How To Start Setting Boundaries
Learning to set boundaries has a huge impact on relationships.
When you know how to communicate clearly, relationships deepen and become more authentic. You feel empowered because you're taking better care of yourself. Relationships become easier once you realize what's your responsibility and what isn't.
Setting boundaries starts by shifting the focus from pleasing others to what works for you. This doesn't mean you stop giving, but the goal is to do it in moderation.
- Boundaries are about getting someone else to change. This often leads to more frustration and relationship stress.
- 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 you have no control over the outcome. You only have the power to change yourself. Accepting this, makes setting boundaries less stressful.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Know what you want. If you 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. Journal 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 how you feel or what you want rather than blaming the other person.
- Remove yourself when things aren't healthy. This is especially helpful with is addiction or angry outbursts.
Letting Go of the Results
Setting limits increases self-esteem and creates healthier relationships. However, there are times when it doesn't happen that way. Sometimes, partners feel threatened and react negatively when boundaries are new. This happens with issues of power and control, or codependency. If you want help with anger and communication, check out my free 5 day email course.
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 makes you feel more connected in relationships. People will have more respect for you because you're 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!
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