You might be surprised to find out that respect from others happens naturally when you honor yourself and your personal boundaries. Doing this shows the world who you really are, and what behavior is okay, and what is not.
You are worthy and deserve respect. Honoring yourself shows the world the type of behavior you will and won’t accept, improving your relationships and keeping you not only happier, but sane!
(The following is a transcript from episode 58 of The Overwhelmed Brain podcast)
I believe that much of life’s emotional pain comes from our inability to honor our boundaries completely.
From age 0 to when we move out of the house, honoring boundaries is almost never taught. And, some abusive adults can cross our boundaries before we can even speak, causing some of us to grow up either rebellious to the world, victimized by the world, or a bit of both.
The teaching of personal boundaries should begin early in life, but it has to start with those who raise us. If personal boundaries aren’t discussed when we’re kids, then there’s a big question mark in our heads about why we’re getting so angry or afraid, or whatever emotions come up, because we can’t figure out what’s happening.
In other words, if we’re never taught what personal boundaries are, we don’t know what to defend and honor within ourselves. Boundaries are an ambiguous concept that, when violated, create negative feelings inside of us. But today I want to talk about what it takes to honor and be compassionate towards yourself, so that you can do the same towards others from a healthy place.
By the end of today’s episode, you’ll learn who comes first, and why. You’ll also understand why honoring your own boundaries actually causes others to respect and love you more, instead of what you may think would happen otherwise.
Your personal boundaries are the walls that protect your emotional energy. They are what empower you, give you courage, and remind you of what you stand for. When you honor these boundaries, you show the world the authentic you, not someone who allows others to define who you are.
Today, let’s define you.
Back in 1995, I quit my job at an alarm company. I was an assistant manager for a large department of 24 employees, and was on-call 24 hours a day. Anytime, day or night, I was available to support the company and my co-workers.
Back then, we used pagers. So every now and then, I’d feel a vibration coming from my hip. I’d look down, and to this day, I still remember the number that displayed on the screen. So I’d grab my bulky cell phone and give the office a call. Almost always, I was able to resolve the problem right away.
But this was wearing on me. After about 4 years at the same job, getting paged whenever I was at dinner, at a movie, or even in bed asleep, I was getting tired of being at everyone’s beck and call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even holidays gave me no breaks, as I distinctly remember a 45 minute call with one of our customers just before midnight on New Year’s Eve.
I finally had enough. I was ready to move on. I didn’t regret choosing the job in the first place, and I certainly learned a lot about technology and leadership, but I knew it was time to move into a new phase of my career, and get away from such a demand of my time and energy.
After I spoke to my immediate supervisor, he told me to speak with the general manager of the company. I walked in, sat down, and he says, “So, is there anything we can do that would make you stay?”
My first thought was, “Wow, I didn’t expect that question.” Actually, I didn’t know what to expect. But, I knew one thing for sure: I wasn’t nervous at all. I had made my decision, and it was time for me to move on.
This decision I made to leave was aligned with my thoughts and feelings. There was no, what I call, incongruence. I was certain and assertive, and knew what I wanted. So when he asked me that question, it surprised me. For the first time, I realized that all I had to do was speak up to change my situation.
For the first time in my working life, I realized that because I didn’t speak up about anything that bothered me at work the whole time I was there, nobody ever got a chance to make things better for me.
I never spoke up about getting paged year round, or any of the other reasons I chose to quit, because I didn’t think it was an option.
Have you ever done this? Not spoken up about something that bothers you, or something that you want, simply because you didn’t think it was an option? Had I spoken up months before, there may have been changes made to accommodate me, and I might have actually stayed working for them.
But instead, I spoke to no one about my gripes, and just made the decision to quit. I didn’t realize I was letting my personal boundaries get crossed slowly over time, causing me to close up and enjoy my job less and less.
And no one else knew I was becoming unhappy there either, so they didn’t even get the chance to make things right for me. I just made the decision to quit one day. I reached a “that’s enough” point, and committed to leaving.
Personal boundaries aren’t only about letting or not letting others walk all over you and violating your personal space, but they’re also about how they can erode over time without you even realizing it.
For me, the erosion of my boundaries happened with every single problem that arose in that company. The buck stopped with me, so I ended up with the most challenging cases. I could handle the work, but it did wear me down.
Work can do this to us. Relationships can do this to us. Even exercising too much can wear us down if we don’t give our muscles a break in between. You can think of personal boundaries as your muscles. Too much stress, and they become weak. But take care of them, exercise them, and nurture them, and you can help strengthen them, so that they are there to protect your emotional core from getting violated.
Like I said, I was allowing my own personal boundaries to be crossed. But, like a pot slowly coming to a boil, when you’re in the heat of it, you sometimes don’t realize what’s happening.
As soon as I realized it, I jumped out to save myself. Of course, if I had honored my boundaries sooner, perhaps I would have kept working there. Some employers actually want their employees to be happy, so I should have just spoken up. But, I waited until I couldn’t handle it anymore, and saved myself at the last minute.
That’s sometimes what happens, we wait until the last minute. That last moment where we’ve simply had enough. And then, at the precipice of toleration, we can’t take it anymore and jump out of the danger.
Sometimes we save ourselves just in the nick of time.
Honoring your boundaries needs to be high on your list of priorities. Your personal boundaries are what I sometimes refer to as your castle walls. These walls protect your heart and your emotions. They are what people sometimes try to break down because they want to control you in some way for an outcome of their choosing.
But, personal boundaries can’t be violated unless you let them. Well, let me rephrase that, personal boundaries can’t be violated when you are old enough to honor them.
One thing I see over and over again are adults who, as children, got abused in some way, and now have issues with personal boundaries. The younger the child was when the abuse happened, the more likely they have boundary issues when they are older.
Though some abused children grew up not letting anyone in, because they created a thick, impenetrable wall that kept everyone out. This wall also prevented their heart from getting out into the world to be able to love others from a deep place.
The amount of love you are able to give is proportional to the amount of love you are able to receive.
If you don’t let people in, you will probably not be able to receive love as well as others who may not have had experiences that closed them off. Abuse survivors are known for closing up, and not letting any deeper, positive emotions in or out. Because they were hurt so bad as children, they developed survival techniques that helped them get through the tough times.
When they bring these techniques into their adult world, they find it hard to function and get into destructive relationships or situations. They feel like they are in control because they’ve closed off their vulnerable side, but what’s really happening is that they are unable to use their instincts very well.
Closing off the vulnerable, more emotional side of you can close off your instincts sometimes causing you to make unhealthy decisions.
Of course, not only abuse survivors go through this. For instance, I wasn’t physically abused, that I remember, but I was psychologically abused in the sense that I felt like my life was in danger many times as a child. This psychological abuse created some characteristics that still sneak up on me every now and then. However, I’ve cleared a lot of that up over the years. But when I wasn’t clear, I was closed up.
I wouldn’t let people know what I was really thinking or feeling, because I wanted to control every outcome of every situation. By only showing people what I believed they wanted to see me as, I felt like I was in control. As long as I was in control, I was “safe”.
We do so many things to make us feel safe. It’s that “comfort zone” thing. The reason you might not honor your boundaries is to feel safe in some way.
I mean, think about it, if you have trouble honoring your boundaries, would you feel safer saying that you’d work extra hours for your boss over the weekend, even if you really didn’t want to?
Some people say “yes” when they really want to say “no”. But why? Likely, they want to feel safe that they won’t get fired, or disciplined, or treated differently if they speak their truth.
But what this does is create a situation that opens the door for future boundary violations. If your boundaries include getting extra sleep, or personal time, or other non-work related activities, but you say “yes” to working when you don’t want to, it’s going to create that feeling inside of you.
You know what feeling I’m talking about too. It’s that one you get when you agree to something you disagree with. It’s like when your best friend asks you to help them move furniture up three flights of stairs. You don’t want to do it, but you are compelled to say yes.
Of course, using a friend as an example may not work. But what if a friend of your friend, someone you didn’t know well, wanted help moving furniture? Would it make a difference then? Would you still feel compelled to say “yes”?
Some people would make up an excuse so they didn’t have to do it. Others would say “yes” because they are a people pleaser. And others may actually enjoy doing that for someone.
My point is, it’s always best to honor and show compassion towards yourself first. By doing this, you create space for you in the world. You show yourself that you are worthy of getting the things you want in life and being treated the way you want to be treated.
Moving furniture is just a simple example and not really meant to be a lesson in honoring boundaries. There are far more serious and life-changing challenges that come along when honoring your boundaries is more important than ever.
I want to go over what you can do to start honoring yourself by defending your boundaries. You can start small, and work your way up, but you have to start somewhere if you’re going to get anywhere at all.
One of the first steps to take in honoring your personal boundaries is to remember why you are doing it in the first place. I mean, if you really want to break it down to the most basic understanding, you honor your personal boundaries so you won’t feel bad.
It almost sounds cold and selfish when I say it that way, but our most basic hard-wiring drives us to feel good, or at least neutral. When we feel good, life just seems to go smoother for us.
Of course, honoring your personal boundaries does a lot more than help you prevent bad feelings, it’s also a way to present to the world how far they are allowed into your personal space. When the world knows what your boundaries are, you get more respect. When they don’t, you typically get walked on.
When you think of why you’d want to honor your personal boundaries, think about it in terms of wanting to be respected. Respected in your role in your family, at work, with friends, or amongst strangers. More people will respect you once they know where you stand.
And I don’t mean where you stand on politics or other issues, I mean how you stand for yourself. If you are a people pleaser and say “yes” to keep the peace a lot, people will believe that’s how you want to be and take full advantage of your generosity.
Not everyone will, but many will until you let them know it’s not okay to do so. And even when you honor your boundaries, there are still people that will try to violate them because that’s who they are.
You really get to find out who your real friends are when you start honoring your boundaries. Some people won’t understand at first, because they may be used to seeing you in a certain way. However, those that love you most will support you most.
Those who continue to violate your boundaries even after you clearly state them are trying to use you to get their needs met. You don’t want to be used, you want to be respected.
The “why” of honoring your boundaries is to be treated the way you want to be treated. Getting respected for who you are, your beliefs, your values, and your decisions in life, is a right everyone should have.
Of course, there are people in our life that will try to guide us with good intentions too, so we always want to check in with ourselves to figure out if they are trying to guide us for their benefit, or for ours.
And that’s the key to being respected. Some people will attempt to guide us in a certain direction to gain a specific outcome. But who does that outcome benefit? If your friend tells you that the person you are dating is bad news, they may be watching out for you. But if they tell you that because they themselves want to date who you’re dating, then there’s an obvious difference.
This difference defines if someone actually respects you and wants you to be happy, or wants you to do something so that they themselves will be happy. It’s sort of like when I’d judge my ex-wife when she ate junk food. I obviously had an agenda in mind. I didn’t want her to eat junk food because of how I felt when she did it.
And when I felt bad because of that, I would act differently towards her. I would even… stop respecting her. That’s kind of twisted, isn’t it? To look at someone you love deeply and not feel respect for them?
Of course, I can imagine this is what happened when I was a child too. I would look at my stepfather drinking alcohol, and lose respect for him. Then I took that belief system with me into my relationships and lose respect for my most beloved partners.
This resulted in disaster every time. When my ex started honoring her boundaries however, I either had to respect her process or get out of the picture. Unfortunately, I learned how to respect her boundaries a little too late, so she ended up leaving. In the end, I learned a valuable lesson on respect.
The “why” in honoring your boundaries, is to be respected. You deserve respect, because you have just as much right to be on this earth as anyone else. And because you’re here, you are worthy. That may or may not make sense, but sometimes I know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now that you know why to honor your personal boundaries, you need to learn how. This is something I totally struggled with at first, because it meant getting out of my comfort zone. But before we talk “how”, let’s talk “what”. Let’s define what personal boundaries are so that you know exactly what you are honoring.
A personal boundary is the gauge you use to keep yourself safe. This is probably the most basic way to describe the concept. Your personal boundaries protect your emotional core, where you are most vulnerable.
For example, I was a “yes man”. I would say yes to everyone, almost all the time. I felt like, if I said “yes” to people, they would like me. And if they liked me, my life would be great!
The problem with that theory is that when you say “yes” to things you don’t want to do, you build resentment. And if you say it enough times, that resentment will soon build into repressed anger. And eventually, you’ll be upset at people for seemingly no reason at all.
My behavior allowed people to walk all over me. So, as I let people violate my boundaries, my friendships got more and more toxic. My friends were always happy, because they had someone that never said “no”! Wouldn’t that be great to have someone like that in your life?
Well, unless you’re paying them to do the job, the answer is “no”, because it becomes toxic. It becomes a tainted friendship built on resentment and hurt. And of course, my friends didn’t think anything was wrong! They just thought I was a nice guy.
That’s typically what happens. We want to be nice to someone else, but it’s really a violation of our personal boundaries. We think that being nice is the best way to go, without realizing that “nice” needs to come from an authentic place, not a place of “Well, if I don’t do this, he may get mad at me.”
If you look at the intention behind your actions with other people, are they positive or are they drawing from a negative feeling? When I think about how I behaved towards my ex-wife, I realize that I was behaving from a negative place, not a positive, supportive place. I felt bad, therefore, I needed her to do something so that I could feel good.
Yup, not a healthy way to treat someone at all. It’s manipulative and controlling. In fact, she loved me so much that she even felt guilty about not doing what I wanted her to do. So she lost all over the place!
That is, until she finally realized that her boundaries were being crossed. It was then where she remembered she was worthy, and meant to be treated with respect.
Boundaries are a gauge that you need to check in with, to make sure what is happening is not crossing your line of respect. When you no longer feel respected, someone has crossed your boundary, whether they know it or not.
But what do you say? Do you just yell at the person?
Here’s my suggestion on how to start honoring your boundaries: When you get a bad feeling, explore that feeling to figure out why you feel bad. Then, convey that feeling to the person.
Let me break that down into an example you can digest.
If I was still with my wife, and I started getting uncomfortable and saying things to her when she ate junk food, she could do this:
First, check inside to figure out what she’s feeling. Let’s say it’s anger, guilt, disrespect and sadness.
Next, she could say to me, “When you talk to me about what I eat, I feel like you don’t respect me. I feel sad because it feels like you don’t love or support me.”
By checking inside to figure out what you’re feeling, then conveying what your feeling to the other person, you treat them with respect. You see how that works?
Here’s another one: Recently a friend of mine wanted to borrow some money. This person borrowed from everyone, so I didn’t want to be his next source of income. So I checked inside, and realized I felt awkward, and a little nervous.
I politely said “no”, and he seemed a little taken aback. He was surprised I said it, especially since it was only $5. The amount was unimportant, it was the door that he wanted to open into my personal boundaries that I didn’t want open.
But after I said “no”, I told him, “I don’t want that awkward feeling that happens between friends when there’s money owed. I would be nervous that it would create a rift in our friendship. I like our friendship, and want to keep it free of any uncomfortable feelings. I hope you understand.”
And, he did! He totally understood. He still may not have been happy that he didn’t get any money from me, but I know that I can now keep a friendship with him that doesn’t involve borrowing money.
Now, what I did was check inward, noticed I felt nervous and awkward, then conveyed those two feelings to him in my comment. It won’t always work out this easily, because sometimes you’ll have some pretty powerful emotions and may not want to convey them. But you can still express yourself by expressing things from only your perspective. When you use “I” statements, and talk mainly about yourself, it doesn’t become accusatory, it stays directed on you.
“I don’t want to feel awkward…”
“I would be nervous…”
“I want to keep our friendship free of any uncomfortable feelings…”
I always try to come from a place inside me, and make it about me. Sometimes you have to mention them, of course, because their behavior is the trigger for you responding. But stay aware of how your phrase things.
For example, there’s a big difference between saying, “I don’t want to feel awkward” and “You make it awkward”. One is directed from you, about you, and the other is directed from you, about them.
All we ever feel is about us anyway, so we might as well communicate that way from now on. When you see something you don’t like, think about what you don’t like about it, and come from that place.
I worked for a company where the two bosses were discussing another employee. Well, I didn’t like what they were saying about him because some of it was inaccurate. I checked in, and noticed that my own personal boundaries were being violated. I had a boundary that told me that it was wrong to allow an untruth to be told about someone I knew. So I spoke up and said, “I think the information you have on this person is inaccurate.” They stopped talking and listened to what I had to say.
Now then, I didn’t convey my feelings about the matter, because I didn’t have to. But I did keep the comment about me, even though it referred to them. In other words, I could have accused them and said, “You’re wrong. What you’re saying is a total fabrication and you need to get your facts straight!”
But instead, I directed my comments more towards me by saying, “I think the information you have on this person is inaccurate.” This statement did not blame them at all. In fact, I redirected it completely, pointing the blame at information, not at people.
Do you realize how much smoother your life goes when you stop blaming others, but redirect the blame to something other than that person? It totally changes the dynamic of relationships.
No one likes to get blamed, because really, everyone does the best they can with what they got. Even if we believe they are bad people. They may still be absolutely responsible for things that happened, but we don’t necessarily have to blame them directly.
Yes, there are times when direct blame is necessary, but think about all the little things we blame people for all the time. “Hey, you left the toilet seat up? What the hell?”
I bet if you ladies started saying, “You know, when you leave the toilet seat up, I feel like you don’t respect or care about me”, you might start getting some immediate compliance.
But if you go into direct blame mode, you can activate someone elses defenses. From that point, it’s hard to come back down and have a civilized conversation. Healthy communication is everything when it comes to our mental health. We all want to know that we are heard and understood. And that leads to our final talking point today.
Communication is the key to every healthy relationship, even when the relationship needs to end. Healthy, honest communication will help you strengthen your personal boundaries so that can always express yourself from an authentic place.
The first time my ex told me, “When you did that, I felt angry”, I was so surprised! No one ever talked to me like that before. It was eye-opening. Instead of walking in the room and yelling at me, “You son of a bitch, how could you do this?”, she checked in with herself and realized she was angry. So she conveyed what she felt, “When you did that, I felt angry.”
Of course, my first question was, “Huh? What did I do?” And when she told me, I didn’t realize I had even done it and immediately apologized. I don’t remember what it was, but I think it was just some small thing. But because I cared about her, and I didn’t want to hurt her, I felt bad that she got angry over something I did!
Those who feel bad for making you feel bad are people who actually want to respect your boundaries, unless their defenses are triggered. But that happens when you somehow violate their boundaries.
It’s tricky, I realize. You’re not always aware of how you come across to people. And sometimes you are so emotionally charged, you have trouble expressing from a more centered place. But that is what needs to happen in order for you to build the castle walls that protect you.
If you unconsciously yell at someone, they will only get defensive and yell back. Or, they may close up and say nothing. Either way, they will be in defense mode, and only concerned about their own safety. They can’t feel compassionate towards you because they are getting attacked.
When you are able to gain composure however, and convey what is happening inside of you, you are showing the other person what your boundaries are, and how they are being violated. This gives the other person a chance to respond or react.
How you communicate your message is vital to letting people know what your personal boundaries are. When you are in a reactive, defensive state, you’re only communicating that your boundaries were violated, but not what those boundaries are.
Becoming more conscious and mindful of what you say to others gives them an opportunity to understand what, if anything, is against the rules of your relationship.
That’s really what it comes down to, if someone is breaking the rules of your relationship. It’s just helpful to be clear what those rules are, so that mistakes can be easier to avoid.
Let’s summarize what we talked about today.
- Make honoring your boundaries your priority.
If you trust, love and respect yourself first, then you can trust, love, and respect others. Make honoring your boundaries a priority so that you can start to build your self-esteem and add to your self-worth.
How do you prioritize? Measure the amount of love you are able to give. When you can give love easily, then you can receive it. When you can’t, it’s time to start honoring yourself. Those who have difficulty giving love usually have difficulty receiving it.
Love yourself first and foremost. Honor yourself, and do what feels right to you. You need to rebuild your emotional core so that you can feel confident from within. With confidence comes strength and courage. From there, you can feel safe enough to love others, and to receive love again.
- As an adult, you can either allow people to cross your boundaries, or not.
I’m not saying you always have a choice, because sometimes bad things happen to good people, but most of the time you do have a choice.
When you respond from fear, and give in to someone else’s demands of you, you are probably violating your own personal boundaries. When you respond from confidence and assertiveness, you are probably honoring your boundaries.
- The more your boundaries are violated, the more you close down emotionally.
When you close your emotions down, you close your instincts down too and make unhealthy decisions. Our body is completely integrated. When one part of it shuts down, it affects the rest of system.
Since your instincts rely on your feelings and emotions, doesn’t it make sense that you’d make decisions that may not be in your best interest? I mean, if your intuition is at a low, then you may not detect any of the warning signs of a bad decision.
- When you allow someone to violate your boundaries once, they will usually continue to do so until you stop them.
They may not even know they’re violating your boundaries until you blow up at them for what appears to be no reason. The more you give, the more people tend to take. Not everyone does this of course. You need to use your instincts, and figure out if they are the “taking” type.
The ultimate goal in a relationship is to trust and feel safe with the person you’re with. When you can do this, you can trust they won’t take from you. But when your instincts tell you that they are the “taking” type, just keep your radar on for a while to see if it’s true.
- Remember why you are honoring your boundaries in the first place.
It’s self-respect, all the way. When you respect yourself, you are building your personal boundaries. People will notice that you respect yourself and will follow suit and respect you in the same way.
Think about that, what if people treat you the way you treat yourself? If you adopt that belief, how do you think it would change your life? Of course, some people are just completely self-centered, so they will never respect you. But, if you respect yourself then you wouldn’t have those people in your life anyway, would you?
- A personal boundary is the gauge you use to keep yourself safe.
Your personal boundaries protect your emotional core. When they are strong, you can choose to be vulnerable around others, and not worry that someone is going to betray you. You don’t worry because you’ve built up the protection around your emotional core.
Once that protection is in place, it’s nearly impenetrable. When you have strong boundaries, you can be authentic, because authenticity stems from the deepest part of you. So when you get that bad feeling that someone is violating your boundaries, you need to address it right away, or very soon. Because the more they violate, the harder it is to be “you”.
- The more you allow people to walk on you, the more you’ll resent them.
The reason you’ll start resenting them is because you believe they should know better. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if people consciously knew they were crossing your boundaries and decided to stop doing it?
The truth is, they probably don’t know and won’t stop. It really is up to you to honor your boundaries and let people know what’s happening inside you. Which leads us to the next point.
- When you get a bad feeling, explore that feeling to figure out why you feel bad.
After you’ve explored it, convey that feeling to the person. If you get angry when someone leaves the toothpaste cap off, don’t yell at them for it, check inside and figure what your feelings and emotions are, then convey those things to them constructively.
There’s a difference between saying, “You bastard, why can’t you ever do anything right?” and “I feel angry and hurt when you leave the toothpaste cap off, because it seems like you do that purposefully to disrespect me.”
This is a real message that can be worked with. When you react harshly, the only message you’re sending is, “I’m attacking you right now!”
- On the same page as the previous point, communication is the key to every healthy relationship.
Honesty helps you strengthen your personal boundaries, because the more honest you can be, the more you define your personal boundaries to others. And the more you do that, the more of a solid foundation of truth you build in your relationships.
As I was sitting in front of the general manager of the company I used to work for, still surprised by the question, “So, is there anything we can do that would make you stay?”, multiple, tiny thoughts started passing through my head.
‘Wow, should I ask for more money?’
‘Maybe I can work out not getting called 24 hours a day.’
‘Or maybe I can transfer to another department or do something else.’
But no thought was more compelling than just wanting to leave. So I said, “Nope! I’m good. But I appreciate the offer.”
And he said, “Well, alright then. You’re a great employee, and if you ever change your mind, please reach out to us.”
I thanked him, and left the office for the last time.
This situation worked out, but some don’t. Sometimes, you’re in a relationship where your boundaries are being violated, and you’ll take it day after day while it chips away at you, causing you to close up more and more until you finally reach a boiling point.
Once you reach the boiling point, there’s usually no turning back. This is where committed decisions are made. This can be good, especially if you are in an abusive relationship. Making the decision to never return to that situation is smart.
However, by staying for any length of time where your boundaries are repeatedly violated wears you down and makes it harder for you to recover the longer you’re in it. Your boundary walls get chipped away bit by bit with every violation. Once they’re gone, you are either in full submission, or you put up a brand new wall, and never go back to that situation again.
Or, maybe you realize how toxic the situation was and you’re able to let go of it and recover. You’ll have a few triggers left over in you, that’s for sure, but you’ll be able to deal with them as they come up.
The good news is, you can start honoring your boundaries at any time. Just start with something simple, and work your way up from there. So many of life’s challenges will suddenly start disappearing because you are showing the universe what you want. And by aligning your actions with your intentions, people will see and respect the real you.
Your personal boundaries are so personal, no one knows about them until you let them know. What that means is that you need to honor yourself enough to let others know when they are crossing them. You don’t have to say, “Hey, you’re crossing my boundaries!” unless you want to. But I’ve found an effective way to communicate with others is to simply use “I feel” statements.
“I feel X when you do this” For example, “I feel like you don’t care about me when you leave your socks on the floor after I told you not to.” Statements like this clearly state to others how you’re affected, and what behavior you don’t like.
Honor and respect yourself, and others will follow suit. And those that don’t, you may need to get them out of your life. It can be hard, I know, but I know you can do this.
When you strengthen your boundaries, you are protecting and honoring your true, authentic self. You get to live in the world as the person you want to be.