How many of you have been mistreated by a family member or significant other, and instead of apologizing to you, they just say: ‘’Oh well, that’s just who I am.’’? How many of you tolerate being disrespected? How many of you have said ‘yes’ to something that you didn’t want to do because you were afraid of confrontations?
You see, this is about self-love – or lack of it. And the first step towards loving yourself is being able to set ‘’clear boundaries’’. But how many of you actually mistake this for coming off as being “mean” towards the people around you? Setting boundaries is essential for your own self-preservation so that you can focus your energy and time in the proper areas.
For some, the idea of setting boundaries seems like an exercise in being ‘’mean’’ or “unpleasant” – and that fear reinforces the cycle that so many people find themselves in – ignoring their own boundaries and never putting themselves first. But we’re here to tell you that saying NO does not equal being mean, and it doesn’t make you a jerk. Hence, learning to say ‘no’ to others is actually a necessity in order to avoid humiliating, hurting and offending your future self. Saying ‘no’ in order to protect yourself can actually allow you to become the very best version of yourself, living yourself and valuing yourself.
I believe the sweet spot is being nice enough that other people don’t become defensive; yet aggressive enough that you feel your message is being received. But the way people respond to your respectful demands for boundaries says more about them than about you. If they understand and respect you enough then good, but if they try to make it difficult or argue with you about your feelings, please know that it is simply a reflection of their own internal world… not yours!
You only have one life, and you owe it to yourself to make it the best it can be. Commit to healthy boundaries, be honest about your intentions, and treat yourself with the dignity you deserve. That isn’t being ‘’mean’’, it’s just self-love in action. Here are a few examples of what clear boundaries can look like:
- Letting go of individuals in your life who sap your energy, or constantly make you feel disrespected or worthless.
- Saying no to going out and spending your weekend at home
- Making it clear to your bosses that you will no longer be able to work overtime for free.
- Making it clear to your partner which behaviours you will and will not tolerate in a relationship.
- Making the decision to not always drop everything you’re doing to provide counsel to a buddy who constantly calls you with a problem.
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