We’ve all experienced moments in our life where we feel our boundaries have been pushed. When someone pushes our boundaries, we can be left reeling, confused, hurt and sometimes angry and resentful.
One of the biggest ways I see boundaries being pushed with my clients, is when they feel obligated to say “yes” to someone (whether it’s a colleague, friend or family member, or sometimes even a stranger), when what they really mean is a compassionate “no”.
Before we can look at what you can do next time sometime crosses or pushes your boundaries, let’s look at what a boundary is:
What is a boundary?
A boundary is anything that marks a limit or a line that you feel shouldn’t be stepped over.
Sometimes we’re not even aware of where these lines are drawn, until someone crosses them.
When someone crosses the line with you, you may feel resentful, angry, teary, hurt, sad or just annoyed.
When people push your boundaries, what do you do?
You may find you feel as if your buttons are being pushed, or people are walking all over you, or you feel constantly pressured to say “yes” to everyone and everything… and it can feel really icky and uncomfortable… and really confronting too.
All of a sudden, you will be faced with decisions like: where is MY line? How can I let people know they have crossed it, and how can I prevent them from crossing it again? Is it even OK for me to ask them to take a step back? Will they still love / accept / acknowledge / respect me?
Here’s the truth: We teach people how to treat us, and how to communicate with us.
Most importantly, we can always choose where our energy goes.
Energetically speaking, you do have a choice in how people treat you.
You can set your own boundaries firmly and lovingly.
You do deserve to be respected and treated in a way that feels good to you.
Setting boundaries will improve your life, and how you feel about yourself.
Here’s a few things to do when someone is pushing your boundaries:
1. Tell them it’s not OK
Be honest in a gentle and kind way, but tell them you don’t feel good about XYZ and that you’re going to take a step back or make a change. Make it about how you’re feeling, so you don’t point any fingers or blame anyone else.
2. Listen to your intuition before anything else
Especially if you’re confused about how to act in this situation. This means you don’t need to react; you can calmly feel into what’s the best option here. Is it to walk away? Is it to stand your ground? For me, it’s usually that I need to stand my ground. Listen to what your intuition is telling you.
3. Realise this isn’t about you at all
Sometimes people push our boundaries because they simply don’t know how else to act. They may be acting out of fear, or lack or a scarcity mindset, but their “stuff” doesn’t need to become your “stuff”.
4. Be positive and compassionately stand your ground
For people who are very empathetic and sensitive it can be really hard to stand your ground when someone is pushing your boundaries. You may feel like you owe them something or that you’re just helping them, but you can’t see how this may be affecting you. This can take a little work but often simply making the decision to not take others’ ‘stuff’ on board can be helpful.
5. Leave the situation and just walk away
Do it with kindness and compassion and generosity of spirit.
6. Know that ultimately, you can do what makes you happy
What works for you and what feels right in your heart. You DO know the answer.
Do you feel like you get pushed around often?
What needs to change for you to respect your own boundaries?
What would life look like if you respected your own boundaries?