“When you know you are of worth, you don’t have to raise your voice, you don’t have to become rude, you don’t have to become vulgar; you just are. And you are like the sky is, as the air is, the same way water is wet. It doesn’t have to protest.” Maya Angelou
If we are setting boundaries, people won’t like us.
If we use our voices to express out loud what is and is not okay, people will want to silence us.
If we set healthy boundaries, others will think we’re bitchy or bossy.
We avoid confrontation at all costs sometimes, don’t we?
After all, as young girls (who grew into women), we were taught to be nice, to be agreeable; we most certainly were not taught to express our opinions or use our voices to express our needs or preferences.
We most certainly were not taught or encouraged to be confrontational.
One of the reasons we avoid setting boundaries is because we think it needs to be delivered with edge.
Edge looks like anger…
It sounds like sarcasm…
Edge feels like having to shove something down someone’s throat that we assume they do not want…which will never feel good.
The thought that it has to be loud or rude to get someone’s attention isn’t true. As a matter of fact, I could argue the opposite.
Have you ever seen a public speaker all of a sudden go silent for a few noticeable moments or begin to whisper in the middle of their presentation? They do that because it gets your attention. It’s an attention-grabbing technique that makes you lean into what they’re saying. The same is true for setting boundaries; sometimes a quiet but firm “No, that doesn’t work for me,” is more powerful than a loud roar.
You can choose to stand in the truth of what works for you and what does not work for you, without absorbing what you believe will be others’ reaction to that truth. Their reaction is not your business.
And while your boundaries don’t have to be force-fed to anyone, they do have to be expressed.
The people around you – even those you love – are not mind-readers. Instead of thinking that setting boundaries needs to involve edge, think of it as giving the treasure map to someone who wants to be in relationship with you, but doesn’t know the rules.