How To Start Setting Boundaries

Learning to set boundaries has a huge impact on relationships

When you know how to communicate needs clearly, relationships deepen and become more authentic. You feel empowered because you are taking better care of yourself. Relationships become easier when you know what is your responsibility and what isn't.

Setting boundaries starts by shifting the focus from only pleasing others to what works for you. This doesn't mean you stop giving, but your needs count too.  

Boundary Misconceptions

  1. Boundaries are about getting someone else to change. This often leads to more frustration and relationship stress.
  2. Assuming that people won't like it. Most people will accept your "no" because it's about you not them.

I define boundaries as limits you set for yourself and what you are willing to participate in. They aren't telling someone else what to do.

Asking for what you need is healthy but remember that you have no control over the outcome. You only have the power to change yourself. Once you accept this, the concept of boundaries becomes easier to practice.

Setting boundaries

Know what you want. If you tend to think of others before yourself, this becomes a challenge. Give yourself permission to figure out what you want. This may feel strange at first. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Writing can provide the clarity needed to move forward.

Here are some simple boundaries to start.

  • Instead of people pleasing, add your perspective.
  • Say no when asked a favor.
  • Speak up. Focus on I statements by stating what you feel or want rather than blaming the other person.
  • Remove yourself when things aren't healthy. This is especially helpful when there is addiction or angry outbursts.

Letting go of the results

Setting limits can boost self-esteem and create healthier relationships. However, there are times when it doesn't happen that way. Partners may feel threatened and react negatively. This happens when there are issues of power and control, or codependency. If you want confidence help, check out my free guide.  

If your partner cannot respect healthy boundaries (remember boundaries are about you not them), it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship. This is the hardest part of healthy change.

As you learn to set boundaries, family and friends may not like it. Change can feel threatening and cause tension. Be patient. Time will tell if the relationship can adapt to the changes.

With practice, telling your truth and establishing limits can enhance your relationships. People will have more respect for you because you are teaching them how to treat you. For more help on boundaries read my 5 Guidelines You Need To Set Healthy Boundaries.

Is it worth it in the long run? I've tried it both ways and once I understood the power of boundaries I never went back!