Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten came when I was 25. I had just gotten married and my new mother-in-law told me this: she said the way that you allow him to treat you now is how he will always treat you.
Read that again. The way that you allow him to treat you now is how he will always treat you.
Best advice ever. It applies to EVERY relationship that you have. Dr Phil said it a different way:
It’s the same concept, and it has to do with boundaries. If the word boundaries doesn’t make sense to you, think of it as guidelines or rules for how you want to live your life and be treated by others. If you allow other people to speak badly to you, then that is what they will do. On the other hand, if you set rules for how you are to be spoken to, people will generally follow your guidelines. You have all of the power when it comes to how people treat you! Teach them. Show them what you deserve.
We’ve all witnessed this scenario. A volunteer is needed, and the same person is always asked to complete the task. This person will complete the task but maybe somewhat reluctantly or begrudgingly. They experience burn out and may complain to others asking why they always have to be the one to do it. Why? Because they haven’t set boundaries. The people asking know that they will accept the task. If you are this person, just say no if you don’t want to do it. Someone else will step up. Nobody is going to be angry and dislike you because of it. And if they do, then they don’t respect you as a person. Is that really the kind of person (people) that you want to be around?? I would hope not.
Boundaries are tied to your self esteem, your self worth. If you have clear and appropriate boundaries, you will have the respect you deserve. People won’t run over you or take you for granted or take advantage of you. Set your limits for what is important to you and then teach people how you want to be treated and how you should be treated. This will be hard for people pleasers because you think your self worth, your validation comes from others. But this is draining and it zaps your energy both physically and emotionally. Setting boundaries is a form of self care!
Sit down and make a list of areas where you think you can improve on setting boundaries. Is it at work? a relationship? family? friends? at home? Now choose 1-2 from your list. How can you set a boundary for the area(s) you have chosen? Here’s an example: With the pandemic and many of us working from home, it could be as simple as setting “office hours”. This way your kids, partner, spouse, or roommates know that this is a time for you to work and not be bothered. Easy, right? Then here’s the hard part: STICK TO IT! Be consistent. If you have set office hours, then that’s when you work. No exceptions unless there is an emergency. Just like if you were at the office. If you say no to volunteering, then stick to no. Do not be guilted into doing something that you don’t want to do. Remember you have the power in the situation. Do not allow that to be taken away from you through manipulation.
Setting boundaries is a good thing, and you have probably done this to a certain extent without even knowing it. But there may be areas in your life that require some work. Write it down and break it into small chunks. This is something that you can do and will thank yourself for later on.
Until next time,