Boundaries are extremely important in all relationships we hold, from our parents to colleagues and life partners, to have healthy relationships there are a few ground rules that must be laid. Taking inspiration from Oprah’s Super Sunday in February where this topic was discussed I have put my own twist onto the advice below.
Many people struggle to live the life they want, full of positivity, support and happiness; what you should remember is that you are in charge of your happiness. Allowing negativity into your life comes from letting in negative people, negative people need strict boundaries otherwise they bleed into your positivity – when you set up these boundaries you will find the negative people will draw away and you will be left with healthy relationships that are good for you.
No is a very powerful word and one that people are afraid to use. Perhaps you don’t want to look unhelpful, or you don’t feel you have the authority – both of these are feelings you can overcome to be able to unleash the power of no. I don’t use the word ‘no’ often but when I do it is self-assured and screams to the person “I’m not going to change my mind”. Us ladies especially try to justify why we cannot complete a task or wish and this is something I am working on too….to be able to say no with no justification. To close friends and family a justification is a courtesy, but resist the urge to justify the way you live your life or whether you want to do something that doesn’t fit into someone else’s plans.
Rebuff their Negativity
It’s taken me a while to learn that when someone acts out towards you negatively it is their own problem and not yours, you can only control how you react . Negative comments are abundant and can seriously hurt but it is the person saying them that is really hurting. The root cause I usually find is jealousy, a painful memory or past hang-ups and they manifest themselves in derogatory remarks that is used to blight your happiness. The giver of these remarks is only gratified when you are hurt and they have offloaded some of their pain onto you – it’ll make them feel better for a little while until their pain gets too much again and then you are into a vicious cycle. It’s hard to teach yourself to let these negative comments slide off at first, but well worth it when you achieve it. When I am the receiver of negativity, I immediately start to go through all I know about the person to make them feel a certain way about a situation, it may be someone is celebrating a birthday feeling they are losing their youth, someone who has put on weight over the past few years or someone who was fired from a past job – it doesn’t take long to work out they are scared and hurting and projecting their insecurities onto you.
Don’t Let Them Hold the Keys
By this I mean don’t let them hold the keys to your happiness, obviously big decisions in your life need to be thought about but if you want to do something that will make you happier, healthier and wealthier then do it. You will never please everyone, and putting too much weight on their opinions will leave you confused and unfulfilled. When I left school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t achieve particularly stunning grades (discovering guys and alcohol had taken its toll) and I was working a dead end job. I was unhappy, unfulfilled and restless and to remedy this I wanted to go travelling, people’s opinions were extremely strong and not in a good way, friends and family telling me I couldn’t last travelling, that I’d be too homesick or that I would just fail at it. I am so glad their opinion made me want to go even more, not only did I have an amazing time globetrotting, I gained a career, a thirst for education I had never discovered before and an adoring husband. It made me a better person, cultured and the ability to speak to many people which is invaluable. I never let anyone hold the keys to my destiny, and nor should you. Take opinions on board and research well, but if you want to do something for you then do it, the ones that really want you to succeed will stick around to watch you achieve it.
This has been very cathartic to write this post for you, and I hope my experiences and the advice helps you to set better and more visible boundaries in your relationships. Mutual respect should be paid between all of us, only then can we all be healthy and succeed together. Let me know your own personal journeys – I’d love to hear them.