Were you ever bullied as a child? If so, it could be something that you carry with you into your adult years. You may yield to those who bark louder, so to speak. But, there are times when you need to stand your ground. These are the times to be daring and stand up to others.
You may feel like you are an easygoing person. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you are a person who would defer to others because you don’t want to make waves, this can be okay, in the right circumstances. But, if you do this all the time, you eventually will get trampled on with more important issues.
You do need to pick your battles. If you become a strong person in your group, you run the risk of becoming bully-like yourself. In fact, this is something that can happen when people stand up to others for the first time. They take on the strong-willed persona and become that person they used to fear. The key is to be strong when it’s important and let the little stuff go by.
Also, let others have some wins. This shows strength and leadership. You will win people to your way of thinking as they won’t feel threatened by your presence. When you show your willingness to cede to them, you can develop a great working relationship going forward.
When you do take a stand, make sure that you do it respectfully. If you don’t, you risk losing respect from everyone around and not just the person you are going up against. Whenever possible, try to find an arrangement where both you and the other party wins. The person will see that they can’t take advantage of you, while at the same time, they don’t lose out in the interaction.
Not everyone will take your newfound strength well. That’s okay. As long as you do everything you can to try and work with them, you will be the bigger person. He or she may have issues with you, but at least they know you aren’t willing to back down on the bigger issues. You also will find people need time and may come around after a while. Your relationship won’t be the same, but that could be for the best.
Try to keep the anger out of the picture because it makes people react in ways they later regret. It’s okay to be firm when dealing with others, but there’s no reason to elevate the situation to the point where you start getting personal.
On Personal Boundaries
You have boundaries, but they don’t seem to be working. You still feel like people are taking unfair advantage of you. Your self-esteem is taking constant hits, and the criticism is unending. What gives?
Chances are you need to take a hard look at your boundaries. Perhaps the ones that used to work, don’t anymore because you aren’t the same person. Or it’s time for a tune-up so that you can not only strengthen the boundaries you have but make them healthier at the same time.
What are some warning signs that your boundaries need work?
- When someone bullies you, and you stay silent.
- You agree to things you don’t agree with (such as political opinions) to avoid ‘rocking the boat.’
- You suffer from guilt anytime you do something for you.
- You feel invisible.
- You constantly say ‘yes’ even when you want to say ‘no’ when people ask you to do things.
- You’re the one who does all the giving in your relationships.
- You give people your time who don’t deserve it.
- When someone is in your personal space, you don’t say anything, despite how uncomfortable you feel.
- You don’t speak up when the joke isn’t funny – and it’s at your expense.
- People bully you, but you do nothing about it.
- You’re always playing the victim.
- People take you for granted.
- You worry all the time about what people think of you.
- When someone tells you to ‘do something for yourself’ you have no idea what to do.
- You over-share when talking to others about yourself.
- You take on other people’s guilt as though that will absolve them somehow.
- You’re in a career that was chosen for you, rather than in one that you want to do (such as working in a family business you had no desire to be part of).
- You don’t speak up when someone touches you physically even though you don’t want to be touched.
- You wind up in relationships with controlling individuals.
- You see yourself as the ‘sacrifice.’
- You feel like people won’t like you if you don’t do things for them.
- You use actions as currency with people by doing things in hopes that they will someday do something for you in return (that day never comes, does it?)
- You tend to manipulate people to get your needs met
- Reading this list is making you uncomfortable because you’ve already recognized more than one thing on it that sounds like you.
It’s a daunting list. The good news is, there is room for you to change. Remember, boundaries are always a good idea. Making sure that the boundaries are healthy is crucial to your development into the individual you’ve always been meant to become. By checking your boundaries periodically, you will likely see places that need work. But you’ll also see where you can do things to keep them strong and healthy enough to serve you going forward. It might seem like a lot of effort on your part, but in the end, don’t you think you’re worth it? With that in mind, it’s time to get down to work. You’ve got this!