As you grow more confident, and with that confidence tends to come greater comfort in speaking up with regard to things like personal boundaries, not wanting to remain in situations that are harmful or distressing to you, and voicing dislike for things that you deem wrong, you’re going to ruffle some feathers.
Do not confuse my wording “stronger and more confident” with argumentative, self-righteous, nitpicky, or bullying, as these are not even close to the same thing.
Someone can be strong, confident, and decide not to take garbage from others, all while picking their battles and still maintaining a sense of poise, kindness, openness, and good manners. You need not be rigid, inflexible, or ever starting fights in order to have great boundaries and be a strong person.
However, once you begin saying “no” where you may have said “yes” prior (even though you didn’t really want to), once you start speaking up when someone is rude or offensive to you where you didn’t before, once you go ahead and walk away from or turn down time spent with others around whom you’d rather not, people are going to have an issue with it.
They’re going to get upset. Some might even get angry.
Because people don’t like to be told no.
They don’t like to be challenged or called out. People do not enjoy being held accountable. Most people you meet and know do not have the emotional maturity, bravery, or sense of personal accountability to meet such an interaction head-on and acknowledge where they might be wrong. Instead, most will rear back and hide, grow defensive, or, they will get pissed.
Toxic people hate being called on their dysfunction. Alternatively, half of them don’t even realize they’re toxic, nor do they care to examine this.
Controlling people do not like being challenged or losing control.
Bullies feel angered when they aren’t able to push people around.
“Dumpers” (my name for people with whom we have monologues- not conversations, who just dump, and dump, and dump on us their life story, dramas, feelings, thoughts, etc, with nary a question or interest back towards us) feel offended, confused, and insulted when people stop letting them dump and instead, excuse themselves elsewhere.
Wallowers hate positive people because then they aren’t permitted the attention garnering pity party. And, your joy in opposition to their unhappiness makes them bitter and jealous.
Even the good guys, friends, romantic partners, healthy and good-hearted family members, some of these people are going to feel disappointed, hurt, even angry at times when you put up perimeters and boundaries with regards to your own needs and emotional health.
Because you know what the alternative is?
Ever bending, molding, and changing yourself to fit everyone else's wants and needs. Rushing about this way and that to step into whatever role each given person wants you to be, in that situation and during that time. Living your life via catering to everyone else.
This is a life lived in silence and emotional repression, (eventual) resentment, weakness, and without boundaries.
It’s a life in which you lose yourself for the comfort of others.
Thus, when you start standing up for yourself? (Which again, is not synonymous with being unnecessarily combative or mean). People are going to get angry. Fights might occur. And yes, you might even experience estrangement with some people or, at it’s most extreme, a few relationships even ending altogether.
Know why this is a great thing?
It weeds from your life the people you don’t want there anyway. The ones who refuse to respect you and your boundaries. The ones who don’t truly care deeply about you anyway and instead, care more about control, negativity, hurting others, and mostly, themselves.
It rids your life of the people who aren’t right for you.
And remember, just because you share DNA does not mean these people are right for you. There was no choice involved in that at the beginning. You were born and thrust into the situation without any semblance of a choice on your end. The sad truth and result of this is that many people with whom we share blood are grave mismatches for us. Sometimes, they are even harmful. You will discover this when both, you learn to look unbiasedly, openly, and bravely at these relationships and when you get up the guts to then act accordingly.
On the flip side, with the people who aren’t dysfunctional or harmful? It makes your relationships that much healthier and happier with these people. Exuding boundaries with people who truly respect and love you, more often than not, has generally positive results, even if some feelings get hurt occasionally. Thus, with the people you want in your life, and with regards to those who are truly good for you? This will be a good thing.
Some residual effect which, don’t count on this, though if it happens, can be a significant positive for everyone involved: people could learn some crucial life lessons via your speaking up and standing up to them.
When we dare to speak openly to others, our loved ones, family, friends, you name it, with regards to how they might be acting inappropriately, unhealthfully, even harmfully, yes, they’ll probably get mad. They also just may examine themselves more closely in a quiet moment later on, and consider what you’ve said or pointed out.
This can be a seed planted that results in eventual growth.
Because if you don’t dare to speak up, if the person isn’t aware of or informed where they might be wrong or harming others, how can a person ever learn from it, change, and potentially grow? The answer is: they can’t.
And lastly, the final effect of all this standing up for yourself and daring to bring forth your inner bad-ass, boundaries, and sense of strength?
You will feel better about yourself.
Emotionally and mentally healthier, more capable, more in control of your relationships and your life. You will feel braver, and your confidence will continue to grow and flourish as you practice this behavior more and more. You won’t remain in situations or around people who cause you significant distress or who hurt you. You aren’t going to sit, steeped in bitter silence, watching dysfunction unfold around you. Instead, you’ll speak up.
You’ll become emotionally healthier and thus, the people around you will by residual effect (since, if they want to be a part of your life, they’ll need to adapt to your perimeters if they want to spend time around you). And, the people who aren’t good for you will get walled off.
There is essentially no downside to growing stronger, braver, more confident, and outspoken with regards to your needs, feelings, and personal boundaries. Yes, it might result in some painful, awkward, tough moments. These are temporary though. And they are unavoidable when we choose to live a life that is emotionally healthy, happy, and with strong personal boundaries.
Only good things happen over the big picture when we stop accepting bad behavior from others and when we dare to speak up.