In my past blogs I have covered subjects related to relationships in every aspect (personally and professionally), but most of them all are related to ways to prioritize ourselves and therefore love ourselves. I have learned that setting boundaries is the best example of self-love. This is something my last therapist taught me. She made me realize that I had never or barely established boundaries in my relationships and therefore, most of the people in my life did not respect me nor truly appreciated me. I was basically a YES person! I would accept other people’s mistreatment; even though they made me feel uncomfortable. Since I know how bad it feels to be treated wrong, it is not in my nature to be conflictive in order to avoid making feel others uncomfortable. However, that approach only affected me.
When you are a YES person, who set no boundaries, people take advantage of you. People think they can tell you ANYTHING regardless of how they make you feel. How come it is OK for others to make me feel uncomfortable and it is not OK for me to speak up and express my discomfort? I don’t know if this has ever happened to you…but it is very funny to see how a person can basically insult me or disrespect me, and while I take it, they continue to be friends with me or be part of my life. However, when I have put a stop, they get offended and defensive. I came to realize that I am the only one at fault. Even though the mistreatment doesn’t come from me, I am at fault for never setting boundaries.
Setting boundaries is not an easy thing to do when you have accustomed everyone to say whatever they think they can say to you. As soon as you speak up, it will shock them, and it’ll seem like YOU are the one with a problem. Nobody really realizes that you simply had enough! Setting boundaries doesn’t have to be done in a mean way, but you must be firm in your response to other people’s disrespect. It might even hurt you, in the short term, but in the long run…people will know their limits and they will think before they speak. That is the result of teaching others how to treat you properly. They will start to respect the boundaries.
If you are a parent, like me, you know that sometimes it is painful to teach our children, but it is very necessary in order for them to learn how to behave and therefore become respectful and functional adults in the future. It is not fun to ground them. It is not fun to see them upset with you. But in the long run, they will learn self-control, respect, and consideration towards others. Letting things slide, won’t help your child become better. By nature, kids test you to see how far they can go and with how much they can get away with. The same thing applies to everyone you interact with. If you don’t establish boundaries from the beginning, later it would be difficult to do so. But guess what? It is better to set the boundaries later than never. It will be harder to make your point come across, but with consistency, you will be able to establish the necessary boundaries in order for others to respect you and not cross the line.
Professionally speaking this can also be applied. This is why companies have their set of rules and their Code of Conduct. However, we also need to be flexible…but flexibility can be a double edge sword. Because once you allow an inappropriate behaviour with one employee, the other employees will notice, and it will demoralize the entire staff. As a manager, if you are going to be flexible, you need to apply that flexibility equally to everyone. It is true that different people have different personal situations, but I am talking about behaviour and performance. For instance, if an employee is assigned to complete a task and he/she doesn’t finish it because of their lack of compromise, there must be consequences because otherwise, if you let it slide, the rest of the staff will assume that there won’t be consequences for their lack of professionalism and then it will become a problem.
It is important to establish boundaries between everyone we interact with because everyone will go as far as you allow them to. If anyone is disrespecting you, you DON’T have to allow it. You have a voice, and you should use it properly. I am not suggesting that you now go and start an argument with everyone! I am suggesting that if anyone crosses the line with their behaviour towards you, you say something to let them know that you are not in agreement with their treatment. If they think they are entitled to disrespect, diminish or mistreat you, you have to let them know that it is NOT OK. If they get mad…then that is a double standard. At the end of the day, setting boundaries is a way to let people know that you love yourself and even if you love another, you don’t have to allow them to make you feel uncomfortable.