HOW DO I SET BOUNDARIES WITH OTHERS?
Last week, we worked through the importance of setting boundaries with others and self. By doing so, you will better protect yourself from people who might take advantage of you or even harm you physically or emotionally. You will also create structure in your own life to manage your balance and wellness.
It can be difficult to know and understand how to set them, especially if you are already in unhealthy relationships or imbalanced emotionally. We fear rejection, offending others, or pushing others away. However, ironically, healthy people appreciate boundaries and set them as well. One who don’t will always bring chaos into your life.
So where do you start? Here are a few ways to create and enforce boundaries that are critical to your health and wellness (remember these boundaries are influenced by your personal morals, needs, and standards):
- Clarify and specify the boundary to both yourself and others.
- Remember boundaries define your right to being human and to be treated as a human being with rights to happiness and wellness, which is core to your existence.
- Carefully consider the boundary issue and define what is acceptable and unacceptable to self and others.
- Create a script to express and communicate the boundary to others.
- When someone pushes or crosses a boundary, reinforce the boundary by asking for his/her help in maintaining that boundary.
- When a person continues to push and violate your boundary, ask firmly but politely for the behavior to stop.
- As you do, show kindness and respect to model how you would like that person to treat you.
- If the behavior continues, consider what further action or new boundary is appropriate to stop the behavior and hold your boundary. Using an “If/Then” statement can be useful. “If you can’t talk to me in a respectful manner, then I’m going have to stop talking with you and leave the room (or ask you to leave the room) until you can.”
- Remain calm while requesting a person to honor and respect your boundaries. Regulate emotions accordingly; deep breathing, grounding, and the like.
- Thank people who honor and respect your boundaries.
- Always seek to understand and honor the boundaries of others.
These are just a few concrete things to consider as you work to create and set boundaries. Remember, some people are simply incapable of following boundaries. Patience and persistence is the key. If a person is unable to eventually learn to honor and respect your boundaries, that person may not need to be in your life.
Try practicing with loved ones, who understand first. As you succeed, you will feel more confident and learn most people won’t reject you for it. If they do, the hard truth is that you are probably better off without them.
Good luck as you begin setting boundaries! Reach out to me if you need help in this area. I’d be happy to help!