Setting boundaries in relationships is essential for your health and well-being. When you know your boundaries, you can protect yourself from getting hurt and you don’t let other people step over the line you set for yourself.
In this blog post, I’m going to give you a step-by-step approach on how to set healthy boundaries and feel more confident about your beliefs and values.
If you’re on the go, here’s an audio of this blog post:
Now, let’s get back to setting healthy boundaries.
What does it mean to have healthy boundaries in the first place? A boundary is ‘a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends.’
If you have loose boundaries and let other people step all over you, you are damaging yourself and your self-esteem.
To discover whether or not you have loose boundaries, ask yourself the following questions:
✔ Are you unable to say “no” when someone asks you for something?
✔ Do you feel resentful to people you’ve unwillingly said “yes” to?
✔ Do you need to distance or isolate yourself as a result?
✔ Overall, do you feel like people often take advantage of you—and you keep letting it happen over and over again?
If you do
1. Know Your Worth
When you focus too much on other people’s needs and wants, you will eventually let them cross your boundaries. If you often people please, it means you value other people’s opinions of you more than your opinion of yourself. The good news, you can change that.
To understand your worth and become aware of the treatment you deserve from others, you need to remember something very, very important: YOU ARE ENOUGH.
You are a human being doing the best you can under the circumstances you’re in. You deserve love, happiness, appreciation, and acceptance. Not only from
Don’t’ wait around for other people to give you clues about your worth. Own it! Be content with who you are, no matter what happens in your life. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this blog post.
2. Learn How to Be Assertive
Now that you know your worth and feel content with yourself, it’s time to learn to be assertive. It will take a little practice, but with patience and persistence, you’ll get better and better at standing your ground.
When you’re in a situation where somebody tries to overstep your boundaries, acknowledge their point of view and, in a calm but firm manner, disagree. For example, a close friend of mine once asked me: how do I set healthy boundaries with my parents? This is what I told her:
If one of your parents guilts you into thinking that you’re not being a “good” daughter by telling you that if you “really loved them” you would have called them every day, stand your ground. Say, in a calm and assertive tone:
“I understand your point of view, But calling you every day is something I’m not really comfortable with. I love you very much but, I need to have my privacy. Which means I want to call you when I really have something to talk about, instead of feeling obliged to do so. I hope you understand.”
That’s assertiveness: affirming your position without being overly responsive to the other person. Of course, if they don’t agree with you, you can always hang up or simply tell them that you’ll continue the conversation when they’ve calmed down.
3. Take Responsibility for Your Actions
If you want other people to respect your boundaries, you need to respect yourself first. I want you to answer these questions for yourself, they’re very important:
✔ Do you look for ways to get out of responsibility?
✔ Do you blame others if you make a mistake?
✔ Are you uncomfortable admitting when you did something wrong?
You may be ready to assert yourself, but are you ready to take responsibility for your choices?
Taking responsibility is not a walk in the park, I know, but it’s something that you need to do if you want to learn how to set healthy boundaries. When you take responsibility for your own choices, other people will have a much harder time trying to manipulate you into changing your mind.
And remember, you are ONLY responsible for your feelings. Others are responsible for their own. When you’re in a heated argument, stop trying to convince them to think, feel, or be like you. Instead, let them be
4. Separate Yourself from Others
Loose boundaries are a problem for people who don’t know how to keep themselves separate from others. Here’s what I mean by that:
Generally, there are two kinds of dependencies between people:
✔ Interdependency, which is the healthy kind. We trust each other and help each other out, while each of us focuses on their own life and well-being.
✔ Codependency, which, you guessed it, is the unhealthy kind. This is when you can’t do — or feel like you can’t do — anything without the explicit permission or approval from the person you are codependent on.
More often than not, people with loose boundaries are codependent on someone else: financially, emotionally or physically. No matter what the case, you need to learn to depend on yourself as much as you can. I know it sounds a bit hard at first, but, trust me, it’s the choice you want to make for the long term.
The best way to separate yourself from others is to learn to spend some quality ME-time.
The time you spend alone can become your best friend once you start to perceive it as something that nourishes, energizes and centers you. If you’ve always been in the company of other people, try to slowly separate yourself and begin to do things that you like and find interesting.
Setting boundaries in relationships
It will probably be hard and painful, but what I can tell you from my own experience as a recovering people-pleaser, is that it does get better. You just have to learn to take proper care of yourself.
If you need my help, I’m here for you.
Before you go, please let me know in the comments below: Which one of these 4 tips are you going to try?