BYOH: Build Your Own Happiness or How to hack your own happiness buttons.
Today, the topic is boundaries.
I’m a notorious “Go-Alonger”. I go along, to get along. I don’t like conflict and I can’t stand drama. I’m practically world-famous, as a door-mat, but I’m currently in recovery. Setting up boundaries is one way that I push my happiness buttons.
Growing up in an abusive home and, later in life, befriending abusive people, I never really learned how to set proper boundaries, beyond just walking away and never looking back. But, as I’ve gotten older and the abusive people became coworkers or people that I have to deal with through my work or personal life, due to no fault of my own, I have had to learn how to draw the line on what and how I will allow people to treat me, since I’m not in a position to walk away, permanently.
I have learned the hard way that whatever it is you allow will continue and you do teach people how to treat you, so you have to draw the line with people, right away. The following is a list of tricks that I use when dealing with abusive, pushy, or difficult people:
Remember that “No” is a complete sentence: Not everyone deserves to know why you don’t wish to do something, so learning to say “No” without making excuses is one way to keep people from crossing your boundaries. This one is a work-in-progress, for me, but it gets easier, the more I practice it. When you say, “No, but…” and give an excuse, it sounds more like “maybe” and leaves the door open for pushy people.
If it don’t feel right, don’t do it: And, don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t like surprises. I don’t like parties. I don’t like crowds. So, I don’t participate in those things, even if my besties are participating. I have enough activities that I am required to participate in for work or close family and I don’t always get fair warning. I muddle through because I have to. But, if I have a choice, I stay home and do things that bring me joy, instead. Besides, my true besties know that I am much better company one-on-one, over coffee and gossip. They understand when I say “No” to going into group settings or loud places with lots of people. I don’t even go to the movies unless it’s the matinee or the movie has been out for awhile, so as to avoid too many people in the movie theater (otherwise, I’m fine with waiting for a movie to come out on DVD, so I can watch, at home, with the minions, and in my pajamas).
Do unto others: I mean this in a positive sense. If you are polite to me, even if I can’t stand you, I will be polite, in return. I try not to return rudeness for rudeness, although, I can give as good as I get, but if I feel someone is being rude or disrespectful to me, they’ll get the silent treatment from me.
Gray Rock: Very similar to the above advice. But, firmer. If you are continually required to deal with certain people then the silent treatment may not always work, so be a cold, gray rock; be emotionless. Be polite. Be respectful. But, don’t stick around for small talk.
No Contact: Some people don’t deserve your time or attention. Palm them off to a third party or engage an intermediary if you must have exchanges of any kind. Limit communications to those that are written down, if possible, so that your words and your intentions can’t be twisted. This is for people that are never polite or respectful to you. If you are kind-hearted, this approach may be difficult, at first, but when you see how much peace and how little drama you have to deal with, you will breathe a sigh of relief. I swear by this method. I have no regrets for going No Contact with my family and long-lost friends or rude, disrespectful coworkers. If you give these folks, an inch, they will take a mile, so it’s best to take your yardstick and spend your time dealing with people who will appreciate every foot.
Make yourself unavailable: Take up hiking, crochet, college classes, do anything, that you enjoy, on a regular enough basis that you don’t have time to deal with silly people and their silly drama. It’s harder to allow others to take advantage of you and push your buttons, if you are engaged in something that is important enough for you carve out time to do. It’s a way to focus your energy and take care of your own needs, but it’s also a way of letting others know that your time is important and not just anybody can interfere with it. It’s the equivalent of taking a Friday night to shampoo your hair, only you are actually washing your troubles away, more productively.
I get teased a lot, about my boundaries, but the people who really know me and respect me do not cross them. The people that do try, soon learn that neither my buttons, nor my boundaries are available for them to push, so easily, because, eventually, I make myself unavailable to them.
The more I create and solidify my boundaries, the stronger I feel. There are fewer people in my circle, but there are fewer vipers, too.
Feel free to visit my Facebook page and tell me what kind of things that you do to push your own happiness buttons or drop a line in the comments section. I would really love to hear from you.