If you are like me, you have a hard time saying "no." The word is simply not in my vocabulary – or at least it wasn’t until I realized what my inability to set boundaries led to. I was born a people pleaser, and so "rejecting" others meant that I would be hurting their feelings or destroying their world.
Now that I have really taken an internal inventory and looked at where all of this comes from, I am able to see that the above is egocentric and is not really about the other person at all!
It was through teaching my 4 and 5 year-old little ones, while residing in Thailand, that I learned this valuable lesson. I would stroll into work everyday with a big, fat smile on my face. They, on the other hand, could see right through me. They knew that I was miserable and when I told them, "Yes, of course," I was really saying, "No. What you are asking does not sit well with me." Then they would outwardly laugh and blatantly disregard what I had said. I cried. Daily. I thought they hated me.
About a month before the school year had ended, I realized that it was me who needed the changing. I understood that I had to do the following in order to have a happy classroom:
– I had to establish clear boundaries off the gate
– I had to adhere to them and remind my little ones when they had crossed my boundary
– I had to be patient with them when they forgot
– I had to forgive them when they forgot (because, after all, people do get distracted)
– I had to remember that I loved them no matter what
There were so many more lessons that came over time, especially as I continued to teach. But truly understanding discipline with love and how important it is to have clear boundaries was necessary for my health and my feelings of self-worth.
Once I clearly set my boundaries and forgave my children (and this applies to my family as well!) if they forgot – thus releasing my earth-bound expectations of their behavior – I no longer experienced headaches, feelings of victimization, stomach aches, or issues with my digestive system in general.
So, all in all, if you are feeling frustrated because "Nobody listens!" or "Why are they so disrespectful??", perhaps it is time to sit down and really consider how the message is being delivered. Are you really clear in what you are asking? And, are you asking it with love?