While some people don’t mind having others involved in their business, others cringe at the mere thought of nosy neighbors, pushy friends and relatives and coworkers who don’t know when to leave well enough alone. When you find that the people in your life are inquisitive, invasive and generally annoying, it’s time to assert your independence from their control. By protecting your privacy and making it clear that you have strong boundaries, you’ll regain your peace of mind and be free to live your own life.
Stop being controlled by the opinions of others
Take a good hard look at your behavior and ask yourself, “Do I actually value the opinion of others above my own opinion when it comes to my life?” The answer should be a resounding NO! As much as other people try and convince you that their opinion is the important one, don’t you believe it. Until you value your own opinion about your life above that of others, you’ll never be able to create the boundaries that keep others from controlling you.
Prevent others from manipulating you
Until you make a conscious decision that you are going to establish and maintain your boundaries, you may not realize how others have been manipulating you. Realize that not everyone in your life has your best interests at heart. More often than not, they have their best interests at heart and you’re simply a convenient pathway to achieve their goals. The next time someone tries to sway you from your path, ask yourself what their motive may be and what’s in it for them.
Avoid answering questions
People with intrusive personalities often begin their assault on you by asking you seemingly harmless questions. Beware! Their questions are rarely as innocent as they appear. Remember that meddlers tailor their questions in way that will eventually uncover information about your private life so they can then move on to interference. Stop these people in their tracks.
You can be frank and upfront by saying things like “I don’t discuss my finances with anyone except my husband,” “What I weigh is none of your concern,” or “I don’t care to answer questions about something so personal.” If you’re not comfortable being direct, you can simply make a joke that helps you avoid divulging the requested information, change the subject abruptly or simply say that you have no idea or can’t remember. No matter what, do not divulge the information the other person is seeking.
Refuse to feel guilty
Once you begin to establish boundaries by keeping your business to yourself and refusing to be swayed, expect the onslaught of guilt to begin. If you thought the meddler in your life was just going to pack up and go away when you stopped answering their questions, you were wrong. The next weapon in the intruder’s arsenal is guilt. A manipulator will pull out all the stops and try to guilt you back into submission. Realize this and refuse to give in. While it may be difficult at first, once you begin to see that people are trying to take advantage of you, you’ll easily be able to take a vacation from guilt forever.
Speak your mind
In order to establish secure boundaries and stop others from steering you where they want you to go, you’ll have to be bold enough to speak your mind. If you’re invited out to dinner and you’d prefer a quiet evening alone at home, simply say so. There’s no reason to accommodate others at the expense of your peace of mind. When you feel that you’re being manipulated, call the person on it. In the long run, remember that it’s your right to live your life as you see fit. Speaking your mind is a significant step in doing so.
Reconsider your relationships
As you become more definite about how you expect to be treated by others, you may have to re-evaluate your relationships. Friends and relatives may threaten to end the relationship simply because you’re no longer allowing yourself to be dictated to. When that happens, ask yourself what, if anything, the relationship adds to your life. If you feel relief at the thought of no longer having to deal with the person in question, it may be best to allow the relationship to die a natural death. After a period of time, you’ll find that the people in your life are those you truly value and not those you’ve always dealt with simply out of a sense of obligation.
Although you might feel rude when you begin to exclude people from your personal business, protect your privacy and live your own life, remember that they are the ones who are ill-mannered by being intrusive in the first place. You deserve to experience peace of mind and live free from the unwanted advice and influence of others. The more you practice the principles of personal boundaries, the more you’ll wonder why you didn’t implement these policies sooner.