This article is part of a series on speaking up against what is wrong and for what is right.
The purpose of this series is to inspire you and help you find the resources and the courage necessary to show moral courage.
Setting & Keeping Boundaries – The Key To Moral Courage
The key to no longer tolerating violence and showing moral courage is to set boundaries and to keep them when it comes to yourself. That includes boundaries you set for yourself as well as for others.
We all know that setting boundaries is easier than keeping them. But that is because we do not know which values we base our boundaries on and what the consequences are for us and the person that is crossing our boundaries.
In the heat of the moment, emotions are high but intelligence is low. That is why we tend to either fight, flight or (my inner child’s personal preference) freeze. Freezing is when you know you should do something but you cannot decide on what that would be. All you know is that you do not want to be over the top and regret it later.
Waiting too long to enforce your boundaries usually makes it even harder to enforce them. When someone first crosses your boundaries, we pick up a pebble. The longer we wait to confront, also known as giving feedback to the other person or creating peace, the heavier the stone will be that we carry around with us. The majority of us tend to focus on keeping the false sense of peace instead of creating true peace.
The Story: The Talk
There have been many moments in my life that I wish I had spoken up but I thought it was too late. Well, I would like to share with you a moment when I actually did speak up when it felt like it was too late.
I had not corrected misconceptions someone in authority over me had about me because the way they voiced their misconceptions and judgments stunned me every time. It had gotten so bad that I felt stressed, and almost traumatized by the abusive behavior this person showed towards me. I was not the only one who experienced it, by the way.
When an opportunity arose that I had leverage over the situation, I decided to get ready to confront them with the help of my husband and the help of God.
One day, I asked for a talk and shared what I felt and asked for a change in behavior. I also clarified misconceptions the person had about me. The relationship did get better. We did not become friends but at least their behavior towards me improved. And you can imagine, I felt like a huge boulder fell off my shoulders.
How To Set Boundaries
You need to answer the following questions to get clarity on your boundaries:
- What attitudes and behaviors can I not tolerate?
- What attitudes and behaviors break my rules?
Complete the following sentences:
- People I deal with must always…
- People I deal with must never…
- People I deal with should always…
- People I deal with should never…
You simply create these four options for the different areas of your life.
Then it is important to also check if your boundaries are realistic, useful and don’t clash with each other. When you do this in a written manner, you get a better overview and can see clashes more easily.
Here it is also important to look into the boundaries you have for yourself. So you also complete the following four sentences:
- I must always…
- I must never…
- I should always…
- I should never…
The next step is to check for logs in your own eye. What do I mean? I mean before we set others right, we must set ourselves right. The Bible says that we need to take the log out of our own eye before we can take the speck out of our neighbor’s eyes.
So ask yourself:
What don’t I want to see or acknowledge about myself?
How am I hurting others with my attitude or behavior?
How To Keep Your Boundaries
This is where faith comes in. You need faith to have courage to enforce your boundaries.
Besides addressing issues as soon as possible while speaking the truth in love by asking a clarifying question or sharing a story or simply asking if they are open for some feedback.
But what if you already waited for too long? Then the stakes are high. The chance to lose out is higher. Then it is even more important to understand why these boundaries MUST be enforced. You must know and feel why they must be enforced.
It is important to know the foundation of your boundaries, the rules you set up for yourself and people to follow to be in your life and earn your respect.
For me, it became easier to speak up for myself and for others once I based my boundaries on the Bible and seeing how not speaking up says that I care more about what people think about me than the sacrifice that Jesus/Yeshua did on the cross for me. It says that I rather please someone who hurts me than someone who died for me and my sins.
THAT I COULD NOT LET STAND.
That made it easier to speak up and suddenly the stakes became low.
What is more important to you than what other people think or do to you?
How To Inspire Others To Show More Moral Courage
The best way you can inspire others to step up is to set your own boundaries and enforce them by understanding why these boundaries MUST be adhered to. Don’t hide your light but let it shine so you can inspire others to do the same.
Another way is to challenge people to think about their own boundaries and the values that support and inform them. You can do this with the help of our products of the collection “Bold Enough To Speak Up”.
Questions To Go Deeper
- Which thoughts came up for you as you were reading this article?
- What suddenly seemed possible and what became clear?
- How can you use the idea of the article to improve your life and the lives of others?
- What will you do next?
Please share your answers on our Instagram post to inspire and share with others!
If you have a problem speaking up, show up boldly, or trust yourself or you just want to understand how to be more confident, especially in tough situations, contact me for a free chat so we can find a solution together.