Do you ever feel like people take advantage of you? Do you often get the feeling that your relationships are one-sided? You may have a problem with setting boundaries in your life. Don’t stress… I have tips to help you fix that!
I’ve been right where you are… I spent most of my adult life letting others walk all over me. And, I know first hand that not having boundaries doesn’t help your mental health either. Real talk.
This post will have the basics of setting and keeping boundaries in relationships – whether it’s with your significant other, your friends, family, or even with your colleagues at work.
Are you ready to start setting boundaries? Keep reading…
Healthy boundaries build solid relationships
Think of setting boundaries as a way to make your relationships stronger, rather than thinking they are walls made to keep people out.
People who truly love and care for you will understand that they’re not always made to be a priority for you. By knowing when to put yourself first or say “no” to things that don’t align with who you are and what you want, you will also create a healthy relationship with yourself. Once I stared doing this, I swear the stress started to melt away. It was life changing and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If someone constantly tries to push your boundaries, even after you’ve made them clear, it’s time to reassess your relationship with that person. It’s hard, but pushing boundaries is a major red flag, not just in romantic relationships, but also every single relationship you have.
Know that you have a right to boundaries
Drawing boundaries doesn’t make you a bad person. It actually makes you stronger.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for our actions and feelings, and while it is absolutely amazing to offer a helping hand to those you care about, you have to understand that you have every right to choose yourself first. #loveyourself
Here are five things to keep in mind:
- You have the right to be treated with respect.
- Your needs are just as important as anyone else’s.
- If you don’t have the emotional space to support someone, it’s okay to say no.
- You have the right to say no without feeling guilty.
- No is a complete sentence.
Assertiveness helps us set boundaries with a firm hand, without necessarily being rude or blaming the other. An assertive statement uses clear, non negotiable language.
An example of an assertive sentence is: “I feel ____ when you ____ because _____. I would really like it if _____.”
I know that’s it may be hard for you to say something like this at first, so try practicing in the mirror before you bring it up to whomever you need to say it to.
Give yourself permission to say “no”
“No” is a complete sentence.
If being assertive with “I statements” doesn’t work out, know that a simple “no” will suffice. It can be tempting to give long explanations as to why you’re choosing to set a boundary, but it isn’t a must.
Examples: If a stranger offers you a drink at a bar, you can choose to simply say “no” rather than explain to them that you’re in a relationship or you don’t drink (or that you simply don’t like them). Another great example is when a co-worker asks you to cover their shift but you know you’ll be busy that day or you simply don’t feel like it.
Trust your gut
The phrase “trust your gut” is common wisdom used on the daily, but what many don’t realize is that it does actually have a scientific background!
Our bodies are constantly scanning our surroundings without us even realizing, and research has shown that our gut health has a lot to do with our psychology.
If a person or situation doesn’t feel right, trust yourself, and know that it’s okay to walk away. Your instincts are always working, and they’ll help you determine when someone is pushing your boundaries and when it’s time to draw one.
Determine your values
My values are very much related to the boundaries I’ve set in my life. What may be a big issue for you might be no biggy for someone else, but that fact alone does not mean that you’re overreacting to a situation.
Identify your core values and list them, if possible. Then, reflect on how those values align with your current relationships and even work boundaries.
A perfect example of this applies to the current situation happening in the world. For me, going out to meet friends during a pandemic is a big no-no, but a friend of mine didn’t see a big deal out of it and kept inviting me to gatherings. At first, I’d just make up excuses, but she’d continue insisting I join. I knew right then it was time to make my boundaries clear and put myself first!
How good are you at setting boundaries? Is there something you’d like to improve?