Are you good at knowing when to say "Yes" and when to say "No"? Does it make a difference whether the person you're responding to is a loved one or a stranger? Maintaining personal boundaries can be a challenge. Some of us are more attuned to the wants and feelings of others and make it our goal to serve them and their needs, with little attention to what we might want or feel. Over time, that can create a bucket full of resentment and anger.
Women often are raised to think of the needs of others. In addition, we're often extremely relationship-oriented, so putting others first can come with the territory.
We need to be careful, however, and not over-extend ourselves. We need to not accept behavior that is dismissive or abusive. We need to be sure our own needs get met—at least enough of them that we aren't angry and resentful about the things we do for others.
I remember when my sons got older and after my divorce, I wondered whether I was being selfish for asking the question: What do I want now? I wasn't accustomed to thinking of what I wanted. All these years later, however, I know it isn't selfish. It's healthy to ask such a question. It's important to establish boundaries in our relationships with others. You and I need to let others know what we expect and what we will accept from them in terms of their behavior toward us. It's appropriate to let others know that we wish to be treated with dignity and respect. It's appropriate and healthy to have expectations of them just as we have expectations of how we will treat others.
Please contact me if you would like to do some coaching around the issue of boundaries. It's an extremely important topic and one that snags many of us as women. It doesn't need to remain troublesome, however.
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