Boundary Setting Rebel-Style
Boundary setting in this world can be tricky. We might feel that society expects us to be forgiving, compassionate and smiling all the time. There are inner storms inside of us, and sometimes we are asking ourselves, how the hell did this person get away with it, why do I always give and being taken advantage of? We might want to tell the world to f**k off. Here is how you can set boundaries Rebel-Style.
1. Name your boundaries:
The majority of people do not name their boundaries. Our boundaries are violated almost daily. It is essential to understand for yourself what boundaries you have. Make a list of the boundaries which are important to you and also make a list of boundaries you have problems to set or defend. Even though on an intellectual level we know that people cannot read our minds however sometimes we assume that certain boundaries are boundaries everyone has. Hence it is important to name them. Write them down, acknowledge your emotions.
2. Acknowledge your feelings and emotions:
When we interact with people, we decide to either let people overstep our boundaries or set our boundaries. Psychologists have observed two core-feelings which are present when we allow people overstep our boundaries. The core feelings are resentment or discomfort. Resentment arises when we feel guilty that we put our boundary above someone else’s. Usually, this is when we go far beyond our limits and ignore this inner rebel-voice who is telling us to bluntly tell others what we do not like and what we want. Maybe it is the boss who is always asking for extra work or overtime, and we fear the consequences if we do set boundaries. In your gut, you know what you want, but you suppress these emotions and very likely try to look calm on the outside, but a massive storm is brewing on the inside. Boundary setting takes practice.
3. Allow yourself to be heard:
Guilt, fear, and self-doubt are the main reasons why we let people overstep our boundaries. We might want to be a good friend, partner, child, parent and we trade our boundaries in into feeling loved, respected or acknowledged. It might be the fear of losing a loved one or a job. Boundary setting is an essential part of a healthy relationship. With relationships, I mean relationships with colleagues, the boss, your friends, your family, etc. It is a vital part to gain respect and self-confidence. Permit yourself to say “No, ” or in some cases, a no f*cking way is appropriate too ;-). Understand that setting boundaries will not only affect people around you but will also increase your levels of confidence dramatically.
4. Be clear and direct and learn in small steps:
In some occasions, we have to be straightforward with people when they overstep or violate our boundaries. It might be the most challenging part for people, be gentle with yourself, learn to set boundaries with smaller things or situations. But definitely, practice this on a daily basis. You will find once you started with smaller boundary setting that the bigger once are far easier to set.
5. Self-care and boundary setting:
Putting yourself first and permitting yourself to say “No” is vital. Nobody benefits if you get sick or are exhausted. Take your wellbeing seriously. A good indicator is what makes you happy or unhappy. Self-care is an essential part of your mental and physical wellbeing.
6. Understand what benefits are in overstepping boundaries:
We often only see that the person who violates our boundary is the one that gains something out of it. In all honesty and I know a lot of people do not like to hear this, but the person who lets people overstep boundaries is benefitting from this, too. How can this be? People keep smiling and do not do boundary setting because they want to have peace or do not want an argument. Maybe you feel if you let someone overstep your boundary, which you might get the promotion or the relationship you yearn for. The mind can play tricks on us in the way that we think if we keep quiet it will be for our benefit only to find out that the colleague who is a bit of a rebel got the promotion because he thought “outside the box.” Understand what you believe your benefits are in letting people overstep your boundary. It could be avoiding an argument, feeling loved, feeling needed, receiving a promotion. Explore these feelings! Do they maybe stem from childhood (Rules of Living )which are first implemented by our parents and significant others like friends, teachers, other family members)? Be assertive and explore the reason why you do this and what you predict would happen when you set boundaries.
7. Forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself:
Understand that boundary setting is taking practice, start with smaller boundary settings which are not threatening you. See it like a muscle you train and train it mindfully every day in small steps.