When it comes to setting boundaries, many of us have a difficult time keeping them firm. They are a tricky aspect of relationships to navigate and can be incredibly intimidating.
But boundaries are absolutely key when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. Without them, you may not have a clear definition of what is and is not acceptable behavior. This can help you from being taken advantage of or disrespected. If you are struggling to set healthy boundaries with the people in your life, you are certainly not alone. Keep reading for a few helpful tricks for how you can set your own healthy boundaries.
1. Always be clear with your words.
This is one of the trickiest parts when it comes to setting boundaries. When you mince your words, you may do so to protect the other person’s feelings. This only makes things more confusing in the long run, though. When you beat around the bush, you make room for unnecessary confusion.
If someone does something to make you uncomfortable or crosses one of your boundaries, you need to be clear and direct with your words. Say exactly what you mean, clearly and with intention. This way, you can avoid misinterpretation. Remember, asking for what you need does not make you rude! It only makes you human.
2. Do not be afraid to say “no.”
Many people have a very difficult time saying no, especially when a loved one asks them a favor. When you overextend yourself, however, you only make yourself stressed out without need. Saying “no” does not make you a bad person.
You do not need to dive headfirst into saying no. Start small, and then work your way up to larger things. You are allowed to put your needs first! You are not being selfish, you are simply making sure that you are taking care of yourself. Telling people “no” will eventually feel like second nature and will empower you to stick up for yourself more often.
3. Be sure to follow through.
Now that you have put in the groundwork to set your boundaries, you have to continue to enforce them. Unfortunately, you are probably going to have to remind people several times of what you are or are not comfortable with. This will be a great chance to practice tips one and two! Be sure when you are enforcing your boundaries, you are being clear and direct, and do not be afraid to say “no.”
Honorable mention: Believe in yourself.
Although this may sound a little cheesy, I promise there is an important lesson here. If you do not believe in what you are saying and what you deserve, you will probably have a more difficult time keeping your boundaries. Recognize that you deserve what you are asking for, regardless of what it is or who it is from. You deserve your wants and needs met, especially when it comes to boundaries you create with the people in your life.
If your boundaries are crossed, do not ignore this for fear of making a situation awkward. You deserve respect, as do your boundaries. Speak up and have confidence in what you are asking for. Remember: we can’t always control if people decide to cross our boundaries, but we can control how we react and what we do afterwards.
If you do not find these tips are helping in your specific scenario, I really encourage you to seek a trained mental health professional so you can create a plan to create healthy boundaries in your life. I am happy to help you work through relationship roadblocks, be it with others or yourself. I hope you consider reaching out to me today for marriage counseling or relationship counseling.