Setting Boundaries 101

Over the past few years of motherhood and being on my own personal healing journey, I have learned that boundaries are essential to my daily life with my children and I. Boundaries don't have to be associated with the negative. The way that I view boundaries is simple, you are setting the tone for how others should treat you. When you set boundaries, you are the one in control of your life.

Setting boundaries can be difficult. Especially when it comes to family and friends. However, it doesn't have to be. Here are some tips that I’ve learned that have helped me stay firm on my boundaries in a respectful way.

5 steps to setting boundaries

  1. Be clear about what you want
  2. Be direct and don’t apologize for your needs
  3. Expect resistance but don’t let it deter you
  4. Remember that setting boundaries is an on-going process
  5. Set boundaries for your own well being, not to control others

Know your boundaries

Boundaries should be based on your values or the things that are important to you. Your boundaries are yours, and yours alone. Your boundaries may align with those that are close to you or they may not. Know your boundaries before entering a situation, this makes it less likely that you’ll do something you’re not totally comfortable with.

What to say

Remember that you ALWAYS have the right to say “no”. When doing so, make sure to express yourself clearly without apologizing or feeling guilty for your needs so there is no doubt about what you want/need.

  • “I’m not comfortable with this”
  • “Please don’t do that”
  • “Not at this time”
  • “I can’t do that for you”
  • “This doesn’t work for me”
  • “I’ve decided not to”
  • “This is not acceptable”
  • “I’m drawing the line at _____”
  • “I don’t want to do that”

What to do

  • Use confident body language
    Make eye contact, face the other person, and use a steady tone of voice.
  • Be respectful
    Try to avoid yelling, giving the silent treatment or giving put-downs. It’s more than okay to be firm but you also want to be respectful.
  • Plan ahead
    Think about what you want to say and how you’d like to say it. Setting boundaries in the moment can be difficult so planning ahead can make it easier.
  • Compromise
    Listen and consider the needs of the other person, when appropriate. You absolutely never have to compromise but give and takes are apart of a healthy relationship.

In my own healing journey, I have had to set boundaries with family members and friends. In the beginning, this seemed scary to me until I learned that you can set boundaries in a respectful way to teach others how to respect you and treat you.

Often times, we tip toe around others feelings. Wondering, ' does this seem rude?' or ' am I being offensive?' But, I have learned that you are you and your children best advocate, be vocal and set boundaries for what you want in this life. It will set the tone in your friendships and relationships and in the end be rewarding for both parties.

I hope that this helps you when setting your boundaries and staying firm on them!

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