The hardest part of any personnel transformation or healing journey is learning how to set and enforce effective boundaries. I get lots of feedback from people who feel guilty saying no to people, or just have no idea where to even start setting boundaries. I have learned, through many mistakes, that you do in fact teach people how to treat you. You teach them every time you don't stop a behaviour, or you turn a blind eye to a behaviour, or even worse, reinforce a behaviour that is not in alignment with your core truths. When you do not unconditionally love yourself, you tend to let people get away with treating you terribly, because you probably say much worse things about yourself in your own head. I learned the hard way, that you should never let a person get comfortable disrespecting you and the more chances you give a person to treat you badly, the less respect they will have for you.
Healthy boundaries are an expression of what your OK with, your safe place. It shows people what you will and wont tolerate in relationships. You don't owe anyone an explanation about your boundaries. It is not mean or uncaring to set boundaries, but instead shows that we are whole, rather than dependently tied to others in our relationships. This includes making yourself a priority, which means saying no sometimes without all the associated guilt. Sometimes we need to fill our own buckets, before we can help those around us.
Are you setting healthy boundaries quick check:
1. Are you treated as an equal,
2. Do you speak your truth,
3. Do you idolize close partners, and
4. Do you pull up behaviours that upset you?
The key to setting boundaries is to first learn what you truly stand for. You don't have to fight every battle, learn what your hard limits are. I realised some things (like people being aggressive) didn't actually bother me that much, but other things (cruelty to children) were a absolute no go for me. The tougher act is learning to release the guilt when you say no, or correct a behaviour you don't like. Give yourself a mantra, I used to repeat ' I am worth my weight in gold'. It would give me strength to speak up, and I just knew if I wanted to heal I had to learn to respect and care for me. Though this may sound strange, start small by practicing on strangers. I find it is harder to set new boundaries with people we have known for years, generally because they have already set their ideas about us and can sometimes not embrace the changes. Also start by setting just one new boundary, and working your way gently up. A good example would be if you have been designated the clean person, you could initially stop cleaning up after everyone, and then work your way up to discussing the sharing of all the cleaning duties. Remember setting boundaries is never aggressive or hostile, but a gentle correction of what you will and wont stand for......Good luck...x Sare