Setting boundaries with friends, loved ones, even clients or patients in business can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. Why is that? If you are like me, you may be a people pleaser. You want to make everyone happy and not rock the boat so to speak. The problem with that is, again, if you are like me, it is usually at my expense or happiness. They may like me, but I don't like me when I feel taken advantage of or like a spinless jellyfish. A lot of us suffer from the "disease to please" mindset.
Family seems to be the hardest to set boundaries with for me. They are my family, I want to see them succeed, have a good life and not have any hardships. However, that isn't my job. It has taken me a long time to realize this. Even with my children. It is my job to guide my children, to teach them how to make their own decisions, to grow up and live a healthy, happy and prosperous life. Not to make all of their decisions for them.
We need to set our boundaries, express them, then decide what we are going to do about it if they are crossed. It seems the people who have the hardest time with us setting boundaries are the ones who are benefiting from us not having any. They are usually the ones who are knowingly, or maybe not so intentionally taking advantage.
We all know about natural consequences, right? You know, when you do something even though you know it wasn't the best choice and have to live with those consequences. I am trying to teach my younger children this, within reason. I won't allow them to knowingly do something dangerous but if I know they aren't going to get badly hurt, I allow them to make their own decisions in different situations. I'll give you an example. My 11 yo insists on wearing shorts to school, even in our winters when it's below zero. He wears the long shorts with knee high socks so most of his legs are covered. It's cold here in the winter but he insists. So, instead of fighting with him about it, I allow it. It didn't take him long to figure out that he was cold and it was too hard to go out for recess with no pants. Now, he will either bring sweatpants and wear them over the shorts when he goes outside at all or he will wear a pair of compression leggings on under the shorts. This is living by a natural consequence. You think going without pants in winter is a good idea until you do it, then you rethink your strategy because it isn't.
We need to start doing that more with the people we share out lives with. It isn't our job to live their lives for them or make their decisions. If they choose to go against our advice and do something that blows up in their faces, it's on them to fix it. We don't