• Laurie@TheGrowConsultancy

Boundaries, why you need them and how to get them

Boundaries. What does this mean to you? For me, it’s being able to put my needs first without apologising for it.

We don’t always know that they are there until they’re crossed.

What did you learn about boundaries from your parents? From your teachers? From your managers? What about from friends?

Have a think on this. Who do you know with good boundaries? Who do you know who is always at someone else’s beck and call? Are you a people pleaser? Do you know people who are?

Who oversteps your boundaries? Family? (That’s tough but not impossible) Friends? Managers? Your partner?

Step 1 is to identify and have a think about this. I’m guessing that if you want to talk about them you find them hard to enforce.

It’s no wonder. We are raised to be nice and not to hurt people’s feelings but what about our feelings?

How do you feel about saying no? Are you aware that you can? Or do you go into the self talk of ‘But if I say that, she’ll say this so it’s easier to agree’ etc.

It’s some peoples’ worst nightmare I know. Some people are raised to put others first, some learn this along the way. Some have to do what others want to stay ‘safe’ and absorb that even when it’s not required any more. For some it’s about avoiding conflict and doing anything for an easy life.

Whatever the reason there are consequences to not saying it. If you never say no when you want to you can end up doing things other people want and need rather than what you want and need all the time. Yes, there’s compromise but this isn’t that. It’s regularly doing what someone else wants until you have no time or headspace to do your ‘stuff’. If this happens repeatedly it can get to a point where you have no idea what you actually want and need so today have a think about that.

What do you want and need in life? What would you like to try that you haven’t in case ‘someone’ knocks it or you? What do you end up doing against your better judgement? Who do you have to walk on eggshells with? What do you go along with?

So, if you have identified things and people you need to set boundaries with, HOW do you do it? There are lots of ways to say no: No thanks/Not today/I wont be able to do that today/Let me get back to you once I’ve checked with X/That’s not my thing but thanks for asking/I already have plans. Which one you use is up to you. Remember initially it will feel very strange and out of your comfort zone but you know the consequences. Practice in the mirror if it helps. It will be undoing YEARS of conditioning, especially if you are a woman. Start with an easy one before tackling tougher things.

I get it, it’s really easy to say and much harder to do, especially if all your life you’ve let people walk all over you. HINT: They won’t like not being able to do that and may well react badly but this is about you. They may not like it but if you stay firm they will soon realise it’s happening or not happening as the case may be.

My favourite thing is to say ‘No I have plans’ when someone outside my circle asks me to do something I don’t want to then I lie along the couch and eat crisps. Cos that was my plan all along.

It’s okay to have time on your own but again to some folk this is the ultimate insult. If they don’t like their own company it’s the biggest insult ever that you would rather be on your own than with them.

It’s okay not to want folk popping in. I don’t like it and it doesn’t happen in my life. No one needs to see me with my trackie bottoms on and knickers drying on the radiator unless I want them to.

It’s okay not to run about after people who are perfectly able to make other arrangements. Either be busy or pretend to be busy. You don’t have to answer the phone straight away or the door for that matter or your email. Stick an auto responder on that says ‘I’ll get back to you when it suits me’ No don’t do that but you know what I mean. Try it….it could be a gamechanger.

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