1. Start to see your ‘No’s as an affirmative ‘Yes’ to your life! Every time you allow someone to cross a personal boundary you are giving them permission to keep on doing ‘whatever’ they are doing and saying to yourself that you do not deserve better.
2. Remember you are not being mean to anyone by setting boundaries. When you don’t set boundaries you are being mean to yourself instead. It is a great self-kindness to say: “No I do not accept ‘this’ anymore”.
3. Boundaries are actually a form of love. With children for example, boundaries give the child a sense of safety. If a child is given the free reign of the household and you set few boundaries they will ‘play up’ because they are unconsciously testing you the parent “Do you love me? Are you able to keep me safe? Can I trust you?” Spoilt children with no boundaries may grow up to feel unsafe as adults and unable to set boundaries for themselves when in adulthood.
4. In a relationship, if you do most of the housework and tend to the needs of your family and perhaps work also, it can be easy to feel resentful of your partner if it doesn’t feel they do their share, but if you don’t state your needs consistently you can’t really expect anything else. So don’t complain about a partner. Set boundaries and intentions instead.
5. No need to defend your decisions. If you attempt to set boundaries and try to make excuses for your decision to the other person, you are putting across a weak argument. Try simply stating: “This needs to change as it no longer works for me.” If they argue and it’s something that hasn’t changed in spite of asking, state again: “This no longer works for me. It needs to change”. And if they continue to argue, don’t argue back, just re-state: “This no longer works for me. It needs to change”. This is known as ‘The Broken Record’ technique. You don’t give the other person the opportunity to get you into a heated debate.
6. Know that those you are setting boundaries for will kick up a fuss in the beginning, but after a while will come to accept it. If they don’t they may not be meant to be in your life. (The exceptions being your children. You need to use the broken record technique here regularly until they settle into the new routine).
7. If someone is abusive or violent towards you and has been for some time and has chosen to not make any changes away from this behaviour after your requests, the best boundary for you is to get professional support, seek out a way to leave your partner and get to safety. You deserve respect, love and a safe environment to live in, like every human.
8. Don’t forget online boundaries too. It’s easy to get lost in the land of social media, but if someone is not respecting your boundaries, being intrusive, disturbing your sense of safety and peace, you have every right to say ‘No’. This way you are actually saying ‘Yes’ to you. So use the block function, mute tweets and posts, remove people from your circles and your communities. Do what is best for you and your own sense of safety.
9. Do not feel obliged to give gifts at Christmas, Birthdays, ‘end of term’ teacher gifts etc.. If you don’t want to or do not have the money it is loving to self to stop doing this practice. You never know, in the long run the other person may feel the same and doesn’t know how to get out of the sense of obligation involved in gift-giving.
10. That which is out of your control. Certain situations may be out of your control, noisy neighbours refusing to stop making noise, employers bullying you if you have no human resource department willing to help. You have two choices here, you can accept situations as they are (close windows, tune out noise, stand up for yourself), or you can choose to move to a new job, leave where you live. Sometimes boundaries involve simply removing ourselves from the person or situation.
Remember in the long run every empowering ‘No’ is an empowering ‘Yes’ to your life. You are saying:
“I matter! I deserve the best! And I deserve respect!”
For more insights on my own experience with boundary setting check out my recent post on Boundaries and Soft Centres HERE.
PLEASE BEAR IN MIND: Establishing boundaries is not trying to control another person. Ask yourself: Am I trying to set out healthy boundaries or simply trying to control someone’s behaviour through will or force?
Do you find it easy?
What prevents you setting boundaries in your life?