Many of us are raised to believe that we’ll be punished if we say no, or set a boundary to take care of ourselves.
That could be an actual physical threat for some but often it’s more psychological, more like a threat of being shut out, or criticized, or told you don’t have a right to say no. These are things that are reinforced by our culture too so it can get real complicated and awkward as more people are becoming aware of so many things, and there is a broad spectrum to consider.
Let’s talk about the feeling you may have deep down that you’re not worthy of saying no. That sounds extreme but could it be true? Do you ever say yes to something you don’t feel right about? Have you kept quiet about something because you fear the repercussions? What about the guilt you may feel of being independent and making different choices than the traditions you were raised in? Could you have just learned to tolerate things just to get along? There are a lot of challenges that come with this kind of way of thinking and being. This kind of stress causes health challenges, sleep issues, and all kinds of other symptoms detrimental to your well being.
This can really show up at holiday parties at work when people who would not normally mix are thrown together for a celebration. I am a big believer in setting a firm boundary around these events.
Simply go for exactly one hour ( as long as you’re not the boss). Show up, pay respects, don’t drink any alcohol or eat too much sugar – both of which can
make you super sensitive to even a whiff of social dysfunction and then get the heck out of there. Have a plan to meet a friend you love and trust for coffee or drinks after. You’ve satisfied the need to be there, but you’ve protected yourself from the drama too. You put you first! A Big WIN!
Why are setting boundaries around the holidays so important?
Think of it as an invisible line around you that you put there mentally and through your actions and choices to protect yourself and to ensure you are not harmed by unnecessary exposure to other people’s bad behavior, drama, or any environment that makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s also something you can set around food etc. It serves to build up your self worth, self esteem and overall well being. It reduces stress too. Setting a boundary is empowering and reduces guilt and vulnerability. Everyone needs to learn about this!
So let’s talk about different scenarios you can apply this to. Every event you know you have to go to has a beginning, a middle and an end that you get to decide about – no one else.
- Dinners with your folks
- Holiday business parties
- Shopping and time you spend in malls
- Events where you know you’re going to deal with difficult people
- Time you spend online
- Social media etc. that invisible line is your new best friend.