When someone oversteps a boundary, it can feel uncomfortable and frustrating. Setting boundaries is a crucial skill that many of us are yet to learn. To help you strengthen your boundary-setting superpower, here are five ways you can build and maintain healthy personal boundaries.
If you’re looking for someone to honour your boundaries, you’ll need to put them into practice. Unfortunately, people can’t read minds. So, to help you communicate your boundaries, you’ll need to learn how to speak up when something or someone has crossed a line. You can do this by assertively communicating how you feel by using “I statements.” Here’s an example: I feel ___ because ____.
Learn to say no
This is easier said than done, but learning to understand that “No” is a complete sentence is crucial to learning how to respect your own boundaries. It’s also not necessary to provide any information as to why you’re saying no. According to licensed marriage and family therapist Steven Reigns: “Sometimes assertiveness isn’t needed for boundary setting as much as personal tolerance for being uncomfortable.”
Making self-care a priority will help foster the healthy habit of putting yourself first. When we learn to take care of ourselves, our need to protect our boundaries become stronger. Along with this, there are also endless benefits to taking time out for yourself, including feeling well-rested, re-energized, and present. These benefits ensure that we are the best version of ourselves and allow us to be present for those around us too.
Don’t be afraid to lean on someone
If you’re struggling to set boundaries, and it may be affecting your mental health, finding support in your community through therapy or healthy friends is a great idea. When it comes to family or friends, this can also be an excellent way to hold each other accountable when setting, respecting and maintaining boundaries.
Take baby steps
Learning to communicate your boundaries is a daunting task and no easy feat. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself. Choose a small boundary that you are looking to overcome and then slowly work your way up to bigger ones. According to Healthline, “setting boundaries takes courage, practice and support.” Celebrate the small victories and slowly build on your success, avoiding anything that may leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.