Now that we’ve talked about why you should set boundaries and what gets in the way of you doing it, let’s talk specifics. How do you actually go about beginning the process of setting boundaries? I’m so glad you asked 😊. Here is a look at what you want to consider as you begin setting boundaries:
Knowing when a boundary is needed
Pay attention to your feeling. In particular, notice where resentment or discomfort is showing up. These feelings are cues that something is off. They are also often the first signs that your boundaries are being violated.
Notice when you are experiencing an energy drain. That energy drain is a sign that your boundaries may be too fluid. It’s an opportunity to get curious and see what changes you may need to make.
Listen to your body – there is wisdom there and your body will ALWAYS tell you the truth. Pay attention to elevated heart rate, increased breathing or shortness of breath, shallow breathing, sweating, tightness in the chest, a lump in your stomach. If you have any of those bodily responses when around someone or in certain situations, a boundary may be needed.
Before you begin
Before setting your boundaries, you need to get clear about your values. Your values will act as a filter for what you will and will not do. They help you discern the non-negotiables in your life. See boundaries as a way for you to honor and show respect to yourself in honoring your values. Remember you cannot give to another (in this case respect) what you can’t first give to yourself.
You also need to decide what will and will not work for you. To discover this list, I encourage you to look back over the list above for how the body is responding. Your body is giving you information about the kinds of circumstances that are or are not good for you. Use it as a guidepost for what will or will not work for you.
Give yourself permission to set these boundaries. Your boundaries allow you to stay in integrity with yourself and be generous with others. Holding strong boundaries is a gift you give to yourself and the people around you. Give yourself permission to hold this gift close to you.
How to set a boundary
Get clear about WHY you need to set a boundary. Knowing your why will ground you especially as this may be uncomfortable for you.
Be direct and use simple words. This allows your message to come through with clarity and no room for confusion. This clarity is why I encourage you to avoid explaining yourself. If you start using too many words, what you want to say may get lost.
Use I-statements to be clear about what will and will not work for you. It is okay for you to focus on your needs. Without healthy boundaries, you cannot be of service to the people in your life. We give to others from our overflow; not by emptying our own cups.
Practice saying no. It’s a small word that packs a big punch. I also encourage you to try saying no without an explanation. For example, “No, I’m not available.” “I’m sorry I can’t do that for you.” This will be SUPER hard and yet it’s an important part of this work.
This is not easy AND it is necessary work. You cannot be the best version of yourself without healthy boundaries.
As you begin implementing your boundaries, I strongly encourage you to have a support system around you. Find one or two trusted people in your life who can be there for you.
Some people won’t like that you’re setting boundaries with them. They may respond with anger, hostility, or a cold shoulder. Having trusted people around you will anchor you when you are tempted to give in to those reactions.
Approach all of this as an experiment. Start small and progress from there. What is one small boundary you can set that doesn’t feel too scary? Start there. I believe in you!
Here’s to you setting boundaries and rising into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
P.S: If you struggle with setting boundaries and would like support and guidance, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary call with me. On this call, we’ll get clear about what it is you really want for yourself, what is standing in your way, and what it will take to move you from where you are to where you want to be. Schedule your free call now.