Your Line in the Sand

She decided to start setting strong boundaries because being honest and courageous was the kind of woman she wanted to be.

~ Queenisms by Cindy Ratzlaff

 

What do these sentences have in common?

line in the sand

Sorry, I can’t do that. I’m spread far too thin right now.

I will not allow anyone to speak to me that way.

I need some time to think about that.

These are all statements honoring personal power. Each shows various ways of saying, “No!” firmly and politely.  Every one indicates a personal boundary, stated in clear, honest language.

Could you say these things when needed?

It wasn’t so long ago that these types of statements were hard for me to use. I’d let people manipulate me. I was afraid of confrontation. I swallowed my true feelings.

On the surface I looked and acted like a happy camper. But inside…well, I felt depleted, angry and resentful because I willingly sacrificed my serenity for the sake of keeping everyone happy and everything on an even keel—for others but not for me. I let others intimidate and overwhelm me, often bullying me into submission.

I let others usurp my personal power.

I’m not like that now.

So, what changed?

I came to realize that it was my responsibility to take care of me. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to do this for me, and more importantly, I didn’t have to have anyone’s approval to do so. I came to believe this but it took longer for me to put it into action.

Slowly I came to understand that it was my job to protect my time and energy. I couldn’t be everything to everyone.  It was my duty to determine how people treated me and stand up for myself when I felt someone had crossed the line.

Important phrase: crossed the line.

My power surged when I recognized that I could define the line in the sand. This line—my boundary—meant I would not go beyond this point and other people couldn’t come with me. And then I became very clear and totally committed to what I would do when that line was crossed.

Did I accomplish this all at once? Heavens, no. I had to take baby steps. After all, this was new to me. So, like a young child learning to ride a bike I’d try out a boundary, fall, and bruise my pride. But each time I’d get back up, more determined than ever to make it work.

And now—years later—I know what I want in life, and what I don’t. I know how people must treat me or I will leave the situation. I am certain in who I am.

And the gifts in all this personal work? Respect for myself, greater self-confidence, and certainty that I have freedom of choice.

 

Your Call to Action:

When have you been tempted to cross your boundaries? How did fear play a part in that temptation? What areas of your life could use a boundary adjustment?

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