It’s important to have boundaries for yourself and just as important that you stay firm in them. I am the world’s worst about allowing people to cross those boundaries both in my personal and professional life. I am a natural people pleaser and honestly will allow people to walk all over me.
In my professional life as a blogger early on, I once had a client tell me they wouldn’t be paying my rates but something else so low that it honestly wasn’t even minimum wage when you worked it out. I simply accepted it and then they gave me a list of demands and work they wanted me to accomplish.
A few things happened when after that particular client, first I cried for three hours. They were horrible to work with. Always wanted more but didn’t want to pay anything extra for all of the extra services. Next, I began using contracts for the first time with every single client. Prior to that I only used them for large contract clients. Now, if we’re working together we have a contract. Finally, I began to stick to my guns about my rates. I am always willing to negotiate but I won’t sell myself short.
It’s Okay to Say No
Doing that has saved me a lot of heartaches in my professional life. It’s my personal life where I have the biggest issues now. Learning to say no and not feel guilty over it has been something that I have and still struggle with.
In fact, just last night I was reeling over telling my mother that I didn’t want or need her help. She ended up making me feel horrible about myself and the fact that she was only trying to help and I refused to allow her. None of that is true. I simply knew I could do it on my own without her help. I wanted (and needed) it to go a certain way. However by exerting my boundary she felt put out. She didn’t get her way and it made her mad.
It’s Not Your Fault
The reaction someone has when you stay firm in your boundary is not your fault. Let me say that again… their reaction is not your fault. It’s not and no matter how guilty you feel or they attempt to make you feel you must learn to let it slide off you. You have a boundary and didn’t cross it. It’s that simple, you stood up for your belief system or what you wanted. It is more than perfectly okay to do that. I have to remind myself that I am justified in saying no, that I can say this is the line I don’t want to cross. This is what I am comfortable with or what I want.
People pleasing is the one thing that has caused me so many problems. I spent years making everyone else happy to the point of not recognizing myself. I allowed me to be so entangled with someone else’s happiness. It’s one of those habits that are hard to break but not for lack of trying. Someone told me recently that I had become a hard person. I never just went along with the group anymore.
I didn’t make things easy the way I used to. At first I was horrified that anyone would think that of me. Then I realized that she had told me that because I didn’t sign up for all of the committees and do all of the work that no one else wanted to do. It used to be that I would work my butt of for whatever it was and someone else got the credit.
I wasn’t doing all of the cooking for our church function while other people took the credit. I wasn’t volunteering to do the weekly cleaning and then being the only person who showed up or stayed to do it I ended up doing a lot of the cleaning by myself because some of the other women had appointments they forgot or whatever. I allowed people to put me in that position.
Now, I will just not volunteer all the time. I volunteer twice a month for that and let others do it the rest of the month. I have discovered that my time is as important as anyone else’s. The woman who told me that was just upset that I wasn’t making her life easier. I was making my own a little lighter and easier. Some people may say that is selfish but trust me when I tell you before I was on every single committee, group, board, whatever there was. I had so many meetings each day that I was left confused which notes were for which group.
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Staying firm in your boundaries is something we all need to practice. Yes, it may hurt other people’s feelings. While that is something to consider we have to consider what we lose each time we allow someone to cross our boundary. Each time we lose a little piece of ourselves. We lose a little bit of our own self-respect.
DO YOU HAVE NEED TO STAY FIRM IN YOUR BOUNDARIES? IS IT SOMETHING YOU ARE ALREADY GOOD AT? HAVE ANY TIPS FOR US? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH US IN THE COMMENTS PLEASE.