Hi, I’m Kale. In my last video I talked about replacing rules with personal boundaries. Today I want to talk about how to communicate needs without using rules.
Having rules is about controlling behaviour. Having clear boundaries is about taking responsibility for yourself, rather than shifting it onto someone else.
A rules is often put in place to prevent something from happening, something that makes us uncomfortable. Without the rule, we have to face what it is that makes us uncomfortable, and ask ourselves why.
For example, take having a rule that says ‘No sleepovers, you must always come home at night’. Getting rid of that rule doesn’t mean that you suddenly have no feelings about sleepovers. And that is okay!
We can still have feelings, and we are allowed to talk about them. We can tell the people in our lives how we feel about things, we just don’t maintain power to make decisions for them. This is a really important point.
Sometimes feelings can be used as subtle manipulators to get our way, whether we intend to or not. This is where personal work and growth comes in.
We have to separate our feelings from expectations. Be able to tell someone how we feel, without expecting them to do anything or change their behaviour.
All of our feelings are valid and allowed. Rather than making a rule to avoid those uncomfortable feelings, we can discuss them.
The person we tell our feelings to is not obligated to act differently so that we don’t have to face the feelings. What they can do is hold space for us, listen to what we are going through, and give us emotional support.
Okay, let’s use the example of the No sleepovers rule. With that rule, you just make it and forget about it. Without the rule, you now have to face what is it about sleepovers that makes you uncomfortable.
Why is it scary for a person not to come home at night? Do you worry you will be lonely? Do you worry they will stay away more and more? It is okay to talk about these things!
You can say something like ‘I am feeling anxious about you having sleepovers for these reasons’, and list them. For example ‘It is something very special to me and I am having a hard time. I am afraid I will get lonely.’ In this case, you are talking about yourself and your reactions, you are owning the feeling.
After that, it is up to the person to decide what they want to do. They could say ‘I agree, that is something special for the two of us and right now I don’t want to sleep next to anyone else.’
Or, they may say ‘I hear that you are having a hard time with this. It is still something I am going to do, but we can talk about your feelings and ways you might feel better.’
Maybe the other person is still going to have sleepovers, but they can recognize that you have some anxiety about it, and spend time with you to talk about what you are going through.
And maybe there are things they are willing to do to help alleviate that anxiety. Like texting you to say goodnight, or meeting you for breakfast in the morning. It’s not about finding a compromise, it’s about you both doing what you need and want to do while still showing compassion for the other person.
If they are still going to go on that sleepover, there might be a lot of feelings you need to work through. No one said this was the easy route!
One awesome part of going forward this way is you will get to address your feelings, and realize that the other person does care about them. And the best part, in my opinion, is that every time they sleep next to you, you will 100% know it is because they want to be there.
It’s scary, owning your feelings and letting go of control. But rules only create a false sense of control anyway. Work on good communication and be clear on your boundaries. The benefits of living from a place of freedom will far outweigh the scary parts.
I hope that gave you an idea of how to start communicating your needs without imposing rules. To talk about this more, join our Facebook group down below. And to get future videos, subscribe to my channel and follow me on Twitter. Thanks, bye!