INTRODUCTIONBIOSELECTIONS: LIMERENCE100 THINGS AND COUNTINGA WEEK WITHOUT LYINGACTING MY WAY TO HAPPINESSANCIENT WISDOM BEHIND NEW AGE THINKINGBE YOUR OWN ORACLE PART 1 OF 2BE YOUR OWN ORACLE PART 1A OF 2BE YOUR OWN ORACLE PART 2BEWARE THE CUDDLE DRUGBRINGING YOUR BEST DISHDOES SAYING NO MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON PART 2 OF 3DOES SAYING NO MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON? PART 1 OF 3DOES SAYING NO MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON? PART 3 OF 3EMOTIONAL CHEATING PART 1EMOTIONAL CHEATING PART 2FANTASY AS FOREPLAYHERE WE GO AGAINI AM NOT MY FACEI ASK TO RECEIVEIF I WERE A STREET SWEEPERIT'S 2012: TRY SOMETHING NEWSOLUTIONS FOR THE OVER-THINKERTHE MESSAGES WE SENDTO STAY OR TO WALK AWAYWHY DOESN'T HE CALLWHY WAIT?MORE: LIVING
DOES SAYING NO MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON PART 2 OF 3
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In the last article, I talked about the importance of standing up for yourself and protecting personal boundaries. In this article, I cover the steps.
It would be ideal if you didn't have to defend your boundaries in the first place -- if everyone respected them without prompting. Unfortunately, that's often unrealistic.
If you are ready to stand up for what you want, consider the following:
- Stop focusing on why you have to do the work, rather than the person violating your boundaries. The person with the greatest dissatisfaction must initiate change. Why? Because most of us don't change behaviors, relationships, or habits unless we have a compelling reason. Since you are most likely unhappy that someone is violating your boundaries, you have the greatest motivation to create something new. Therefore, the burden to create change falls on you. Lament human nature - but don't let that stop you from protecting yourself.
- Identify when someone is violating your boundaries. Some boundaries are clear such as what food you'll eat and if you'll lend money. It's easy to identify when someone encroaches on them. Others reside in grey areas and therefore breaches are more difficult to identify. For instance, when does a boss's harmless flirtation turn into a full-blown boundary violation or sexual harassment? How do you know when an acceptable behavior suddenly turns bad? You may not know intellectually, but your body knows the instant the line is crossed. The best way to identify a boundary violation is to listen to your body's signals. You may suddenly feel anxious or your heart races or you just feel uncomfortable. Your body sounds the alarm indicating you are in harm's way. Don't ignore it, don't discount it, and don't excuse it away. Be aware, and get ready to defend yourself.
- Defend your boundaries. It's your responsibility to let people know how you feel. Subtlety won't work. Don't justify or over-explain. Speak your mind and don't back down. If you are like most people, you may not think well on your feet. To combat that, have boundary protective phrases prepared. For instance:
- I won't discuss religion, sex, occupy wall street and so on.
- I'm not dating right now, please don't ask again.
- I'm very busy and won't commit to that.
- I don't lend money - please don't ask again - I will just give you the same answer.
- I'm not going to justify my feelings - this is how I feel. It won't change.
- I 'm not comfortable with this conversation so I'm ending it.
- I'm sure you can out-debate me, but this is how I feel.
- I said no and I'm not changing my mind, so don't ask again.
- Stay the course. By nature, boundary violators are tough. They don't usually take no for an answer. You'll have to repeat yourself. Say your phrase as often as needed or extricate yourself from the situation. Removing yourself from harm's way can be as simple as excusing yourself to the restroom or making a phone call. Try anything to give yourself a moment to think or to just leave.
- Don't give up. None of us are perfect. Think two-steps forward-one-step-back. There will be times when the violation happens so quickly that you don't have time to react. Boundary encroachers can be sneaky. There will be other times when you don't have the strength to keep fighting or you just want to keep the peace so you give in. That's okay. It happens. Try not to feel too badly. You'll demonstrate your boundaries the next time around. And, there will always be a next time. However, ask yourself if you are dealing with a person who will push you to the point where you feel you cannot stand up for yourself. If this is the case, decide if this is a safe circumstance or relationship to be in.
You'll find the words that feel right to you. Preserving your boundaries, at least in the beginning is hard work. Ultimately, there are great payoffs.
After a while preserving your boundaries becomes second nature. You feel safer in the world. You feel powerful because you are in charge of your emotional safety, not someone else. When you feel safe you are more open, more accessible, and you are able to experience greater connections with healthier people. You are also able to feel compassion for those who may act like emotional bullies rather than feeling like a victim of them. Most important, you feel less anxious and better all around.
Check in next week for the final installment to find out (heaven forbid) if you are a boundary violator!
© 2011 Shira Block, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED