As I discussed in my previous blog, Setting Boundaries Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult, having a good sense of your values, your needs, and what’s important to you will help you in your journey of setting boundaries.
Setting boundaries is essential to having healthy relationships with friends, family & colleagues. Unfortunately, this is a skill that is rarely taught. Sure, we may pick up some skills here and there, through observation and experience, but boundary-building is a relatively new skill for most of us.
Here are six ways to start boundary-building:
One Step at a Time
Setting boundaries doesn’t have to be difficult, but it can seem overwhelming to start, especially if you feel uncomfortable stating your needs.
Take a look at the next few tips and start where you feel comfortable. Maybe the easiest task is writing a list of boundaries you need to set, or perhaps you want to start by practicing self-awareness. Whichever feels the best to you, that’s where you should begin. Practice every day and when you feel more comfortable, come back to this list and choose the next tip you want to tackle.
Identify Your Limits
Before you start trying to approach others with your list of boundaries, it’s best to get a grasp of what it is you need to set in place. Find a quiet, private space to write down the different areas of your life in which you need to apply some boundaries.
When you do this, think about all your limits. What are your physical, mental, & emotional boundaries? These are the boundaries that are most often crossed, so it’s important to know where you stand on each one.
Give Yourself Permission
Before you can expect others to respect your boundaries, you need to respect your own boundaries. It’s really easy for us to let fear and self-doubt creep in and change our minds about our boundaries. We allow for exceptions too easily to avoid dealing with possible conflict.
Unfortunately, this leads to feeling drained or being taken advantage of. That’s why it’s so important for us to value ourselves and develop self-respect so that we can build healthy relationships.
Part of giving yourself permission to set boundaries is practicing self-awareness. Like I said before, there are times when we let our boundaries slide a bit. In this case, take some time to reflect on why things changed. What did you feel at that moment? What body language were you reacting to? Why did you react the way you did?
Now, think about how you could do it differently next time, and if anything needs to be done to rectify the situation.
Putting yourself first gives you a reason to set boundaries. You might think to yourself, “Why do I deserve to set boundaries for myself?” And the answer is simple. Ultimately, if you neglect your mental or physical health, you won’t be able to sustain energy levels to help you from day to day with your family, friends, and colleagues. You may notice a decline in productivity or in self-esteem. Both can have a huge impact on your life.
So, it’s important to think about how to provide yourself with some self-care during your day. It often starts with giving yourself permission to take a break, rest, and stating your needs clearly.
This leads us to being congruent with others. With some people we need to be as clear and direct as possible. Yes, we all have friends and family who understand us just by looking at us, but this isn’t always the case.
Some people need for you to clearly state how they can respect your boundaries, so that they don’t accidentally cross them, while others may push back on your boundaries. It’s really important in these cases to be respectful but direct when letting that person know where the line is.
If you are finding it hard to be congruent when someone is pushing your boundaries, take some time to go back to your self-awareness practice.
I hope these tips can help you on your journey to setting more boundaries. To help you prioritize self-care today, here is an 8-minute meditation you can do to center yourself.
Keep living your truth,