If you’ve been hanging around in my space for a while, you might know me as the girl who
- Doesn’t care what people think
- Does and says what I am thinking without hiding my true emotions
- Explains my needs and emotions assertively
- Keeps showing up unapologetically as myself even though it is scary
But when I was learning how to communicate assertively and set boundaries, I KIND OF used to be an a**hole.
And there was this one time that someone called me out on my b.s.
In this blog post, I am going to show you what assertive communication is, the time someone called me out on my poor communication, and tips for how you can communicate your boundaries better.
What is assertive communication (and what does it have to do with setting boundaries)?
Assertive communication is when you express yourself clearly, confidently, and in a way that “asserts” your opinion/emotions/thoughts without stepping on toes.
(AKA the EXACT opposite of what I used to do).
Before I learnt how to say no without feeling guilty, I was
- Self-righteous about my boundaries
- Was very loud about things that bothered me and said so without offering a solution
- A bad listener
- Incapable of rationally processing my emotions
If you don’t know how to set boundaries, this is probably your reality too.
Being able to set boundaries without burning bridges with everyone you know is dependent on your assertive communciation skills.
Assertive boundaries look like:
- Saying no without feeling guilty
- Explaining how you feel without blaming other people for your emotions
- Not responding or reacting negatively when other people don’t like or understand your boundaries
- Clearly explaining your reasons instead of waiting for people to “figure it out”
This is one of the most important skills in your people-pleasing toolkit! Read on to see what I used to do, and tips for communciating your boundaries more assertively.
I used to be an “Assertive A**hole”
So back in high school, I got voted “most likely to die from a heart attack from being in an argument”.
(18 year old me on the far right!)
And I didn’t just argue. I argued HARD.
I jumped at the chance to question people on their beliefs and opinions.
All the while, I told myself
“This is just my personality, I’m emotional, people just have to accept me for who I am”.
SO when I started to learn what energetic boundaries were and when I should say yes or no to things, THIS energy was my foundation.
- I relished the idea of turning people down
- I got VERY picky about who I spent my time with
- I was on my high horse when people went to crappy parties and I said no
- I spoke very loudly about how crappy the music was and how they should play something else
(Are you cringing with me yet? I was THAT person for a while).
That ONE person that called me out on my B.S.
So this was who I was in high school for a while.
At the same time, a guy who I had fallen out with transferred to our school and we were AT EACH OTHERS’ THROATS. It was literally at the point where a teacher asked if I could please address our unresolved issues so we could keep learning calculus.
One day, I finally asked what his problem was with me.
“You really want to know? You’re out here being yourself, being loud and proud, but you never let anyone ELSE be themselves”.
As you can imagine, this shattered my WHOLE world for a while. And I immediately started to defend myself in my head.
- “But I’m just emotional and passionate, it’s not my fault if that steps on toes”
- “He’s just mad at me, that’s not what everyone thinks”
Tips for communicating your boundaries assertively
There are a few things you can do to communicate your boundaries better (I.E. not just shoving your emotions and opinions down peoples’ throats like I did!!).
1) Check your emotions first. Are you letting people trigger you? Are people triggering you on purpose? Is there any negative energy that you KNOW you need to let go of?
2) Start with YOU. If you need to tell someone your boundaries, try crafting it into an “I” statement first. For example, “Stop doing that you’re super annoying!” is completely different to “I get super tired and stressed out when you do that, could you try doing it like X instead?”
3) Keep it simple. Don’t use more words than you need to. Say what you need to say, and explain further IF NECESSARY. That means thinking before you speak
4) Let yourself be uncomfortable for a while. Learning how to set boundaries with people for the first time might feel wrong. However, it is better to be uncomfortable for 10 seconds than unhappy for a whole week.
What I want you to take away from this story
There are a few things I want you to take away from this story in your own life.
Firstly, getting selective about your friends and activities isn’t a bad thing PER SE, but you can do it without being self-righteous.
Secondly, showing up as yourself unapoloegtically gives others people permission to do the same. And that can be your reality if you start setting boundaries around your energy (the RIGHT way of course).
And lastly, if you get jealous, angry, or resentful that other people are out there being themselves and doing whatever they want, it might be time to check if you have any fears about being yourself that you need to check in with xx
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