Let’s talk about boundaries. Ugh. Right? Why is it so hard?
It's a simple enough concept - have a sense of what is ok and not ok, and communicate that to others. Then hold firm to that choice (assuming that is what you want) no matter what the reaction.
So why is it so challenging for so many of us?
The need to set boundaries appears in all areas of our lives. Maybe its boundaries with someone in your family - your mother, partner, kids…
Maybe you need to set more boundaries at work. Boundaries about texting after hours, when to shut off your email. Maybe even boundaries with your boss…
Whatever it is, we swear to ourselves that we are going to do better with our boundaries...And yet, when push comes to shove, many of us are not so great at it.
For me, I often struggle with holding a boundary when the person on the other side of it doesn’t like it.
A while back I decided to take a stand with a colleague about something that was really important to me. I felt clear and I felt confident. But when I shared it - well she clearly didn't like it. Though she said it was ok with her, I could tell that she was not happy. Perhaps you have experienced something similar...
So what did I do?
I caved in… I just let it go.
I said, "No, never mind. I can drop it. It’s not a big deal.”
But the problem is that it was a big deal. To me.
Ultimately I was more willing to disappoint myself than to disappoint someone else. And when I disappointed myself, I felt resentful that I was doing something that wasn’t right for me. Sound familiar?
Where do you struggle with boundaries? Is it at work? At home? With friends or family?
For me, it’s all of the above.
When I first started intentionally setting boundaries, they were like steel walls. I had been so accustomed to abandoning myself to please others that I needed to swing too far in the other direction in order to find my balance.
Today I try to be clear and kind in communicating what’s ok and what’s not ok. And I pay attention to which boundaries are essential to my well-being and which might be more flexible and permeable.
What works for you? How are you able to set a boundary and hold it, even when others don’t like it?