By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters
Recently, I have been helping my friend on her horse ranch. I have always loved horses, having cared for retired rescued polo ponies in Alpharetta, Georgia in the past. My friend, Shannon has been teaching me how to earn a horse’s respect, something that shocked me. I found that horses and humans are very similar in many regards.
In my coaching practice, I encourage my clients to speak up and self-advocate. Many people with low self-worth have difficulties speaking up for themselves, especially when no didn’t mean no when they were a child. Other humans sense a weakness and take advantage (more on this later). When we aren’t able to say what we want, we rarely get it. Is it any wonder? Humans will push until the other person says stop. If the weak-willed individual doesn’t speak up, there is no boundary in place and hence no respect.
Horses are very perceptive. If you feel afraid, they know it. If you don’t immediately make a strong stand with a horse and let them know who’s boss, they will not listen. They will act as if you aren’t even there. When a horse weighs 1,200 pounds getting a horse that is unwilling to move is impossible.
|English rider with a crop
Shannon instructed me to show up in the horses stall with a crop under my arm. I hesitated at first because it seemed inhumane. However, having my foot stepped on and injured certainly didn’t seem humane either. As soon as I entered the stall with a crop in hand and said, “Over,” the horse willingly moved. In fact, the horse was so willing, I felt ten feet tall. It was as if he said, “Oh I didn’t hear you before you held that crop in your hand.” It was easy to get the horse to do what I wanted with the aid of the crop as I had the horses attention and respect.
When we don’t speak up for ourselves, we aren’t respected. When we aren’t respected, we are in the lowly position of less than in the eyes of the other person. It is human nature to take advantage when the other person has no boundaries or limits. When we say no in ways that don’t sound like no, the other hears, “YES!”
If we have been sexually molested, raped or abused setting boundaries and limits can be a huge challenge for us. Working with me, I help you recognize how important it is to have firm boundaries and know what you are willing to do and not do.
Ways We Say Yes When We Mean No
- “I don’t think this is a good idea.” (the other hears YES)
- “I am not ready.”
- “I’ll think about it.”
- “I’m not sure about this.”
- “I don’t know.”
- “I don’t think so.”
- “Not right now.”
- “I don’t feel comfortable with that.”
Any of the above statements leaves a door open for further pushback.
Ways To Say No
- “No thank you.”
- “I am not able to.”
- “Not now, not ever!”
When we don’t have healthy boundaries, we are the one that ends up angry and resentful not the other. JEM
Dating and Boundaries
If you are on a date and don’t know what you are comfortable with, you will go beyond your comfort zone and do things you regret and may feel ashamed about later. Shame and guilt are the lowest vibrational emotions a human can have. Setting boundaries and limits though challenging isn’t permanent. We can make positive changes by working with someone who has strong boundaries and recognizes that no didn’t mean no for you in the past and will help you overcome the old patterning in your unconscious mind.
Boundaries in Relationships
If you don’t have healthy boundaries and are in a relationship – even a friendship you may find you give too much, give too much and try to please the other person. At first, it could feel good to give. After you find yourself giving away the farm you will feel ripped off which leads to resentment and anger. Anger is a sign your boundaries have been crossed.
Boundaries With Children
Children need to know the difference between right and wrong. If we don’t tell them to stop, they keep going. If a child jumps on you and hurts you-you have not said “NO,” strongly enough. If a child keeps pushing for something trying to break down your resolve there is no respect.
Business Partnerships and Dealings
If you don’t have healthy boundaries and have a partnership, your partner will most certainly take advantage of your soft spot. You might be ripped off, or feel resentful because you end up getting the raw end of your business dealings. You may have customers that push your limits expecting you to say stop. Without firm boundaries of what feels good and what doesn’t, there are many ways your business could fail, and you could loose.
What Can You Do For Yourself?
Watch others who demonstrate healthy boundaries. Learn from the way they catch you immediately and give you instructions for what they want. They don’t wait a week or two till they are angry because of what was done, they mention it at the moment.
Read a book about boundaries. There are many of them on Amazon.
Hire a coach to overcome this serious issue. You will be much happier when you are able to advocate for yourself and set healthy limits and boundaries with everyone. Your family will be happier as a result.