A brief recap on what I have been discussing for the past 2 weeks: healthy boundaries which are the imaginary lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and protect our bodies, minds, emotions, and time from the behaviour or demands of others.
They provide the framework to keep us from being used or manipulated by others, and they allow us to confidently express who we are and what we want in life.
Personal boundaries allow us to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives. I also defined the 5 types of personal boundaries which are physical. Mental, Spiritual, sexual, emotional… I also mentioned the effects of poor boundaries: Resentment, lose of self-respect, frustration and many more. If you missed out on last 2 weeks posts you can click on the links below There-is-nothing-wrong-in-saying-no-healthy-boundaries-part 1
Today the finale I will discuss ways to set healthy boundaries
(1)Change your perception
Begin with changing your perception that having personal boundaries is OK. It doesn’t mean you are selfish or unloving. It is both completely acceptable and absolutely necessary for healthy relationships. Understand that self-worth comes from defining your life as you want it to be, not from the acceptance or identity of others.
Sit down and reflect on how you have been allowing others to take advantage of you and how you might be accepting situations that are really unacceptable to you. Make a list of things that people may no longer do to you, say to you, or do around you. Decide how you need physical and emotional space. Define your values, belief system, and outlook on life so you have a clear picture of who you are and how you want to live. Get very clear on that.
(3)Tune into your feelings
Two key feelings in yourself that are red flags or cues that you are letting go of your boundaries are: discomfort and resentment.
Resentment usually “comes from being taken advantage of or not appreciated.” It’s often a sign that you are pushing yourself either beyond your own limits because you feel guilty (and want to be a good daughter or wife, for instance), or someone else is imposing their expectations, views or values on you. When someone acts in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s a cue that they may be violating or crossing a boundary
(4)Learn how to say NO
Rather than avoid it altogether like not picking your calls or avoiding the person, it’s all about learning the right way to say no.
(a)If you are too busy to entertain a request or offer… Let the person know your plate is full at the time, so he/she can hold off on this as well as future requests. You can reply by saying… “I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”
(b) Its common to get sudden requests for help when you are in the middle of something you can reply by saying “Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. How about we reconnect at so, so and so time?”
(C) Another gentle way of breaking “NO” to a person is by replying “I’d love to do this, but …” It’s encouraging as it lets the person know you like the idea (of course, only say this if you do like it) and there’s nothing wrong about it.
(d) If you are interested but you don’t want to say ‘yes’ just yet, you can reply by saying “Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.” This is more like a “Maybe” than a straight out “No”.
(e) If someone is pitching a deal/opportunity which isn’t what you are looking for, let him/her know straight-out that it doesn’t meet your needs you can reply by saying “This doesn’t meet my needs now but I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.” Otherwise, the discussion can drag on longer than it should.
(f) The simplest and most direct way to say no is saying “No, I can’t.” We build up too many barriers in our mind to saying no. these barriers are self-created and they are not true at all. Don’t think so much about saying no and just say it outright politely. You’ll be surprised when the reception isn’t half as bad as what you imagined it to be.
(5)Make self-care a priority.
Make self-care a priority, which also involves giving yourself permission to put yourself first. When we do this, “your need and motivation to set boundaries become stronger; Self-care also means recognizing the importance of your feelings and honouring them. These feelings serve as “important cues about your wellbeing and about what makes you happy and unhappy.” Putting yourself first also gives you the “energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there” for them.” And “When you are in a better place, you can be a better wife, mother, husband, co-worker or friend.”
Of course, we know that it’s not enough to create boundaries; we actually have to follow through. Even though we know intellectually that people aren’t mind readers, we still expect others to know what hurts us, since they don’t, it’s important to assertively communicate with the other person when they’ve crossed a boundary. In a respectful way, let the other person know what in particular is bothersome to you and that you can work together to address it.
Like any new skill, assertively communicating your boundaries takes practice. Start with close friends, family members and kids … If you have had weak personal boundaries for years, be aware that this change doesn’t happen overnight. Disengaging from the emotions and beliefs that led you to weak boundaries requires practice, and sometimes it requires the support of a counsellor. Remember it is a journey…
Believe in yourself and your value as a unique individual who is worthy of love and respect. Trust your instincts and feelings about what you do and don’t want in your life. No one knows better than you who you are and what you desire. Don’t allow others to define that for you. Practice self-confidence and self-love until it feels natural. Setting and requiring boundaries is a great way to practice this.
Food for thought
When you define and implement personal boundaries in your life, you will find that fear diminishes significantly. You will feel more empowered and self-confident because you are communicating your self-worth to those around you. The more you practice holding fast to your boundaries, the more love, respect, and support you will find in your life.
Till next time…