Have you ever tried to set a boundary with a boss and then they convince you to do what they were asking anyway as a ‘personal favor’ to them? Yea, me too. The problem with this is that even though it is in a nicer tone, it is still violating what you don’t want to do, which is more work. Let’s give another example. You tell your son/daughter that he/she can’t be on the iPad anymore. You actually gave him/her several warnings and then when asked, he/she says, “5 more minutes mom!” You tell them no, and what do they do? Throw a tantrum. Why? Because he/she didn’t get what he/she wanted from you. You set a boundary and he/she didn’t like it.
Setting a boundary with adults is something like this. Though it may not look like a tantrum, they will try to get their way using manipulation, anger or sarcasm. But, guess what? Their feelings or how they react is not your responsibility. Nor should you ‘feel bad’ for protecting yourself. Setting boundaries is really hard, especially if you are used to just pleasing other people. Why do we do this?
Two big reasons (there are others!):
1. We are afraid we might lose something forever (a job, friendship, money etc.)
2. We are comfortable allowing others to do this because it is always how we have operated.
Setting a boundary lets others know how you would like to be treated. If you haven't been setting them, it can be difficult to know how, so you could be avoiding doing them, causing more harm to yourself in the meantime (resentment, stress, overwhelm, anxiety to name a few) So how can you set a boundary and make sure you stick to it?
Follow these steps to set yourself up for success:
1. Think about all the things that could go wrong when setting your boundary. Journal it all out, every single juicy detail. You might be surprised at all of the nasty things that you have been thinking, but it’s ok- this is how your brain works! It wants you to think negatively, but you know how to change your thoughts.
2. Next, journal all the things that could go right! Be detailed. An example might be that you would be happier, or you might actually have time to eat your lunch and enjoy it!
3. Now you are ready to word your boundary. Make it simple and easy to follow. Being nice or too wordy could confuse the message, and you want to be clear. If you want your boss to stop asking you to do extra work, say something like, “I can’t right now. Perhaps someone else can do it.”
4. Practice your boundary! THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT. Practice in front of a mirror, role-play with a friend, but say it enough times so that you are confident enough to implement it when the time comes.
5. Call in your hype squad. For real, text your friends, family or co-workers and let them know that you are doing it. Allow them to hype you up so that you have the courage to follow through.
6. Speak your boundary. Remember, the shorter the better. There is no need to explain or go into detail why you are setting this boundary. It is none of the other person’s business. Keep it quick and clear. If they start to throw an adult tantrum (see above), do not engage with them. Just stick to your practiced boundary, repeat as many times as necessary, then walk away if they are not respecting you.
7. Get help if you need it. We are always here for you girl! You can join our Monday or Thursday Group Classes at 8pm EST or book 1:1 with me and let’s make sure you are being respected all of the time, because girl, you are enough.
Book your next Girl, You Are Enough class here.