That’s where your rights stop.
Mama used to tell me that all the time. To be fair, the nose in question at the time was her own.
“Your rights stop at the end of my nose,” she would say, and I knew not to cross the invisible line she drew.
- No making assumptions.
- Don’t take her “yes” for granted.
- Don’t intrude, belittle, dominate, or insist.
- Don’t let opinion become fact in my eyes.
The end of Mama’s nose taught me to respect other people and their boundaries. I learned how to draw boundaries of my own (even though I forget from time to time).
Other people’s Mama’s must not have had noses.
Or at least noses that stood up for themselves.
I’ve found that people stray over to my “personal bubble” all the time, and I don’t like it!
Get out of my space!
It’s shocking when someone ignores the “end of my nose” and aggresses all over my rights as if they don’t exist.
It’s not just my rights that get trampled on!
On a regular basis, my attitude and feelings come under the tread of someone’s boot.
My actual “position” gets wadded up and tossed toward the nearest trash can, not bothering to land with like-minded trash but just kind of bouncing off the rim before coming to rest on the dirty ground.
Unimportant, ignored, discarded.
When people disregard boundaries and ignore your rights, that’s how you feel.
My opinion, which I consider quite valid (of course I do, it’s my OPINION), has often been brushed aside as if it’s nothing more than a pesky fly, not even worth smacking with a swatter.
The way we treat people matters.
Establishing boundaries matters too.
That’s why my new name is NO.
After years of being disregarded and taken advantage of, I awoke one day last week and declared that it was HIGH TIME I remembered where the end of my own nose is.
Granted, it stretches out there a bit. That just means my boundaries are better for me.
What I found out with years of accidental research is this:
If you let people take advantage of you, they will!
And not just once. This become a repetitive practice.
They don’t see anything wrong with it. After all, it’s always been this way.
It’s never too late to make positive, healthy changes in your life!
Sure, it’s okay to be nice, but let other people know where you stand from the beginning.
You can start by saying something like, “Yes, I WILL bail you out of jail this time, but if you ever kill someone again, you’re on your own!”
Of course, I’m kidding about that. Don’t bail any murderers out of jail, if you even can.
But don’t miss the point either.
People, especially family, will sometimes ask you to do outrageous things for them, forgetting you have rights of your own.
They don’t always take your situation, lifestyle, or beliefs into consideration.
When someone is in a predicament, it’s all about them.
The long term consequences for your life are irrelevant.
This is especially true when someone is wanting to borrow money or ask you to co-sign a note!
Look, if it’s your child, I have no doubt that you love each other. You want what’s best. However, strapping yourself financially to a note for the next 5–7 years isn’t the most healthy thing you can do for yourself.
Teach your kids something healthy for their own future.
Period. It would be better to give them half the money they need and let them raise the other half. That’s teaching them responsibility. Your children aren’t wrong to ask you for help, and you aren’t wrong to tell them NO.”
Here are a few guidelines for establishing healthy boundaries:
- Be direct. If it’s NO, say NO. Get it out in the open and move on with life. OR, if it’s YES, state the terms of the YES.
- Don’t feel guilty. If you’re setting boundaries with a family member, you’re teaching them something invaluable. Yes, they may be mad at you for a while, but love wins the day! They’ll get over it.
- When you feel yourself getting weak, reach up and touch the end of your nose. It’s a great reminder of where your rights begin and end.
- Explain your reasons. Have the conversation. Stating your case is the right thing, even when no one else understands.
Remember that other people have noses too. And rights! Don’t get in their bubbles.
I hope all of this was helpful in some way. My Mama taught me a lot of good things, most of which I’ve forgotten.