For many people it can be hard to set boundaries. You may have grown up in a family without boundaries or perhaps in a family with overly rigid boundaries.
The biggest obstacle in learning to set boundaries is that you can’t set a boundary and take care of another person’s feeling at the same time. Many people make their decisions based on how others will feel and react rather than on what is best for them. That is not a healthy way to live. No one is responsible for another person’s feelings.
Here are some suggestions on learning to set boundaries.
- Just start somewhere. Set a boundary with the salesperson on the phone or with someone where there are not a lot of emotions attached.
- Be simple, clear, and use a neutral tone of voice.
- Be firm and do not apologize, you have the right to take care of yourself.
- If there is push back on the boundary, just firmly restate the boundary. Don’t get defensive and try not to get upset, just keep re-stating your boundary.
- If you haven’t been good at setting boundaries before you may feel some anxiety as you learn to do so. Keep setting them and the anxiety will lessen.
- Setting boundaries may lead to an ending or shifting of certain relationships. People in your life that are accustomed to you not setting boundaries will push back. If they cannot adapt to you asserting your needs than you may need to evaluate the relationship and its role in your life.
- If you set a boundary make sure you keep it. Setting boundaries and then not honoring them sends a mixed message.
Making positive changes for you can be work, but not setting boundaries can lead to living a life with a lot of resentment.
Let me know if you have any other ideas on how to best set boundaries.