Saturday, 2 October 2021

Setting boundaries in the festive season: How to lay your laws down

Halloween followed by Christmas is upon us; twinkly lights, endless social events and commercial holiday-themed coffees fill our days along with throwing our boundaries out of the window.

Although this is the 'most wonderful time of the year,' it can bring about anxiety and discomfort for those of us who struggle to set boundaries. Whether with family and friends or even work colleagues wanting to know us more personally at work outings, it is crucial to understand how to draw a line that can and cannot be crossed. 

Moreover, it is time to solidify the boundary and make sure you respect it too. Here's how...

Setting boundaries sounds very serious to many of us. For others around us, it can sound like that annoying term our new therapist has told us to use or maybe even feel it is a way to cut them out of your life. However, it needn't be so severe or profound! 

Setting a boundary is simply defining what you will and will not accept from others and yourself going forwards.

Let's say you have an older sister who you love very much, and you know your sister only loves you back and cares about you, but she often gives you backhanded compliments or passes light judgements on your life without being too direct. 

You have tried to explain this bothers you in the past, but she brushes it off as saying she was complimenting you or it's a joke. 

In this situation, you can set a boundary with her to not make jokes at all when you are the subject of it and/or make a boundary with yourself that when she does do this again, you will call her out on it.

Doing so can extend to many scenarios; parents giving unsolicited advice, grandparents commenting on your fashion choices, your partner making jokes at your expense to get laughs from the crowd… the list goes on! 

We see these issues heightened during the festive season as we attend larger social gatherings and maybe even see people we do not see at other times of the year.

Let's cover the basics of setting a boundary with others:

1. Identify what bothers you.

2. Sit with a journal and go deep into your feelings about this situation; is it simply something that irks you, or does it truly hurt you deep down.

3. If it is something you realise its not that big of a deal, and you can maybe brush off this holiday season with some heightened confidence and light humour, make this your boundary.

4. If it is something that does upset you on a deeper level and you wish would stop, it is best to accept this first and foremost. So often, gloss over accepting others' behaviour upsets us because we do not want to bother them!

5. Think about how you wish to approach them about this; in person, a phone call, text? (although I suggest in person is always best).

6. Clearly state how their behaviour/remarks/actions hurt you and do not hold back on the truth.

7. Set the boundary that you will not tolerate this any longer and will not engage with them if they continue even in a social setting.

8. Work on a plan to move forwards with love and acceptance (isn't that what the festive season is about?).


Enjoying this article and intrigued to read more like it? Check out:

- 4 reasons using the Law of Attraction is easier than you think

- 5 areas of life that could be holding your self-confidence hostage


You may find steps 5-8 bone-chilling if you hate confrontation, but confrontation does not always mean arguing or hurting feelings. 

When approaching someone calmly and maturely, even the biggest of hotheads learn to respect and listen. 

It is truly about how you say it - delivery here is vital! Tailor your conversation style to the person you are speaking to.

Initially, the person may not like being stood up to, especially if they have been doing this for long. But over time, if they love and respect you, they will watch ours for their actions to improve things with you! Or, they may surprise you and ultimately be on board and understanding; you'll never know until you speak to them!

Setting boundaries with yourself

One of the keys to setting boundaries is making sure you respect them as much as you want others to respect the limit. 

There is no point in setting boundaries and expecting others to follow them when you brush them off whenever they get inconvenient or upset someone.

Commit to ensuring you stick to these boundaries and walk away from situations that do not serve you. 

If you have had a conversation with someone and continue their hurtful behaviour or even make fun of you, asking them to stop, do not entertain the situation. Understand that tolerating it further is giving into the person breaking your boundary. 

It does not mean fight or get into conflict but remove yourself from the situation or deflect and distract from them when you can. 

For example, if your cousin starts to compare his career to yours at the dinner table, you may deflect and distract by speaking to someone else. Doing so avoids conflict and lets your cousin know you are not ok with what he is doing.

Finally, our self-image is everything. 

If our self-opinion is low, we radiate this aura to others. Therefore, it is hard to pick on someone or make a backhanded compliment to someone radiating self-confidence. 

Working on our self-confidence is critical before the festive season before we delve into meeting people who make us anxious. Read this [article on vavaviolet] (insert link) for some easy tips on boosting self-confidence.

And lastly, focus on the festive fun.

Finally, remember the festive season is meant for you to have fun. So prioritise having a good time, taking a break from work and feeling the love and warmth of these holidays.

This is the primary focus of your festive season, not worrying about others opinions and preparing in advance for family drama.

Take some time for yourself and enjoy relaxing over the next few months to be in the best mindset for the new year!


Written by VavaViolet's spiritual columnist, mind coach, and founder of Temple of Sunshine, Shalini Chatterjee.


For more content on self-development and taking your power back, check the Temple of Sunshine YouTube.


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