Whether or not you are a stepmother, self-respect is essential for Happiness. Your Happiness. Believe it or not, Happiness is all that counts. There is no purpose in your life that isn’t bound to your right to feel abundant Happiness. This kind of “Big H” Happiness comes from things like nourishing relationships, achieving important goals and fulfilling your highest potential as a human being. It is your birthright.
Now it’s time to learn how to defend that birthright when it is being threatened. It’s relatively easy to stick up for yourself against people who don’t matter in your life. It’s harder when your boundaries are being tested by friends, family, or your partner.
First of all, ask yourself “Am I OK with what’s happening right now?” Maybe you have been putting up with something for a long time but have had enough. You might have heard about ‘choosing your battles’ and you aren’t sure if this particular situation is the one you should stand your ground against. If you are someone who blows up easily or loses it over little things, you might want to try using this phrase in place of your usual reaction. One way or another, you need a way to show your self-respect as the first step in getting respect from others, and here’s what to say:
“THIS IS NOT OK”
This phrase is ideal because it doesn’t infer any blame and it doesn’t even have to sound angry. It just announces a healthy boundary that you insist others respect. It’s like throwing a flag in a sporting event, it signals an infraction and stops the play.
“This is not OK”. It says, “I’m stopping this conversation/behavior/attitude now – I’m just stopping my interaction with it. You can keep on doing it, but without me here”. In some cases, it’s a good idea to calmly leave the scene. This lets it be known that you are not available for negotiating this boundary.
Is it selfish to insist on boundaries? We are easily manipulated by those who dangle the “S” word in front of us. I once read a wonderful definition of selfishness. The author said: “It’s not selfish to do what you want. It is selfish to ask someone else to do what you want.”. That resonated with me and I have never forgotten it!
Allow the others time to process what you have said. It might take just a short time, or a really long time, and you will have to be OK with that. They might actually apologize, or perhaps not, but at least they will stop doing it, because you threw a flag. It’s over. It’s not OK.
Depending on whom you are talking to, you might need to explain why it’s not OK :
“This is one of our rules, you know about that”
“I feel disrespected right now, that’s not OK with me.”
“We can talk about this later when we are both in the right mood for talking”
It’s important to keep a kind tone of voice – this “NOT OK” method relies on you saying it without a lot of charged emotion. You don’t want to fill this great neutral boundary-holding phrase with subliminal meaning by delivering it with body language or tone that expresses anger, disgust or disappointment.
I have gotten good at saying this. I even say it to myself sometimes. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!
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