Setting boundaries & boosting your self-esteem

There’s no question that it feels really rubbish when you’re treated disrespectfully by a friend or a colleague. If it happens once and they’re genuinely remorseful you may well be happy to accept their apology and move on. However, if you’re regularly on the receiving end of inconsiderate behaviour or your needs or feelings are being ignored, that’s not okay and you’ll probably be asking yourself, ‘Why me?’

Sadly, those with low self-esteem are much more likely to be treated badly. This doesn’t mean that the culprits are bad people, just that they can tell those who have firm boundaries from those whose amenable nature or desire to please can be exploited. Whilst most of us are happy to help others, if it feels as if we’re being taken advantage of, we are likely to feel resentful.

So, what do you do if a colleague or friend is regularly taking the p***? The first thing is to press pause on the immediate emotion if you can and take a step back. If you’re feeling distressed, angry, or bitter you’ll be unable to assess the situation correctly. Any similar past events are likely to be compound the negative emotional response. Once you can appraise things calmly, ask yourself how this pattern became established. Have you ‘allowed’ your friend or workmate to behave in a certain way by tolerating unacceptable behaviour before? Failing to call someone out on their behaviour doesn’t mean they have a licence to continue, but the sad reality is that they are more likely to continue if you say nothing.

Speaking up when your boundaries have been crossed isn’t easy for everyone. None of us like to feel vulnerable and it’s undoubtedly easier to keep your head down than to speak out. If you’re not used to challenging bad behaviour or expressing yourself assertively it can be scary. Many people choose to offload to partners or family instead, but whilst this may feel safer it doesn’t lead to change.

If you’ve become accustomed to disrespectful attitudes or conduct at work or in your social circle, you’ll want to stop this from occurring again. Working to improve your self-esteem is a good first step. When you enjoy better esteem, putting firm boundaries in place will feel natural and others will notice the shift. This is likely to result in them interacting with you differently. If you believe that your self-esteem could do with a boost there's a range of different things that you could do. Working with a trained professional will boost your chances of a successful result. I've got years of experience working with client who are struggling with these issues. I'd love to have a chat, book a free call now.

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