretzel than say “no” to a loved one, friend or boss.
People are so fearful of setting boundaries because they’re worried the other person involved won’t like it.
Can you relate to that?
In Dr. Henry Clouds book, When to Say Yes How to Say No, he says healthy boundaries will increase your love and save your life. Just as homeowners set physical property lines around their land, we must create mental, physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries for ourselves. Although physical boundaries are easier to see, the invisible property lines are just as real, and they define, protect and maintain your soul.
The truth is boundaries define everything! As scary as it seems, setting boundaries has the opposite effect of what we expect. Not only will you gain more respect from others, but you’ll start to respect yourself more as well!
Practice Setting Boundaries Everywhere
You can create a powerful invisible fence with your words baby. All you have to do is begin by saying “No!” Let it rip!! Feel the freedom as you honor your needs and feelings!
If you don’t like the way someone is treating you instead of taking it and becoming resentful, empower yourself by saying,
“I don’t like it when you yell at me!” or “No that behavior is not okay. I will not participate in that.” Your words let people know where you stand and gives them the “rules” of your yard.
One of my clients, Sasha, recently told me that she’d set a boundary with a parking attendant. He was speaking to her rudely and she quickly set him straight with a firm, “Don’t talk to me like that!” After that, he smiled at her and treated her totally differently.
Why? Because she’d instructed him as to how she wanted to be treated. She set a boundary and didn’t even think twice about it. Her words just naturally flowed out of her mouth and the guy responded very favorably.
Imagine what your life would be like if you set boundaries like that everywhere you went!
It’s OK if It’s Uncomfortable at First
Sasha happened to be a people pleaser. In the past, if she’d spoken up at all, she’d have felt guilty and very bad about herself. If you can relate, then setting boundaries might be uncomfortable at first. It might even continue to be uncomfortable after you’ve done it several times because building a new behavior takes time.
That was true for my client – after the incident she said, “See, I told you men love bitches.” But she wasn’t being a bitch. She was teaching him how to treat her.
Although Sasha had stepped beautifully into a new behavior (and continues to do so) the part of her that wasn’t yet fully comfortable in this new role of expression popped up to hijack her victory. We talked about it and she was able to quickly shift her perspective from feeling like what she said was bitchy to recognizing it was firmly anchored in self love and integrity.
I share this with you because the same thought might cross your mind as you begin to set appropriate boundaries at appropriate times with the appropriate people.
Don’t let the discomfort cause you to fall back into your old ways. As my fitness coach used to say, “get comfortable in the discomfort” because pushing the envelope will pay off big time.
Other people may not like it when we start to set boundaries but you know what? That’s OK. When you set boundaries, you’re honoring yourself and telling people that you value yourself. You’re telling them that you have integrity and self respect.
Setting boundaries is not about being a bitch. It’s about speaking from a place of truth and honoring as opposed to fear. Remember, you’re building a whole new persona. People will see you differently and that’s OK! You are stepping into your core diamond power bravely showing others another facet of your most magnificent Self.