This includes stopping people-pleasing and learning to set boundaries with work, men and others.
I have struggled with this for a long time. I am afraid to be mean, to upset someone, to voice my opinion. This goes straight back to childhood of wanting to be well-liked, the teacher’s pet, etc. And this has played out in all kinds of situations for me—someone asking me to take on extra work or complete a group project, some dude stroking my hair or being slightly handsy or just creepily complimenting me. Now, this occurring in Spanish adds a whole other twist because I don’t have nearly the boldness and confidence to tell someone off in another language, but the principles are the same.
I am learning to set boundaries. Each time someone crosses them, or I cross my own, I remind myself they are there for a reason.
I remind myself to stick up for myself more next time. No, I don’t want that drink. No, I don’t have time for that. Um excuse me, why are you touching me?
Each time I get bolder. Each time I grow more confident in myself. Inside I am the bold woman that says “F*$k you, I won’t let you take advantage of me.” I just have to remind myself that it is ok to express that. That I don’t have to be the polite woman that society deems appropriate. Because we need more bold women who are willing to set boundaries and stand up for themselves.
*Also just a side note for all my guy friends who may be reading this. Please be aware of how your female friends navigate the world. Sometimes there is still real fear of men (potentially including you). For example, working out in the park and a guy creeps on me helping me “stretch.” I am immediately taken aback. Internal dialogue…“If I walk away from this situation is this guy going to be violent” (He looks like the hulk) *silently gauging situation for witnesses and looking around to make sure I’m not alone* (I see lots of other guys around—are they with this guy, will they come to my aid?)
It’s sad that this is the world we live in. I have faith that there are good people, good guys out there who will say something if they see a woman being harassed by another man. Ultimately I slither away without a big scene, and through some side glances and eye contact with some of the other guys, I think if I had held eye contact longer and asked for help they would have come.
I am no longer willing to cross my boundaries, for me to be uncomfortable, silent and take it for the sake of anyone. Make your boundaries known and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Forget about being liked. You have to like yourself at the end of the day!
(For those who don’t know… I am doing “30 days to 30” and sharing life lessons and stories in order to celebrate my birthday—hoping to break stigmas and stereotypes about what 30 means and looks like)