Establishing limits on what you will allow from others behaviors is rarely discussed or understood much in interpersonal relationships. However, this is one of the more important subjects that needs to be understood in order for you to develop a more refined “definition of yourself” in the world as an assertive individual.
Defining Limits And Boundaries
Limits and boundaries are “lines” that we “draw in the sand” which defines how far you will allow others to go in relating to you. The problem in relationships is that many of our personal boundaries are violated, blurred, or not well defined. All this allows others to take advantage of you and violate your wants, desires and needs by imposing their own definitions of what is proper on to you.
Assertiveness & Boundaries
One of the most important things that you can learn is how to be appropriately assertive in defining what you need and how much you are willing to tolerate. Being clear about your own boundaries requires that you take the time to stop and examine how you relate to others and they relate to you.
You may be use to allowing others to take advantage of you, your time, need to be with yourself, etc. Learning to be assertive requires that you clearly draw consistent lines so that others know where they stand with you.
If you only draw lines when you have “had it” then other people will never take you seriously. They will only see you periodically explode. This allows them to blame you for your inability to control your upsets.
Being assertive does not have anything to do with aggressiveness. Assertiveness asks what is it that you want; how do you want to be represented; how do you want things to be; and respecting yourself first or you are no good to others. Assertiveness knows that “good love means saying no” when it is appropriate.
Limits & Stress Control
The more you are able to set consistent limits and boundaries, the better you will feel in the long run. Though others may continue to test, request, and complain, over time they will come to respect your ability to set the limits in clear and consistent ways. As you set the limits you will notice a clear and distinct reduction in stress problems, exhaustion, fatigue, along with improvements in your energy and health levels.
We have to get over our guilt over saying “no” when we feel that the request would violate what we have set as appropriate. The hope that if we give into others, do enough for them, and meet all of their requests, with the expectation that others will come to appreciate it and not continue to violate our boundaries, is a totally unrealistic expectation.
Other people never respect others that they can “walk over.” We only respect those people who set consistent limits, respect themselves, and feel good about themselves.
We each have to come to value ourselves, our needs and how we want to be in the world. We have to communicate clearly what your limits are with others so that others know what is expected of them. You cannot expect them to “just understand.” They, through, may resist at first. Stick to it!