In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I get into a topic that so many of us stress over: working out what’s unfair and reasonable. Is what they’re asking fair and reasonable? Are their expectations of us fair and reasonable? Is it just our imagination or is the way they’re approaching things unreasonable?

When people ask or expect something of us and we, often deep down, know that we don’t want to do it or that we don’t have the bandwidth, we feel unfair and unreasonable. What we have to recognise is that if we don’t consider ourselves in our decisions and choices, we will struggle to discern what feels good and right for us. We also won’t know whether there’s a boundary issue or just how to be honest with the person.

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Some nuggets from the episode

  • When gauging what is unfair and unreasonable, you have to ensure that you are coming from a place of recognising that things are equitable – that you have the same rights and responsibilities, you are not ‘less than’ and so you need to consider whether a request or what somebody is doing feels good and right for you.

If you doing, being, agreeing to or putting up with something, isn’t going to cause you more problems, go ahead… if you want to.

  • Even if we have the bandwidth to do something that doesn’t mean that someone else is entitled to us doing what they want. We can use our time in any way we see fit.
  • Sometimes it’s not so much what we’re expecting or asking but how we go about things.
  • Respect means respecting people’s no even when we’d rather they said yes.
  • One of the things we learn from paying attention to ourselves and our boundaries is that, yes, sometimes an ask or expectation is fair and reasonable when taken at face value but sometimes it is unfair and unreasonable based on what we’re expecting of us, what they’re expecting or how they’re going about it.

It’s unfair and unreasonable to expect anyone, including ourselves, to always say yes.

  • Generally speaking, it isn’t unfair and unreasonable to say no. Content and context matter.
  • It’s not unfair and unreasonable for our boss to ask us to do something, but it is unfair and unreasonable to expect that we can do everything even when all of the things that are being asked are not necessarily fair and reasonable.
  • Part of our responsibility with our interpersonal relationships is to communicate our bandwidth and boundaries. Both verbally and through our actions. Yes, it is unfair and unreasonable when co-workers and bosses pile us up with stuff, but we have to acknowledge whether we are contributing to their expectation through lack of communication and the likes of people pleasing and perfectionism. If we always take on stuff out of fear of looking a certain way and give the impression that it’s all ‘doable’ when we’re actually working incredibly long hours behind the scenes, we are responsible for that.

People only know our line and our limit when we communicate it.

  • Even if an ask or expectation, or the person’s behaviour are fair and reasonable, we are not obliged to say yes.
  • The whole idea of being a decent, kind, generous person isn’t to create the owe from others.
  • Sometimes the clue is in our own feelings, attitude, thinking and behaviour.
  • Turn down anything that jeopardises your wellbeing.
  • Turn down or certainly revise your motivations for agreeing or continuing if you are doing it from a place of being in a ‘child role’.
  • If you already feel resentful or are going to, it’s got to be a NO.

Don’t emotionally blackmail you into doing things.

  • Unless the benefit of something outweighs any problems it’s going to bring you, say/show no.
  • Just because someone has a need, it doesn’t mean that it’s your job to fill it.

Boundaries are an expression of your self-esteem. Natalie Lue

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