Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrate independence

Today we in the U.S. celebrate our country's independence. The subject of independence makes me think of boundaries. How good are yours?

Have you, like me, been in this place before: You complain about what a coworker or a loved one did or said to you? Perhaps that person delivered a real put-down to you, or maybe someone pushed into your turf in an inappropriate way. I've certainly been-there and done-that.

Later, when I have examined the situation more closely, I saw that there were things I could have said or done to make clear that my boundaries had been violated. In the face of a slur or a put-down, I might have said, "I don't accept people speaking to me that way. You owe me an apology." Or I could have said, "Thank you for the idea. I will certainly think about that when I make the decision about where this project needs to go next (making it clear that this is your turf and your decision)."

Even when you do set boundaries, sometimes you'll meet with the response, "Oh, you just can't take a joke. I was just kidding." Uh, yeah, I don't think so. Generally, you know intuitively what a put-down is. And there's nothing funny about it. So just hold firm. You don't have to be nasty. But you can be firm about what you will accept and what you won't. It's really about holding people accountable for what they say and do—and holding yourself accountable for what you'll accept.

Boundaries—they're as important to us as individuals as they are to countries!

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