What response do you get when you set a boundary?
When you tell someone you require a certain level of respect of your time, effort, resources, or body, how does your friend/partner/family member/coworker/boss react?
Pouting? Punishment? Revenge? Distance? Arguing? Defensiveness? Refusal? Verbal agreement without action?
I’ve learned to pay CLOSE ATTENTION to people’s behavior after I communicate a boundary. My experiences in the past have not been so great. I would be scared shitless to speak up about something that bothered me because the response was often so aggressive, passive aggressive, or abandoning. I would cower and duck, knowing what was coming. As I became willing to have my back at any cost, I willingly threw myself into these experiences. I had my back EVEN IF people got mad. EVEN IF people got vindictive. EVEN IF people abandoned me.
And then, something magical happened.
After I tenaciously held my ground and the dust settled, the relationships that remained had a very different resiliency.
Over this last year, I have had the privilege of speaking boundaries, preparing for the worst, and being pleasantly surprised by HEALTHY responses. When I set a boundary today, the people in my circle are agreeable, reasonable, and value my feelings and needs. They value my honesty and welcome me to share. They are quick to look for win win solutions. They don’t see my needs as an attack to defend.
So today, when I observe people’s behavior, I pay close attention to boundary responses. Those that fight them, take them personally, deflect, minimize, dismiss, or ignore them, have informed me they are not a fit for my space.
Do the people closest to you welcome you to set boundaries? What is your experience when you communicate a requirement to be in your presence? Let their behavior inform you their level of respect for you.
Babe, what honors you, honors everyone. ;-)