How To Set Boundaries

Five steps to get clear on how to start standing up for yourself. Stop being a people pleaser, getting exhausted from doing more things than you’d like. Start saying no with grace and ease.

 

If you’re a people pleaser, exhausted from doing things you don’t want to or you are scared of saying no, this is for you. I am going to share with you five steps to get clear on what’s ok or not ok FOR YOU and how to start standing up for yourself.


Step #1 BE OBSERVANT

Notice the times you give in, i.e., whenever you say yes when you’d instead say no. There’s a difference between giving in and giving from a place of balance. When you give from a place of balance, you feel at peace with your decision, you are aware of the gains and the losses, and you are ok with both. To identify when you give in, look for signs of resentment, fear, shame or guilt. These four feelings are your signals your boundaries are not respected, and there’s a lack of balance in the relationship.

Make a list of these events and decide what’s ok and what’s not ok FOR YOU. Your yes’s and no’s make your boundaries. Your list might sound like this:

It’s ok to contribute to the expenses in this apartment.
It’s not ok to pay more than my part.

It’s ok if you tell me when I did something different than what we had agreed.
It’s not ok to yell at me or belittle me.

By being mindful and watching for the four emotions – resentment, fear, shame, guilt – you are getting clarity on where your boundaries are in each relationship.


Step #2 PAUSE before answering

Train yourself to create a space between the other person’s request and your answer. This strategy will stop you from saying yes automatically.

The automatic yes brings much frustration to you because you commit to doing more things than you can, or that don’t bring you joy at all.

Give yourself permission to think and decide.

Say:

“Thank you for asking. I will give you my answer in two hours.”

Or

“Thank you for asking, I will let you know my answer once I check something in my calendar.”


Step #3 COMMUNICATE THE BOUNDARIES

This step is, I guess, the scariest and most challenging step in this process, for most of the people. There is this fear of the other person’s reaction and a lack of inspiration when it comes to choosing the words. Here are some examples of wording that I hope you can customize and use in as many situations as possible:

It’s ok to request me something.
It’s not ok to demand or hint to unpleasant consequences.

I can do that once I finish this task. That means in 2 hours.

I don’t…
I don’t take work calls on weekends.
I don’t like you talking about my weight.

I can’t commit to that right now.

This is important to me.
Respect is essential to me.
Rest is vital for me to focus at work.

There are three crucial things in communicating your boundaries:

First, COMMUNICATE with GRACE and KINDNESS. You set boundaries to protect your most valuable resources – time, energy, money, and values -, not to punish the other person.
“I am not interested. Please delete my information from your database.” – This limit is for any unsolicited phone call from various people who want to sell you something.
However, you can say this in a harsh tone of voice or in a firm but a kind one.

Second, RESIST volunteering an explanation or apology. Just don’t, especially if it’s not their business. The more you speak, the more information you offer the other person to bring objections.

Third, COMMUNICATE your boundaries as early as possible in any relationship. The earlier, the better for everyone. Strive to be as honest as possible with yourself and others.


STEP #4 EXPECT A REACTION

Moving 180 degrees from your usual behavior will be a surprise for people.

Some will be upset, disappointed. They had expectations of how you would answer. Understand it’s their right to feel what they feel. Make the distinction between respecting other’s needs and meeting them at the expense of your own.

Other people will be surprised, but they will understand where your “no” comes from and they will adjust immediately to the change.

Some people might be inspired by you and start setting their own boundaries. Imagine that!


STEP #5 GET AS MUCH SUPPORT AS POSSIBLE

Because setting boundaries and upholding them take much effort.
The support comes from a mix of friends, family, self-empathy, self-care, support groups, therapy.


I hope my process gives you some clarity and hope in being more decisive and bring more satisfaction in your interactions.

 

Navigate conflict with more confidence and ease, dissolve enemy images, ask for what you want.

You can build relationships in agreement with your values and needs.

It’s time to have better conversations and relationships. Find out how.

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