Boundaries: Why it’s so hard to draw the line

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I lived most of my life not even knowing what boundaries were.

I used to get so upset at clients for texting me late at night, or texting me at all, when I had told them about online booking.

But the thing is, I also replied to their texts and would squeeze them in via text, ultimately training them to never have to book online. (Not a good way to enforce boundaries, btw!)

So while I thought I was frustrated at them, I had to take a long, hard look at myself and realize I was more frustrated with me.

You’ve probably heard it before, but we teach people how to treat us.

I didn’t get this for the longest time. Seriously, it wasn't until I started getting so frustrated with the world around me and feeling like I had no control that I realized “Wait a minute, I DO have control!”

That’s when I realized that no one else was going to set boundaries for me. If I wanted others to respect my boundaries, I had to set and respect them first.

I don't remember if it was a big “aha” moment, but I do know it came at a time in my life when I felt like things were spiralling.

Maybe I figured this out in therapy, or maybe it clicked because I was so desperate to change, or maybe after one too many 2 am texts from clients to book a cut and color appointment, I was finally able to step out from myself, gain some perspective, and realize that I could take the reins.

And I did it. It wasn't easy. At all. It rarely is.

But it’s doable, for all of us.
 

Set and Respect Your Own Boundaries

The easy part is deciding on your boundaries. It gets hard when you have to put them in place. It’s even harder to stay firm in them when you receive pushback.

You can promise yourself you won’t check email after 6 pm, but it takes resolve to let your clients know that you won’t be available in the evenings anymore, especially if they’re used to getting quick responses to their late-night emails.

It’s scary to respect your own boundaries because sometimes it means getting uncomfortable and making some people unhappy. And if you’re like me, you don’t thrive on conflict.

It might seem easier to avoid it, but that frustration and resentment you feel when your boundaries are crossed over and over...it ain't pretty. It takes a lot of self-awareness to step back and realize that YOU are the reason you are frustrated.

It's easy to blame others. That resentment and frustration feels good in the moment, because it's not your fault. You project that blame onto others at first because you don’t want to accept it yourself.

But once you own it and see you do have the power, you take the power back.

Will people like it? Probably not. At least not at first.

Creating boundaries with new people isn't easy, but it’s easier because they don't know any different. They may not like it, but unlike people you already know, they have nothing to compare it to.

People who know you will have the hardest time adjusting to your new boundaries.

Creating boundaries with existing people in your life is the real hard work. That's why I sold my house, closed up shop, and moved 6 hours away to start my life all over!  (Joking, but kinda serious…;-)

You don't owe it to anyone to explain yourself, but if you are able to, it can really help those people understand and adjust.

I can't promise it will produce the outcome you want. Not everyone will get it. Everyone is on a different path on their journey, but setting these boundaries will cast a lot of light on the relationships in your life and the people you choose to work with.

“Boundaries: Those who don't have them won't like when you set them, but set them anyway.”

It might seem easier to not have boundaries and I totally get it. You don’t cause any waves, everyone else stays happy—and that's the other thing—a lack of boundaries tends to keep everyone else happy but yourself.

And I know two things about happiness: First, you deserve to be happy. Second, your happiness is your responsibility. No one else’s. That’s why creating boundaries is up to you.

You might be used to sacrificing, maybe even victimizing yourself because you feel obligated, or that it’s the “right” or “noble” thing to do, or that there is some sort of expectation you have to maintain.

That's tough. And I get it.

But that’s not reality. In reality, your happiness and thriving makes you a better person.

In life, and in business.

And don’t you and the people in your life deserve the best version of you?

I’m giving you permission right now, to start.

Because there will never been the perfect time to start.

Your turn!

Think of an area of your business or life where you feel frustrated. Take a step back, zoom out of your life, and look for ways you can take the reins and gain control of the situation.

Comment below how you are gonna regain your power!