Learning to Set Boundaries
Don’t rush into the process of setting boundaries. Instead, remain calm, take a deep breath and take time to identify your emotions. Realize your feelings are always valid and you have a right to uphold them, even if other people don’t agree. Consider the following points, which may help you establish healthy boundaries:
- Keep in mind that healthy boundaries are fair and realistic.
- Don’t allow your emotions to determine your boundaries. Doing so will weaken your boundaries and allow you to be manipulated by other people.
- Don’t give in to feelings of shame and fear. It’s normal to feel guilty if you have a habit of people-pleasing, but guilt is usually a good sign that you’re headed in the right direction.
- Establish boundaries based on your own needs and values – not your need to please others. People-pleasing means you are willing to allow yourself to be manipulated or abused.
- Once you have established your boundaries, be kind, firm and consistent, but stick to the guidelines you have established. Eventually, people will learn to respect your limits.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. Practice being assertive, which gets easier with time.
- Remember that you are responsible for your own feelings, and that you can’t control the feelings or behavior of other people. Don’t take it personally when people disagree with the boundaries you have established.
- Expect pushback from others, especially at first. Don’t argue or make threats when people refuse to respect your boundaries. If necessary, walk away or tell the person you can talk about it later, when you (or they) are calmer.
- Trust your instincts when something doesn’t feel right. In time, you will learn to identify quickly when your boundaries have been crossed.
- Always respect the boundaries of others, even if they are polar opposites of your own.