If someone crosses your boundaries and disrespects your values, but you’ve never clearly set those boundaries with them, then you can’t complain.
We had a great discussion about this last night at Brojo. One of boys is dating a lawyer, and she was demanding that he give up personal information about his friend. This really frustrated the bro because he thought she was being totally unethical. We all agreed that the right thing to do was to maintain strong frame control, and not buy in to her arguments for him to disclose that sacred information.
I am constantly hearing people complaining these days about the actions of others. Yet the people complaining seem to lack the courage to talk directly to the person and give them feedback.
I’m not judging – this is hard to do. It took me YEARS to figure this out.
I used to let people metaphorically walk all over my boundaries. I would smile and laugh as if it was all good. Inside, I would be seething with frustration, believing I was hard done by and that people were selfish or disrespectful.
One day I was forced to look in the mirror (again metaphorically, though I do own a perfectly functional mirror) and I realised that the problem was me – they crossed my boundaries for one simple reason:
I let them do it.
In fact, I simply did not really know what my boundaries were. I knew when I felt disappointed, betrayed or back-stabbed. But I didn’t really connect the dots as to why I felt this way.
I let bosses order me around because I was afraid of losing my job. I let women turn me into a counselor because I was afraid of rejection. I let my rugby coach put me on the wing when I really wanted to be a flanker because I wanted to stay on the team.
All those consequences I was avoiding seemed reasonable… until the long-term guilt set in. Realising that I was allowing other people to control my life and disrespect me was far more painful than getting fired or rejected.
Don’t waste any more time making this mistake!!!
If you’re in a relationship or friendship where the other person is constantly letting you down, it’s time to assess how YOU are setting boundaries and expectations.
They cannot read your mind. They do not get or choose not to follow your passive-aggressive hints and sulking. You need to set the record straight with them. And here’s the kicker:
You must be willing to LOSE THEM.
A boundary is pointless and powerless if the other person knows that there are no consequences to breaching it.
When someone pisses you off, set the boundary with them clearly so they know without doubt the behaviour you will NOT EVER tolerate. If someone crosses a boundary you have clearly set with them already, then you need to walk away. No ultimatums or second chances. For good.
If you’re not willing to walk away, then you must accept their behaviour without complaining.
There is no middle ground in the land of the confident!
Have a great weekend
PS – Not sure HOW to set boundaries? Email me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org