The holidays are here. If you haven’t had to stand up for your boundaries in a while, prepare yourself for the holidays. There’s no time like the present for a refresher course in boundary management.
- Respond, don’t react. Communicating and decision-making in an emotional state is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Walk away from a challenging situation if you feel your emotions getting the upper hand. Face the situation head-on when you are clear-headed and calm.
- Make a request. “I would like to make a request that you …” is a respectful way to ask for your needs to be met. If someone decides not to honor your request, that is their decision. Saying something is better than saying nothing and feeling resentful.
- Use the broken record technique. This is where you stay consistent in what you need and want—until what you are saying is heard. This is especially useful for Giveaway Girls because they can often be manipulated and confused by other people’s challenges to their boundary setting.
- Speak your voice. What you say and how you express your feelings and give opinions helps define who you are for others and for yourself. Just because you say something does not mean it will change others—but it will change you and how you feel in the world. If people react well to what you say and decide to make changes, great. If they react badly, consider it important information. Move on.
- Change what you do. Many frustrations we experience on a daily basis involve a desire to control others. You have choices too. Change what you can change.
- Build a firewall. This involves a simple visualization exercise. Mentally define the boundaries you want for yourself. Get creative if you need to. A client of mine told me she uses the Wonder Woman stance. Another client envisions herself in a phone booth separated from the stressor by thick glass. Firewalls are about creating a boundary to help you emotionally detach in a healthy way from other people’s negative stuff.
What is emotional detachment?
Healthy emotional detachment can help us look at situations realistically and objectively. Detaching is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgment or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. It does not necessarily require physical separation. Clarifying difficult situations using objective, factual statements is helpful for regaining control of your emotions.
What kinds of holiday stress are you not looking forward to? Write me.
Cherilynn Veland, MSW, LCSW, is a counselor and coach based in Chicago. She has been helping individuals, couples and families for more than 20 years. She is author of Stop Giving It Away, a new book about developing healthier relationships with yourself and others. The Stop Giving It Away movement aims to stop the detrimental level of self-sacrifice in which many women live and work. For more insight, get a copy of Stop Giving It Away.