Let’s face it. Boundaries would be easy and breezy if it weren’t for well, what can happen next. After we say no to someone, disappoint or maybe even anger them, or let go of a situation that is not healthy, there can be fallout. There can be big upheavals and little losses that can keep us from setting that limit in the first place, whether we are conscious of this or not.
Being able to set the boundaries, speak up for what you need but THEN to be able to let go of what happens from there requires confidence, and I think to trust that this is the better, healthier thing to do. Unfortunately, many people who end up needing to set limits with others often draw unhealthy people to them, so past attempts to speak their truth have not gone well. The other doesn’t understand the concept of loving limits and often mistakes it for control. Therefore, the reaction can be anywhere from ignoring or minimizing the request to a full-blown tantrum.
That is why detaching from the outcome is so crucial for you to be able to follow through on standing firm. If you hold onto the fear of their reaction, and what they might do in the near future in response to your boundary, then it is said you might want to go back to the drawing board and get firm about why you are setting this limit, and what are the costs if you don’t? Get clear, get reminders (early and often) from healthy support to keep you focused on the why instead of the what if and work through the feelings of fear, disappointment and sadness around possible outcomes.
I believe that this emotional pre-work is so necessary and where the bulk of the effort is. Practicing letting the chips fall, letting others be disappointed and perhaps even upset with you takes courage. Risking the unknown is crucial if we want to advocate for what we need, and to be a healthy, separate person. Know that by moving through this process you are also normalizing it for your brain that yes! you do healthier things today, that THIS is what it’s supposed to be like, and your life will be the better for it. Also know that of course, the more you do the more it becomes a part of who you are. So is it always easy breezy? Nah. Is it vital for your well being and your self-confidence?