As women, setting boundaries isn’t always easy. Naturally, we want to nurture, give and self-sacrifice for others. This can cause us to have issues around boundaries because we might feel bad, feel guilty for not pleasing others, or we may even feel shame. But setting boundaries is important for self-care. This is because it allows us to feel honored, respected and appreciated.
Living life and being able to see the gift in even the most difficult situations is a way to become more self-aware and aligned in our emotions and thoughts. This is your life. You are responsible for the quality of your life and for your suffering. Setting boundaries is a way to give you more balance and take charge of your needs and help support and give love to your emotions, feelings and thoughts.
Remember, just because you establish to someone what you need, doesn’t make you a bad person. There are kind ways to say no and it shows that you are not a doormat. Learn some healthy ways to say “no”, and start honoring your needs today.
Skills Needed to Create Effective Boundaries
Better Understand Your Values
Understand what you love and don’t love. Get a sense for what you have time for and what you don’t. This comes down to getting real with your values. If you don’t honor your values, the consequence is feeling bad about yourself because there is just too much self-sacrifice. You may end up feeling like you are giving and not getting enough back. This is why you need to list out your values and stay true to them. This will help you find a way to better balance. Don’t rely on others to do it for you, as you are in charge of your balance, not them.
Learn How to Say “No” in Loving Ways
How can we successfully express our needs, say “no,”, and be assertive without offending others? Let’s say you value sticking to your schedule and today you are packed. As an example, a friend asks “Can you come meet me for happy hour today?” Instead of saying yes right away and re-doing your entire schedule, be comfortable saying “I would love to meet up, but that doesn’t work for me. Can we circle back and see if instead we can meet later this week and find a time that works for both of us?” This starts out positive. You keep it short and to the point. As an individual, you are staying true to your values. You offer an alternative.
Practice to Confront in a Loving Way
The idea is the person on the receiving end is to not feel abandoned or left out in the cold. The idea is to still help them feel cared for. Even though you might say “no” more, you can still do it in a loving way by coming from a vulnerable place.
Allow people the space and time to develop themselves. Growth can happen when you are available to one another. There has to be a level of acceptance. Nobody wants to feel dismissed. There are ways to turn someone down in a loving way.
- “I’m not available this time, but thank you so much for asking.”
- “It’s not really my thing, but I wouldn’t mind trying/doing X.”
- “I’m flattered that you asked, but for personal reasons I’m not in a situation where I can take this on right now. Let’s touch base in a month.”
- “That won’t work for me right now, but I’ll get back to you if anything changes.”
- “I really appreciate you thinking of me, but I’ve just got too much on my plate right now. Can we try for this weekend?”
- “I wish I could, but as a rule, I don’t…[insert your values].”
- “My focus is on my goals and dreams right now. I know you understand how that is. Let’s talk more about this next week.”
It is important to be intentional about practicing boundaries. You can try with your friends first, then try on your partner. From a neuroscience perspective, the more you practice and teach yourself how to be loving when you say “no”, you start retraining your brain.
When we accept others, we are valuing their needs. Every healthy relationship entails respecting one another’s boundaries. Having a tantrum with someone’s personal freedom and needs is not healthy. One tip is to step back and see where you may be controlling others. Boundaries are not intended to be a form of manipulation or control. But instead, a way to honor your needs. It is really that simple. It is important to shift the idea of control. Instead of trying to control others, take charge and control your own life.
Understand the Fears Around Setting Boundaries
It is so important to know your preferences, desires, limits and deal breakers. Once you are clear with these things, then it is a matter of communicating these effectively with others.
- Rejecting people
- Saying no all the time
- Being mean
- Fear of conflict
- Afraid of being selfish
Because of these fears, women especially, tend to become people pleasers and end up not setting limits, or speak up. We were taught to be nice and please others. But you can learn to become your own boundary boss.
How to Deal if Someone is Upset
If someone is upset, it can be easy to react to their response to you. You may have fear that you might lose the relationship if you let someone down or disappoint them. You might have fear around someone getting angry if you are setting boundaries. As we learn more about ourselves though and stay true to our values, we will learn to face our fears and insecurities with confidence. We will begin using the variety of tools within us to take back our life. But overall, by better serving yourself, you are actually better serving others. You will immediately start to understand how your life should be free of obligation, fear, pressure, and pain.
How to Release Guilt About Putting Boundaries in Place
Guilt is a gift that keeps on giving. Naturally, we don’t want to hurt others, but we don’t want to let fear drive our decisions.
Imagine a life where you set your own rules and only do what you truly want to do. A life where you are immune to outside pressures, and don’t feel responsible for people’s emotions and feelings. A life where you are free to speak, think, and do what you want. Don’t neglect your own needs. It isn’t selfish to take responsibility for your life and values, and doesn’t make you a mean person. It just helps others understand more about who you are.
Empathy takes energy. We waste a lot of energy staying in our comfortable self-made life. Find out what you love and discover your passions. Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.