How being more fearless led me to assess my boundaries

Like most of us, I am a constant people pleaser, often to the detriment of my own self. In the summer of 2016, I took on a client who had a notoriously bad reputation. After months of frustration, a mental and emotional breakdown I sent politely crafted F*** you letter. What should’ve ended months ago, didn’t because I wanted to be liked, and maybe I needed validation that was a good person or real life professional. Standing up for myself became secondary to pleasing this client.

I’m not sure when we got the notion that because if we are being paid to produce work, we are also signing up for mistreatment. Here I was having panic attacks in the street, because I was now struggling to make ends meet because I took on this 6 month contract that was supposed to provide me secure income. My health was on the decline and for them it was business as usual. So where did my obligation lie? I had fulfilled my responsibilities to the best of my abilities yet here I was, feeling bad for cancelling the contract because of late payments and general lack of cooperation.

At the beginning of 2017, I claimed FEARLESS as my word for the year, because I felt I needed to release myself. I didn’t know that it would mean that I would have to assess my boundaries too. How was I going to move forward in life if I allowed myself to feel bad whenever I set reasonable boundaries? The thing I realized about boundary crashers is that they always have sneaky ways of making you feel like you aren’t doing the right thing. But the truth is they don’t like that you are no longer acting in their best interest.

Setting boundaries in both my professional and personal life is something I have a real struggle with. I am learning to say NO more often, but I am genuinely afraid of not pleasing people. This is certainly a growth point for me in many ways.