“Spaghetti Arms! This is my dance space”
Personal boundaries are always a bit of a pain in the
bum aren’t they?
Creating a set of rules for yourself that feel both comfortable and acceptable is one thing, sometimes putting those into place can be totally another I don’t know about you, but sometimes, even if I’ve felt uncomfortable, I’ve chosen not to say anything, for fear of upsetting the other person or just in an attempt to keep the peace.
Sure, there are instances when this is absolutely applicable, but there are other times, when I should perhaps have stood my ground and said ‘Hang on, this isn’t right for me.’
For years, I found it quite tricky to let people know when they’d overstepped the mark with me. I’m not great at confrontation and so I’d put off saying anything, then put it off some more, until finally I’d be so fed up and frustrated that I’d just explode – not a great way to handle things, but I know loads of other people who do similar. Or even worse, I’d just put up with whatever was happening and choose to say nothing.
That just made me irritated or resentful towards the people involved and then angry at myself. We’ve all been that person who says nothing is wrong; when on the inside, we’re totally fed up, feeling like we’ve let the same thing happen again, for not taking control or not speaking up.
When you’re setting boundaries for yourself, whether they be emotional, physical, work related, or maybe even as seemingly trivial as lending a book, or as big as lending money, to a friend; you need to work out what is acceptable for you. What are you comfortable with? Can you live with the decisions you’re making or will they constantly piss you off? Is this what you want? Are you ok with someone speaking to you like that or behaving in a particular way? Are you ok with people taking advantage?
Do you even feel they are taking advantage? ( Remember these are YOUR boundaries, you’re not making them to please other people. )
Are you happy with the way things are? If yes, that’s fine, there are no judgements, this is all about you.
See if you can step out into the future and ‘try on’ the feelings, how do these situations make you feel, how do you feel about the decisions you’ve made? If your answer to this is uncomfortable or miffed, this is a sure sign you’ve breached your own boundaries …
The next thing to ask yourself is how will you feel if you let yourself off, get involved in a particular situation, do something you aren’t really sure about, compromise yourself in some way? Knowing what’s right and wrong for you is perhaps the easy bit. Being able to let people know they’ve “crossed” a boundary without turning the conversation into a confrontation is perhaps more difficult. I think the trick is to nip things in the bud, say something early on, don’t let the situation build and build, because then, it’s become a ‘big deal’ (even if it’s only in your own head) and your way of dealing with it will reflect that.
Choose your words carefully and calmly. Just saying ‘No, I don’t think that’s what I want.’ or ‘That’s not for me.’ is fine, easy and doesn’t need to you metaphorically roll your sleeves up. I know it may take a bit of practice and a deep breath beforehand, but you’re a big girl now – you can do this! I have faith. And like most things, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Boundaries are all about putting your own feelings first – not in a selfish way, but in a way which says to both you and to others you are valued – in short, cos you’re worth it!
Remember, your reputation with yourself is more important than anything else! What’s your own experience with boundaries, do you find them easy or difficult? Are you able to stay with them, or do you let things slide?