All Articles Tagged "overstepping boundaries"
I was never able to figure out what it was about me that made people feel so comfortable. It took me awhile to successfully put my finger on the reason why people I barely knew felt comfortable enough to ask me to borrow money. It never clicked why people I sort of knew felt like it was cool to ask personal questions such as how much I make or invite themselves over to my home. I couldn’t understand why men I simply knew as acquaintances felt like it was cool to inappropriately comment on my figure. I used to foolishly credit this out of line behavior to my personality; I’m a pretty friendly person. But, after years and years of tolerating this disturbing behavior, it finally hit me that this was abnormal. I realized that I never really set personal boundaries with people, which is why they constantly overstepped them.
Personal boundaries are defined as the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They are important and absolutely necessary to the maintenance of your well-being and the upkeep of healthy relationships whether they be romantic relationships, familial relationships, friendships, office relationships and any other category of relationships that you can think of. Boundaries ultimately determine how much you are willing to give and how much you are willing to tolerate and accept from those around you. People who do carry on relationships without putting these personal guidelines in place are frequently uncomfortable and often offended by those around them, but they don’t say or do much about it. This struggle often stems from underlying feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness.
So, how do you know if you have issues setting personal boundaries? Do you feel as if you are being mean when you have to say no to people? Do you struggle with saying no? Are you always reluctant to let people know when they’ve offended you? Do you consistently allow people to make you feel uncomfortable? These are all signs that can be indicative of boundary issues.
Discovering that you have a problem is half of the battle. Many people will realize that they struggle with setting personal boundaries but are unsure of how to or if it is even possible to make a change. The good news is that as long as you have breath in your body, change is possible. The even better news is that this change can begin today because it starts within. One of the first steps towards setting healthy boundaries is having a conversation with yourself. Recognize what makes you uncomfortable. Realize that you have the right to guard your body and your emotions from being invaded by others. Acknowledge how much you can and are willing to take from other people. Accept that fact that it is impossible to please everyone and that sometimes in order for you to be happy you will have to learn the word “no.” Once you’ve established these boundaries from within, it is time to carry them out externally. Comprehend what is being asked of you and how you will be affected before agreeing to do anything. Become more comfortable using the words “I feel,” “I want,” “I won’t,” “I dislike when,” and “I can’t” when speaking to people. Know that people who genuinely care about you won’t be offended by your boundaries. It may take them some time to adjust to them, but they certainly will not be opposed to them. Practice expressing your feelings to others calmly and gracefully. And of course, prepare to walk away from those who can’t respect the healthy boundaries that you’ve set; everyone won’t be happy about the changes you are making to better yourself.
The key to keeping these boundaries is to remain consistent. Putting personal boundaries in place can be a very uncomfortable process but it will certainly improve your quality of life if you stick with it. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the reactions of others; be direct and stand your ground. The more you practice these habits, the more assertive you will become.
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Last week was a very big week for me. One of my sisters, who had been living overseas for two years, was moving back to the states. I was going to finally meet one of my nephews, and it was time for all of us to be together again. So we all decided to stay at our parents’ house; kids, husbands, and all, so we could hang out anytime we decided to. However, my daughter, who is used to only being around me, was so excited to be around all the other company that the first night she had a problem going to sleep. By two o’clock that morning, I was exhausted, my head was hurting, and all I wanted was for her to go to sleep. I brought her downstairs to try to give her something to help her sleep, and that’s when my irritation level began to skyrocket.
A certain family member, who had the BEST intentions in the world, I do understand that, started getting in my face and my daughter’s face and started dictating to me about what I should do to help my daughter go to sleep. Now, I appreciate tips, especially from people who have been mothers before me, but the way she was doing it was just… so intrusive. One of my brother-in-laws, and my sister became quiet because they could see the frustration in me rise, like mercury in a thermometer on a hot day. Wanting to yell at “helpful family member” to get the (expletive) out of my face, I held it in, and excused myself to the office, were I sat down for a second, calmed myself down and then returned to the task of getting my daughter back to sleep.
Like I said before, I completely understand that she was trying to be helpful, but there’s a way to do it. When someone is frustrated, tired, and already visibly upset, getting (literally) 3 inches in their face, and trying to explain what they’re doing wrong, and then talking over them after you ask them a question is really asking to have that person blow up on you.
Now, I take criticism very well, and I always wondered if this is the reason why certain people in my family give me answers to questions that I never asked them. But, being the human that I am, I’m going to need some people to realize the times that they need to fall back and give a person some space. In case you’re one of these people, here are a few helpful hint.
You might be overstepping your boundaries if…
When you ask a person a question, and while they’re trying to answer and you start talking over them. – Why even ask the question if you don’t want to hear that person’s answers?
When you dictate what they should be doing. – No one wants to feel like they’re being dictated to. We know that you have good intentions but sometimes it’s better to offer advice (“hey, I think I know something that might help, do you mind?”) than to just force it on people (Do this!).
When nothing in your criticism is constructive. – If all you’re doing is telling a person what they’re doing wrong, but not offering a way to fix the problem, you’re bound to get the side-eye… maybe more, depending on how close on the edge the person you’re talking to is.
Signs the person is giving you that you’re treading close to getting snapped on:
When you’re talking to them, and they give you their profile.
According to body language experts, when a person is angry, annoyed or about to become hostile, they’ll give a person who is talking to them their side profile. It’s a physical way of shutting that person off.
They avoid giving you eye contact when you’re talking to them
Eye contact is a friendly gesture; one that lets people who are talking to you know, “hey, I’m listening to you, and I appreciate that dribble that’s coming out of your mouth. Please continue.” If you’re talking and the person is staring intently in a different direction, please just stop.
The audible sigh
Apparently, you haven’t gotten the hint with the profile and lack of eye contact, so this person is going to try to make it a little more clear that they don’t want to hear what you have to say. Sighing loud enough so that the person hears you is their way of playing the music that plays at the end of the Oscar speech. Get to the point or get on.
There’s a phrase “the quiet before the storm” that pops in my head when I’m very agitated and I realized that I’ve gotten extremely quiet. That’s the same phrase that should pop in your head too. People, when you’re on their last nerve, will get real quiet, and usually, where that silence ends is where yelling begins. Just letting you know.
Kendra Koger appreciates the love and the criticism. Share it on her twitter @kkoger.
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