Have your boundaries gotten fuzzy? Have you found yourself in a situation with a client, friend, or family member that makes you wonder how they ever got the impression that you were okay with that? Or even more common, you know exactly how, you said something would work for you, but it no longer does or never did.
It’s frustrating and it can lead to anger, resentment and loss. If you are feeling me on this it’s probably time for a little boundary refresh. Kind of uncomfortable but oh so worth it. I find these three easy steps work wonders when it’s time to clean up messy situations.
- Name your boundaries. Do you even know what your boundaries are? A lot of times we don’t realize what our boundaries are in a relationship – personal or business – until a situation comes up where they are tested. As soon as this happens and you realize it, take the time to write down what you know is true for you. I did this once with my coaching hours and response time because I found myself setting up calls that were tremendously inconvenient and feeling like I had to respond to clients at a moment’s notice. Defining my work hours and response time worked wonders because once I got clear, I could communicate to my clients with clarity. I can’t control when people want to meet, or when or how often they reach out to me, but I can manage their expectations of when and how I work.
- Have the uncomfortable conversation. Let’s face it. Communicating our boundaries – especially when we’ve let them slide – is deeply uncomfortable. It is hard to feel like we are letting someone down. It is hard to accept that someone might not like us or the line we’ve drawn. It is hard to feel like we are putting a relationship at risk. However, it is worth it. When we communicate our boundaries – no matter how uncomfortable – we are not only being clear and honest with the other person, we are being clear and honest with ourselves. The reason that we know our boundaries is because when someone crosses them it feels bad. A boundary only exists in relationship. As long as we allow that feeling to persist everyone in the relationship loses. When we are honest not only will we feel better we will also create the possibility for more respectful, workable, and loving situations moving forward.
- Let go of the result. Remember that communicating your boundaries is an act of self love and honesty. It’s not about changing someone else. It’s about changing the dynamic that you’ve set up with someone else and holding in your heart that whatever happens will be for the highest and best for everyone. Not easy to do but in my experience, I’ve never regretted standing up for my truth. I’ve only regretted not doing it sooner.
All and all messy situations, fuzzy boundaries, building resentments, feelings of dissatisfaction are all opportunities for growth you’ll probably be grateful for later. Here’s to handling them sooner rather than later. With kindness rather than harshness. And to speaking your truth so you can live it.