It was not too long ago I was sitting in your shoes struggling to set boundaries with important people in my life. I felt intense fear of making someone upset or being “mean”. As that resentment slowly built toward these people who were disrespecting me, my body and mind were feeling it. Let me tell you-I felt horrible! I felt tense everytime I would be around this person/people, overwhelmed, anger.. like I could not handle it anymore!
It was not until I learned the hard truth- Not everyone will like you & not everyone will respect you and your boundaries.
I say the hard truth because these were people I loved or cared about (family members even). This is what makes boundaries hard! You may be making excuses as to why you should not say anything or set a boundary. You may be telling yourself why you are wrong or worried that it may affect your relationship.
Let’s think about it this way, what would you tell a close loved one when they were contemplating setting a boundary with someone that was disrespecting them?
I might guess you said “you deserve to be treated with respect” or something of that sort
Why would we tell our loved ones something entirely different & way less harsh than we would tell ourselves?
Well fellow people pleasers- it is most likely because we want to make everyone happy!
Another important point to consider is that we are our worst critic- We are hardest on ourselves.
We also may have been taught in our family system that our feelings don’t matter (“don’t be so sensitive”) or that we need to respect others, especially people older than us.
This is where I come in as your therapist:
- You can set boundaries in a respectful way! This does not look like yelling, being rude, using a bad tone, etc. We can do this through assertive communication.
- In order to set a boundary, it is best to use an “I” statement. (If you do not know what that is, it is simply using “I feel” at the beginning of your sentence to soften what you have to say.) When we come from a “You” perspective, it can sound blamey and automatically your loved one or person you are setting a boundary with will be in attack/defense mode.
- Give the person the benefit of the doubt in that they did not know what they were doing- I know this is tough! However, most likely this is how they were treated growing up and they did not know another way to express what they need/feel. Usually this behavior is passed on through generations. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS OKAY.
- Back to my previous point- Not everyone will like you and not everyone will respect your boundaries. It is the hard truth. If someone is not willing to accept your boundary after sharing it respectfully, we cannot change that, but we can change how they show up in our life.
- YOU know yourself better than anyone else- do not let others influence the way you feel. Your feelings are always valid. It is the behavior we may have to work on in expressing how we feel or what we need.
Now go out there and set that boundary! I have faith in you & YOU DESERVE IT <3
Hi, I’m Ashley Rodriguez, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.
You can experience more fulfillment in your life and relationships! I’m here to support you.
You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Ashley