They say boundaries are a sign we care about the other, because we chose to be tough instead of abandon the relationship.
But they are often not perceived that way.
Asking for space, saying no or enacting our own terms can feel like rejection.
So what if someone doesn’t respect them?
“’No’ is a complete sentence.”
– Annie Lamott
I was/am a professional people pleaser.
Slowly I came to learn that not only am I doing myself a disservice, I am only enabling other people to treat others as doormats also. I would not only deny my needs, but forget I had any at all.
When I finally, while reluctantly, started saying no, I didn’t realise the hardest part was still to come.
At times, you have to keep saying no, keep reinforcing your boundary, keep reminding others of them.
But if people keep maliciously crossing them, and you let them, have we done anything at all?
“The only real conflict you will ever have in your life
won’t be with others, but with yourself.”
– Shannon L. Alder
If words are not enough, actions need to back them up.
Perhaps a period of space is needed, perhaps some time for healing.
It all depends on the consequences of the crossed boundaries – is our pride hurt a bit, or is our mental health truly suffering? Is this a repeated, intentional offence, or is there an aspect of the story that we’re missing?
I find it helpful to remember that everyone is trying the best they can with whatever love they have within them – however it is not our job to set ourselves on fire to keep others warm.
“Emotional self-defense… When you set healthier relationship standards in your life, some people will take it personally. That’s their issue, not yours. The distance isn’t against them; it’s for you. It’s a boundary, not a grudge.”
– Steve Maraboli
We cannot control how other people perceive us.
On the other hand, we can impact how we see ourselves.
Saying no makes me feel proud, strong and worthy of respect – most of all of myself.
When did you last have to say no, and what happened when people didn’t listen?