shine day 29: spark your self-acceptance by creating boundaries

Yesterday, we talked about how the comments that are made to us are actually never really about us.  Today, we are taking that concept a bit further.

Oftentimes, perhaps unintentionally, our loved ones or people we know will begin to project their stuff onto us.  And then that round of comments becomes a predictable storyline.  We think, “ah, hell, I don’t want to go home for Thanksgiving because Aunt Edna is going to lament yet again that it is such a shame that I am not married yet”  (meanwhile, Aunt Edna just wrapped her fifth divorce– see, totally her stuff, I tell you!).

And you are right to think that Aunt Edna is going to say something to you because, well, that’s what Aunt Edna does and no one has ever told her that that wasn’t okay.

Until now.

Oops.  I think your stomach might have just flip-flopped.  I promise it is going to be okay.

The thing about people who make inappropriate comments is that they just don’t know they are inappropriate (or this is what I am telling myself) and they can’t know it until someone teaches them.  And so it is on you, dear one.  As much as you want your mom, dad, sister, brother, niece, nephew, someone else to stand up for you, it is up to you.  You are the one who has to teach people how to treat you.  You are the one that has to set boundaries.  But here is the good news.  Notice I said boundaries not chasms.  I just want you to give Aunt Edna just a little bit of gentle push back not a big ole shove that will leave Aunt Edna in the bathroom crying.

Today:  Consider the sometimes biting remarks you hear from other people that really just reflect their own stuff (revisit yesterday’s list).  Now, I want you to consider a suitable comeback to each one of them that sets a boundary with that person that says, “This isn’t an okay conversation to be having” but doesn’t alienate the relationship (because, let’s face it, these comments often come from people we have to continue to see in some context– a co-worker, sibling, in-law, etc.).  Write a comeback for each remark.

Here are some examples that might help you (or that you are welcome to use).

This isn’t an appropriate conversation to have.  I am not mad at you, but I am getting off the phone.

I am actually quite happy with my life right now.  I am sorry that you aren’t.  (or I wish that you would be).

I like my body.  Fortunately for both of us, I am the one who most needs to be happy with it.

Now, periodically practice your comebacks so you are prepared to use your boundary setting language

1.  What is your favorite boundary setting language?

2.  How did it feel to consider setting boundaries with others?

3.  What more do you need to be prepared to teach people how to treat you?

Remember your comment here about your completion of this challenge enters you into the giveaways for great prizes!

Excited about this journey?  Want more?  Pick up Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance for a year long plan and guidance.

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5 responses to “shine day 29: spark your self-acceptance by creating boundaries”

  1. Cecile

    Rosie, I had a good laugh at your examples, they are great!

    My boundaries sound like “Thanks for the advice, but I prefer to do it that way”, and the one that I didn’t have to tell so far, but is always in my mind: “That’s OK if you don’t understand”. This little sentence from Beautiful You was a real eye opener to me! Just keeping it in mind gives myself enough self-confidence to dare and set boundaries.

    It’s the occasion to thank you for it: To me, just these few words make Beautiful You more than worth the book’s weight in Gold! And there’s so much more in your book! Thanks again!

  2. Susannah

    1. What is your favorite boundary setting language?

    I ask questions. ‘Why are you asking me this?’ ‘Is it OK with you if I don’t follow your advice? You see, I am quite happy to do it this way.’ Things like that.

    2. How did it feel to consider setting boundaries with others?

    Great, I have been doing it a lot more than before, but it does need some more work. I tend to be alright in the conversation, and then I’m upset afterwards, even though I do set boundaries.

    3. What more do you need to be prepared to teach people how to treat you?

    I think I probably need to care less about what people think about some things.

  3. Valerie

    I have never been comfortable standing up for myself and setting boundaries. I have had this problem since I was a little girl; and even now, in my fifties, I don’t have this skill. This post, however, has helped me realize it is okay, finally, to learn the process of setting boundaries and then not caring so much what others think. For me this is the hard part…I care so much about what others think.

  4. Ann Becker-Schutte

    I try to use the “agree to disagree” fallback for boundary setting. I have to practice boundaries all the time at work (therapy hazard), and I think that sometimes it is harder with family. For example, with family members who are passionately different than me around politics, I work to disengage.
    Ann Becker-Schutte recently posted..Mid-Week Balance: 29 August 2012

  5. Chibi Jeebs

    1. What is your favorite boundary setting language?
    Being firm and clear while being calm and loving.

    2. How did it feel to consider setting boundaries with others?
    Scary! When you’re a people pleaser, doing the exact opposite is frightening – what if I alienate people? What if they hate me? What if they never speak to me again? There was also a lot of self-doubt involved for me in my ability to actually create – and maintain – boundaries.

    3. What more do you need to be prepared to teach people how to treat you?
    Self-confidence and self-assurance to believe that I deserve to be treated better.

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