As women, society asks us to take on multiple roles: wife, mother, teacher, lover, caretaker, housekeeper, bookkeeper, chef, laundress, theologian, and beyond. The demands on our time and energy can make us feel overextended, encouraging people to walk all over us and making us feel like our voice is getting lost in the shuffle. That’s why it’s crucial to learn the all-important phrase, “I need to set boundaries” so you can let people around you know that you absolutely will not compromise on anything ever. Here’s how:
Value your own comfort.
You don’t always have to put other’s needs and desires before your own! For example, once my sorority sisters and I were hosting a 10-year reunion and they invited everyone, even Sheila McNulty. Blech. To be clear, Sheila didn’t do anything to me, I just find her slightly irritating because she’s more successful than me. Even though they were resistant, I told my Tri Delt sisters they needed to respect my boundaries by not inviting her. They responded by saying things like ‘Ugh, there goes Tiffany again,’ and ‘Why do you always do this?’ But in the end, the fact that I put my foot down resulted in a reunion without that bitch Sheila, which was way better for me! Learn from this.
Get ready to find out who your real friends are.
When you begin to set boundaries, people around you will show their true colors. I learned this lesson when I first started standing my ground in my 20s. I told a roommate that we couldn’t have any of her furniture in our new apartment because it was ugly and I had interior design boundaries I needed her to respect. At first, she said I was being a bitch, but then she was like, “Whatever, I’m so tired.” This is a real friend.
Remember: No is a full sentence.
Recently I had to drive in a car with my mother-in-law. She insisted we wear masks, but I find them to be really uncomfortable. So I told her she needed to respect my boundaries which concern my comfort over her health. When she pleaded with me to just put on the mask, I took a breath and told her politely yet firmly, “No.” She got angry, stormed off, and refused to ride with me. My husband is now threatening divorce, but I got to ride alone mask-free, so I consider it a win!
Remember ladies, you live by the rules you set for yourself. The next time you feel you are being forced to compromise, use boundary setting by uttering phrases like “No,” “Absolutely not,” and “I’m leaving unless you do exactly what I want.” You’ll see that it can change your life for the better.