How To Start Setting Boundaries
Learning how to set boundaries has a huge impact on relationships.
When you know how to communicate your needs clearly, relationships deepen and become more authentic. You feel empoweed because you're taking care of yourself. Boundaries are about understanding 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 that you stop giving, but the goal is doing it in moderation.
First you need to know what boundaries are not. See if you can relate to these.
- Boundaries are about getting someone else to change. This often leads to more frustration and relationship stress.
- You assume that people won't like it if you set boundaries. 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 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 but the more you practice, the easier it gets. Journal writing can provide the clarity to identify wants and needs.
Here are some simple boundaries to start.
- Instead of people pleasing, add your own 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 with codependent relationships. If you want help with anger and communication, check out my free 5 day email course.
If your partner cannot respect your 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. Realizing that your relationships aren't serving you is the first step towards changing them.
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 these changes.
Speaking up and establishing limits can make you feel more connected to yourself. Boundaries are an invitation for self-care. People will respect 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!
I’ve created a private resource library including 20 Ways to Detach When You Need A Break and 15 Steps to Setting Healthy Boundaries plus lots more relationship tips!