If you are anything like me, then there might have been a difficult time or perhaps moments in your life where you couldn’t say no or struggled in setting boundaries.
The boundary problems often pops up from our subconscious need to be a people pleaser. We want to support and make people happy. In between the juggle, we tend to forget about prioritizing the needs of our self. That’s where you need to set healthy boundaries in relationships and your life.
What are boundaries?
It’s a way of maintaining relationships with people. It determines how much do you want to interact and invest in the relationship.
It’s also about the comfort of sharing your physical and sexual intimacy, vulnerability, and spending time with people. Boundaries are not only limited to personal relationships. One must implement them in professional life too.
Setting boundaries in relationships will ensure respect and comfort. It also explains that your needs are valid as much as the other person’s.
Here’s a perspective that I want to share. The word boundary itself sounds like setting rules for other people in our lives.
It has little to do with anybody else but you. It’s like an agreement that you set it up for yourself.
How do you set the boundaries?
Setting boundaries can lead to saying no to situations that may make you feel uncomfortable. Many times, it can be emotionally draining, or about the things/people create unwanted drama in your life.
Has this happened with you, where there is a situation you want to say no to but end up saying yes to?
Been there, done that.
It’s essential to ask yourself why you said yes and why saying no was risky?
Are you worried about what people will think about you? Do you think they will call you out for not being supportive?
Sit with yourself and identify those patterns where you say no to the uncomfortable things.
There’s no doubt that saying no is difficult for some people. But, it’s an important life skill to learn and have when setting boundaries.
Here are some tips on setting boundaries in your personal and professional relationship.
Reflect on Relationships
Think about all the relationships you have with the people you spend time with. How does it make you feel?
This is the first step of fixing your boundaries. Think about all the relations and identify whether it brings positive or negative emotions.
Do you think that the other person is prioritizing their needs and neglecting yours? Do you think there’s more compromise from your side? Do you find yourself doing things out of obligation when there are already too many things on your plate?
Be it a professional or personal relationship, and the aim is to balance, hear the needs, and establish respect towards each other.
Now that you have discovered the boundary problem, it’s time to talk about it to the respective person. Often we make scenarios in our head and assume being on the same page.
You might be crossing the line and didn’t know about it. Therefore, it’s essential to have an open discussion and communicate about what is affecting you. Make sure to have these conversations periodically to improve the comfort level.
Yes, it will be overwhelming, but that does not mean not be there for yourself. It’s all about practice. Also, check-in frequently in a proactive way to feel heard, valued, and respected.
Willing To Keep Up
Establishing the boundaries and working on them is only half the battle. Stick to your boundaries if one is overstepping it. Do not compromise and let things slide.
Alongside, set the boundaries only if you are willing to keep up. Be vocal about your feelings and stick to them. If you feel at one moment that the boundaries have differed, then have a discussion.
Remember, if you don’t respect your own boundaries, then the people will unfollow them too. So, always show up for yourself.
It’s hard to say no and set boundaries for your emotional well-being. Feeling guilt is a common emotion you will be experiencing, especially among people pleasers.
Those who are setting the boundaries for the first time may feel the urge not to let down anyone. Here’s where the role of self-care comes into practice.
Without any guilt, putting yourself first will take a conscious effort. But in the long run, it’s only beneficial for yourself and boosts up confidence.
Everything requires practice. Learning to say no politely and boundaries will not happen overnight.
It will be a tad difficult because you might have never prioritized yourself and ignored your own needs.
Try to set an intention of creating boundaries for safe space in your life. The practice of saying no. As much as the word NO sounds negative, people do not take it personally.
With this, you will believe in yourself in setting the boundaries.
Since we are setting boundaries, there will be times that you will experience counter-reactions like anger or disappointment from the people.
Many times there will not be a pleasant reaction that might make you doubt your choices and boundaries. However, the key here is to stay firm in maintaining the boundaries that you have implemented.
Here are some examples of communicating boundaries and saying NO in a polite way at work and in personal life.
“Thank you for considering me. I have to run errands hence won’t be able to visit. “
“I won’t be available by phone/text after working hours.”
“Please do not speak to me about parenting. It’s something I am not comfortable talking about. “
“I know you need help with this case study, but I cannot as I have tasks to complete before the deadline. “
“Thanks for the suggestions for the upcoming project. I would appreciate it if you could think over mine, too, so that we both are on the same page. “
“No, I will not be able to make it. “
“Let me check my calendar first, and then I can get back to you.”
“I understand you need my inputs. With things on my plate currently, it would be difficult to attend. Perhaps I can show up when you are discussing my area of expertise, or one of my team members can be involved and assist you.”
“I understand you want commitment. I am not looking for a romantic relationship right now. It would be better if you did not continuously ask me out on a date.”
“I am not interested in developing physical intimacy.”
“Hey, lately, we have been going through some rough times in our relationship. Can we talk about it to clear out the misunderstandings? “
“I cannot lend you money this time.”
The above mentioned are a few statements you can try at your workplace or at home.
Guilt is a human emotion that will pop up again and again when you set boundaries and say NO.
Keep practicing it, and you will be more confident in the most effective way. Remember, you are worth it. If there’s an emotional, physical, or mental toll, you have every right to say no. You are choosing and honoring yourself to shine more.