I was recently having a conversation with a colleague about setting boundaries. And basically how bad we were at it. Of course we laughed, but the more we talked about it, and the more I thought about, the more bothersome it became to me. This, of course, wasn’t the first time I’ve thought about this. And when I say bothersome, I don’t mean that the people that infringe on my boundaries (whether knowingly or unknowingly…) piss me off. I mean I get angry with myself for allowing it.
And I do want to stress that ‘knowingly or unknowingly’ piece. There are most definitely people in our lives that are ‘takers.’ No judgement there, most that are don’t even realize it. But there are others who only asks for your help, advice, etc. because you’ve said things like, ‘Reach out anytime!’ ‘I’m here for you if you need me!’ Now of course we mean that. But then again do we?
It’s that ‘any time’ thing for me. Yep, I’m the person that says those things. And I really do want to be there for folks, but can I commit to being there ‘anytime’ for someone? Is it healthy for me to do so? Or can I look at things on an item by item basis? For the passed couple of weeks a very dear friend is having a hard time with something. I love her dearly and am in a bit of distress that she’s so down. So literally the second I got a call asking for a favor, I dropped what I was doing. Because it meant everything to me that she reached out.
But that’s different than someone calling me in the middle of the day to complain about their boss and to get my ‘intuitive hit’ on what he or she should do. (And to all my friends right now racking their brains to see if it was them, no, it wasn’t. I was using that as an example. Or was I? LOL…) But I realized that in situations like this, I feel guilty for saying, ‘Hey, I can’t talk right now,’ or even answering a request with a simple ‘No, sorry.’ I find that I always feel like I have to make up an excuse, or explain why I can’t help them.
Here’s the thing.
No is a complete sentence.
And I’m realizing if I could just embrace that, I would begin to be able to set boundaries. After all, if I asked someone for a favor or to help me out with something, and that person said, ‘Sorry, no,’ I wouldn’t be upset at all. In fact, I’d be glad they spoke their truth. So….
I’ll do my best to be here for you. But I also might say no. Lovingly.
Live and learn with love…