by Rossana Snee
There are some people who are quite etiquette-savvy. They know how to set a perfect table—the dishes, the glasses, and the multiple utensils. There are, however, some settings that are even more important—the Setting of Boundaries.
Boundaries are considered to be a dividing line, a protective shield between what you will, or won’t do, accept or not accept. There are many people with little or no boundaries. They think that by setting boundaries they’re being selfish, mean, or self-centered. That’s not necessarily so. Here’s an example . . .
Let’s suppose you have a friend who is chronically late to everything. You’re always waiting for this friend, and on occasion, have missed the event to which you were going. This is quite upsetting to you since you strive for punctuality. So how would you set a boundary in a situation like this? Simple. You tell your friend, “We’re leaving at 2:00 p.m. If you’re not here, I’m leaving without you.” You might think this is harsh, but it really isn’t. You are just expressing your truth. Being late once in a while is not what I’m talking about; it’s the chronic lateness.
Here are some tips to help you set those boundaries (PANKIE):
1. Pay Attention to your feelings. Maybe you’ve been asked to babysit every weekend and you’d rather do something else for a change. If you feel resentful, there’s a reason.
2. Notice what boundaries have been crossed. In the above example, you’re always waiting around, and forced to be late when you strive to be punctual.
3. Know how important boundary setting is. Don’t allow someone to take advantage of your kindness and/or good nature.
4. Ignore the backlash. When you set a boundary and stick to it, someone’s not going to be happy. They may try to make you feel guilty. Don’t!
5. Express yourself to the person. “Hey, I don’t mind babysitting every once in a while, but not every weekend; I have other things I’d like to do.”
When you set boundaries you’re taking a personal stand; it’s a way to protect yourself. Remember, it doesn’t mean you’re being selfish or cruel.
It might be important to eat your salad with the correct fork, but it’s also important to have a mental set of guidelines that protect you from others abusing you—your time, your services, and your kindness.
As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I have worked with individuals, couples, and families. My present focus, however, is working with young women in their 20s, specifically 21 – 26. I facilitate a monthly group called An Afternoon With Josh’s Mom, whereby I guide, empower, and promote self-love. My goal is to provide these young women with the guidance to make decisions in their best interest.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?