Boundaries are a word we hear thrown around a lot but what are they really and how do we set them?
Many of us are pleasers and often don't create boundaries at all, which often then leads to frustration, resentment, blaming, and acting out (aka getting bitchy and grumpy).
To set boundaries means setting yourself up for success by not agreeing to something without thinking it through (can I take this on? is this in alignment with what I want to accomplish? am I sacrificing my needs to make someone else happy? is this a hell yes or an obligation?), and then making sure you and the other parties agree in a way that keeps everyone's needs met.
First, remember that your needs ARE just as important as everyone else's. If you're not used to speaking up for your needs, practice with people that you trust and you know will stick around no matter what you say or do :)
Be honest and open about it. And remember, the truth told with love and compassion will always land.
So what happens if you didn't set boundaries? Here are a couple of scenarios and how you can recover.
Boundary Break: I didn't set any boundaries and now I feel taken advantage of or like I need to take myself out of the situation but am too afraid to speak up when I've already made a commitment/promise.
How to deal: Think about what your needs are in the situation and then know that its ok to speak up and set your boundaries/come to a new agreement mid-stream. Or even to take yourself out of the agreement entirely. Trust that, even if you fumble, the other person will hear you and want to come to a mutually agreed upon resolution. Try practicing the conversation with a coach or friend. And if the conversation doesn't go well, try again or notice that maybe that person/relationship isn't healthy for you.
Boundary Break: I set boundaries but now they're being crossed.
How to deal: First, if you find yourself blaming the other person and getting mad at them for not having listened/understood, let that go and take ownership of the situation. There is a good possibility that in trying to keep someone happy or avoid rocking the boat, your boundaries weren't clear enough. There's also a good possibility that you're right, but getting annoyed won't help. :) Reasserting yourself and drawing the line is the best course of action.
Boundary Break: I didn't set boundaries and now I realize I was grumpy with someone and feel bad.
How to deal: Own up. Communicate. Let them know you realize you were projecting or acting out because you didn't express your needs in the first place. If you need to create a new agreement, do it. Its amazing how much this opens up lines of communication in any relationship, and will actually help improve any relationship. By being the bigger person in that situation, you actually will help the other party do the same in the future.
And before you agree to something - its ok to say "let me get back to you" or "let me check my calendar". Give yourself some space to meditate on it and check in with yourself to make sure its something you want to take on.
As always, I'm here to support you all. If you want to learn more or if there's a specific situation I can help you with, let me know in the comments or PM me for one-on-one support.