In situations where, to you, the ‘right’ thing seems obvious, it’s easy to assume that it is to the other party too. In fact, when it comes to boundaries, we humans often veer between extremes. We think someone wouldn’t do something if it weren’t ‘OK’ somewhere or assume that they’re unaware of the ‘right’ thing and need us to point it out. So we’re either second-guessing ourselves into normalising the unacceptable or trying to people-please and debate the person into doing the ‘right thing’. All this fosters is boundary issues, not resolution and healthy interpersonal relationships.
Boundaries are two-fold. This means when you know or set the boundary for others, you need to uphold that boundary from your side. And that’s regardless of whether others do or not.
Healthy boundaries mean you have a healthy sense of your responsibility and know where you end and others begin.
Waiting on somebody to do the right thing by you means you’re currently waiting for them to stop doing the wrong thing.
Agency is that recognition that you have at least some say over your circumstances. Waiting on others suggests you don’t. This is where you cede authority and power when you don’t have to. It’s you trying to influence and control other people’s feelings and behaviour so that they’ll do something to make you feel better about the situation you’re continuing to tolerate. This won’t work, and eventually you have to take the focus off them and bring it back to you.
And don’t get me wrong, doing the right thing by you doesn’t feel ‘easy’. Especially when you tend to deprioritise your needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions aka people-pleasing, it can feel mighty uncomfortable. But it’s the right thing to do for both sides, but especially yours.
Yes, that person’s annoying or unacceptable and abusive behaviour is their responsibility. And, do you know what? In an ideal world, they ‘should’ want to address it. But your boundaries are your responsibility.
If you waiting on someone means you’re not doing the right thing by you, always choose you. Don’t continue being a part of something that detracts from your worth.
Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to “please” or protect yourself from others? My new book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (HarperCollins/Harper Horizon), is out now.