We all have people in our lives, whether acquaintances, friends, or family, who (usually unwittingly) drain our batteries. One person is overbearing, one family member takes everything personally, somebody else wants to call you five times a week, or maybe even five times a day! It’s rough stuff!
So, on my social media I asked you all what you find difficult about setting boundaries. Unsurprisingly, most people said the hardest part is that you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. That’s a genuine reason to be concerned … and here’s why you should do it anyway.
Personal autonomy and healthy interpersonal relationships are established around a framework of consent. I establish expectations (no smoking, no talking politics, et cetera). I allow people to be in my spaces. And then if they do something bad, it’s my right and prerogative to say no no, we’re not going to do this, and ask them to conform to the boundary or step outside.
Boundaries create a sense of honesty and clarity within any interpersonal relationship. If you are a people-pleaser, as I am, you may have trouble establishing boundaries. But remember, you can’t get everybody to like you. It’s impossible. And even if it could be done, you don’t WANT everybody to like you. There are people that don’t like peaches, and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the peach, it just means those people don’t like peaches. Not all shoes fit, not all shoes match your outfit. You owe it to yourself and to the people with whom you interact to be authentic and honest.
Now, grown people may feel hurt or offended if you ask for space, but remember that just as you are in control of your thoughts, they are in control of theirs. If you come from kindness as you establish boundaries, you are in the right. As you lovingly establish and uphold boundaries, you will be able to be yourself, and that is the greatest gift you can give your nearest and dearest within your four walls.
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