Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I wanted to take this time where we are gathering with family, friends and talk about setting boundaries.
I bring the subject up because I know the holidays can trigger many of us and it’s usually because we don’t set strong boundaries.
Let's start out by the definition of boundaries according to wikepidia:
"Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits."
I have a couple of suggestions for you in regards to setting some strong boundaries for yourself:
1. Figure out where you stand with things. Whether that's family, work, your beliefs or values. Know what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you feel uncomfortable and what you are willing to tolerate and what you are not.
2. Listen to your feelings. If you're in a conversation or in a situation that you're feeling uncomfortable, disrespected, or taken advantage of, then you know something is off and most likely boundaries are being trespassed. If you're feeling resentful or disrespected that's a great clue. Don't get upset at the other person, think about what the other person is saying or doing or requesting of you that is getting you fired up. That way you can then set a boundary and let them know that that's not going to work for you.
3. Look for clues in your history. If you are feeling triggered, stressed, resentful, think about what is going on. Is this something that has occurred before? Have you been imposed the role of the caretaker in your family and everyone assumes you are available whenever they want? Making you drained and exhausted all the time? Another option in relationships is considering If there's a healthy "give and take" or are you feeling triggered because you always give and don't receive in exchange?
Observe why it's hard for you to voice your thoughts or feelings. Is it hard for you to say no because you don't want to look bad and you don't want to hurt other people's feelings? Are you a people-pleaser?
Not setting healthy boundaries might be a sign of fear, guilt or self doubt. We might feel scared to say no to a client that's not good for us because we lose the sale. Or we might feel guilty to say no to a family member because we are scared they will critique us but deep down we are feeling under appreciated and taken advantage of.
You have to realize that setting boundaries is not just healthy for strengthening relationships, it strengthens your self-respect and love for yourself. If you don't stand up
for yourself nobody is going to do it for you.
4.Put Structure in place Put as many things into my calendar as possible: kids activities, family time, work, vacation, down time, play time, hobbies, exercise, etc. That way when someone wants you to do something on a specific date, you can see if and how you can fit it in, instead of saying yes immediately and then regretting it. I know it seems a bit of an oxymoron but the more structured and clear you are with your time, the more freedom you have and others won't be able to get in the way.
5.Voice your opinion. Once you have figured out what it is that's bothering you, and you have cooled down. Then you can go to the person you want to set the boundary with and explain to them what you're willing to put up with or not put up with.
I recommend being direct and voicing what your needs are without getting emotionally charged.
Remember to be graceful, speak in a neutral tone of voice and if you can offer up an alternative solution, that's always great to help them solve their problem. I also recommend doing this step in person or over the phone, I know it's easier to hide behind email or text but taking this route, even though it might seem easier, most likely will end up making things worse because things can be misinterpreted and you can not feel the tone of voice or the look in the eyes. Be brave and call or talk directly to the person, they will respect you more for being direct and not hiding out.
6. Practice, practice and practice. It takes a lot of courage to be able to set boundaries, but once you start practicing, you will gain more appreciation and respect for yourself, you will feel more energized, and you will develop a lot more self love. You will see that the more direct, and clear you are to people the more they will respect you in exchange.
I trust that this was useful. Think about if there are any boundaries that you need to set up in your life during this holiday season.
Wishing you a happy holiday!