I recently had lunch with a friend whom I admire very much, along with her daughter and my daughter. We have known each other for nearly 10 years, and the girls have grown from young high school girls to full grown women with all the responsibilities and joys and heartache that entails. Ms. B has built her professional and personal reputation on honesty and integrity, and I even hear her Teams profile is a unicorn, because she is unique and rare in her field. Our conversation revolved around jobs, life, personal loss, and how to stand up for yourself. The word of the day turned out to be “boundaries.” Women in general are perceived as being pushy, troublesome, and recalcitrant if they don’t go along with the flow. Learning to set boundaries in your personal and professional lives is a valuable tool everyone needs to learn. Are you hired for certain hours and days? What do you do when asked to work outside those times or for a position different from which you were hired? Weighing the need, the job requirements, and your personal situation could very likely lead you to confront your employer or coworkers. How do you do that? Taking time to pray, and breathe calmly, and coming forward with a reasonable yet firm attitude can help you set the boundaries you need. If you don’t set boundaries, a bit later down the road you may look back and wonder how you got yourself into a situation you didn’t intend to be in.
Women are mostly taught by circumstance and even peer pressure to choose their words carefully. No one enjoys being ostracized or being perceived as bitchy or moody when they are just trying to stand up for what they feel is right for themselves. It makes us nervous and scared when we need to have a confrontation or serious conversation. This is a situation that doesn’t necessarily get easier with practice, but each positive outcome is empowering and confidence building. When you have the courage to stand up for yourself, your situational awareness grows, people around you perceive your resolve, and you find yourself not only being treated the way you ask to be, but you also become a strong example to others. Boundaries are necessary for healthy work and personal relationships, so look around for examples of other strong women you admire, pray for strength, breathe, and take courage, it’s never too late to set the boundaries you need.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”