Throughout the years I have realized a common problem in my behavior… being too nice and never saying No!
Whether that be to a
“Hey can you give me all the answers to this assignment”
(from a classmate I haven’t heard from in months)
or even something along the lines of
“Can I move in with you for a few days… weeks… months?…”
(from a user who has no intentions on helping pay their share)
There have been times where I knew I would be too busy to do something yet would say yes anyway. I’ve even agreed to do things that I definitely didn’t want to do. I used to believe that standing my ground and saying No to things meant I was being “mean” or “rude”.
I decided to create this post to discuss BOUNDARIES and why they are so important in every aspect of your life, including relationships.
In example, I agreed to attend a wedding.
Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, I knew that the bride didn’t like me, gossiped about me, and even dissed my bridal shower gift (which I got right off of her registry by the way) Yet had still felt like I had to go and if I didn’t that’d be rude so sure enough, I said
“Yeah, I’ll be there.”
As the date began to approach, I felt anxious!
“Well maybe I should go for a little and leave early”
“If I go and say hey, take a few pictures, then leave that won’t be so bad”
Then my BOUNDARIES meter started beeping.
So here are some very important areas in your life when boundaries are important and some ways to create them!
Setting boundaries when it comes to who you associate yourself with.
We only have one life to live. The more we decide to take action and surround ourselves with healthy positive people in our lives, the better our lives will be. Whether that be a friendship, relationship, a co-worker, family member, whoever always remind yourself that you want to be around good company.
Having no company is better than BAD company.
I decided, “you know what? I’m not going to go to the wedding!” and it was a decision that I am still proud of today. I knew wasting energy, gas, and money being surrounded by someone who dislikes me wasn’t worth it.
Associating yourself with positive influences is a great boundary to create.
It makes those who aren’t in your best interest steer clear!
This also works in relationships. If your partner or someone you are dating isn’t someone who you feel you wouldn’t mind introducing to those important to you (close friends, family, your children, etc.). Same goes with friendships and even family members. If they are exhibiting behavior that you find doesn’t fit into your boundary, voice it. Let them know. If they aren’t willing to respect your boundaries then its best to rethink the situation altogether.
If you have a Talks Over You Tom as your boyfriend, a Negative Aunt Nancy or an Always Complaining Co-worker, create a boundary. If all they do is say negative things to you or complain, try shifting the conversation. With every negative, create a positive. If that doesn’t work, try distancing yourself away from them little by little.
The less you entertain their negative behavior the less they will display it!
Setting boundaries when dating
A while back I decided to go on a date at a tea shop… there were so many boundaries that weren’t respected yet I let them slide! (Bad me! I know)
- I had said I couldn’t do evenings, yet he demanded it be at 9:30PM.
- I had said I couldn’t stay too much longer after we finished our drinks, yet he insisted we chat for another HOUR outside in the parking lot.
- I had said I didn’t want to watch him smoke and that I would rather leave, yet here came his lighter.
SETTING BOUNDARIES AND STICKING TO THEM ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT
Although I SAID things my actions said otherwise.
I had SAID I couldn’t do evenings YET I MET HIM IN THE EVENING
I had SAID I couldn’t stay long, YET (thinking I would be “rude” if I just left) I STAYED.
YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING
When creating a boundary, you must be firm with your actions.
(Luckily I politely declined a second date!)
NO MEANS NO
A deadline is a deadline.
Your rules are your rules.
I’ve learned from experience that,
the second you let a boundary slide, it’ll mean nothing.
Setting boundaries in your friendship/relationship/family/situationship/workplace/whoever-ship
Before, in my abusive relationships, relationships with “friends” (using the term loosely), situations at work, and even interactions with family members I had no such thing as a boundary, not even one.
I might as well have changed my name to Doormat DoAsYouPlease.
I had no boundaries, no privacy, no opinion, no restrictions, no nothing!
This led to SO many problems.
“Yes, I’ll do this for you/buy this for you/cook this for you/take care of this for you/steal this for you/take the blame for/clean this for you/make this for you/go to this for you”… the list goes on and on… and on!
I thought that me saying “No” would be too mean, too rude, too “aggressive”. I thought that me saying how I felt was “disrespectful”. This led to me being the “doormat” and even worse, the “people pleaser”.
I started to take on projects that I couldn’t handle. I started to let people speak to me anyway that they pleased without me expressing my opinion or defending myself. I would even do things for others who didn’t have my best interests at heart and would take advantage of me.
Being ASSERTIVE doesn’t mean you are being AGGRESSIVE!
Once I started being assertive, speaking my mind, declining things that I knew I didn’t want to do/couldn’t do/didn’t have time to do/whatever the reason things started to run so much smoother. I felt self-confident! I felt in control of my words, my actions, and most importantly my life.
Start by being comfortable saying no. You don’t have to scream it in someone’s face (although you may feel like it deep down inside) but you can always politely decline.
Here are some examples:
Creating boundaries is such an important part of everyone’s life! Once you start creating boundaries you feel strong, empowered, and most importantly become one step closer in your journey to mending!
I plan to also make a YouTube video addressing this topic in further detail, giving some real-life scenarios, tips, and tricks on Creating Boundaries!
Have a great day and don’t forget… it’s okay to say no!