Two weeks ago I talked about some boundaries I set for myself in 2019 and how they shaped my year. Now I’d like to dive a little deeper and talk about 5 great ways to set boundaries.
Below, I’ve listed 5 simple ways to set boundaries, however, you are not limited to just these 5 steps. I chose to start off with just 5 because setting boundaries can be a daunting task and I didn’t want to overwhelm any of you. Just like my first step says, we’re going to start small!
AWAY WE GO!
1. Start small – don’t bite off more than you can chew
When setting boundaries it’s always best to start small. Have you ever taken a bite too big to chew? What usually happens? You choke. You spit some out. It hurts your throat when you swallow. A whole mess ensues. What are some small boundaries you can start off with? The easiest one that comes to mind for me is just saying “no”. There are times in our lives when we’re stressed or emotionally unavailable and it’s ok to say no to doing something or having a conversation with someone. Another small boundary you can set is not allowing yourself to have negative self talk, especially if you don’t stick to your boundary. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to slowly start setting boundaries and don’t quit just because you messed up. When you have negative self-talk, try to be conscious and aware of it and flip the script. Once you do that, you’ll notice you have a much more positive outlook on life and boundaries are easier to set.
2. Be conscious with your feelings and practice self awareness
Getting in touch with your feelings is pretty essential to the whole process. When certain situations arise, how do they make you feel? When I say “how do they make you feel” I’m referring to both emotional and physical aspects. Do you feel happy, sad, anxious, mad, relieved, supported, hurt, scared, negative, positive, confused? Do you have an upset stomach, do the muscles in your back get tight, does your head feel fuzzy, do you feel paralyzed like you can’t move, do you have too much energy, are you talking fast, do you feel like your brain is running a mile a minute? These are all red or green flags your body and mind give you instinctually to help guide you through any given situation. You need to be able to tap into these emotions and figure out how they translate physically in your body. By doing so, you’ll be able to navigate through setting boundaries much easier. Take these things into consideration, map out how you feel, and decide how to set boundaries from there. It might mean not going to a certain event or participating in an activity. It might mean spending less time with a friend who sucks your energy. It may be simply saying no to a conversation with someone because you’re not emotionally available at that time. Whatever it is, make sure you make an informed decision based upon how the situation, event, or person makes you feel emotionally and physically.
3. Make self-care a priority in your life
What does self-care have to do with setting boundaries? Well let me tell you! When you make self-care a priority you are giving yourself permission to love yourself. You take time out of your busy schedule to put yourself first and prove that you have what it takes to move forward. You hold space for yourself and honor that space by setting boundaries. Set aside some time each day to do something for solely yourself. It can be 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour. Just make sure you’re setting aside that time. Your boundary could be that you’re only going to do so much in a day and then you’re going to take some time for yourself. Just remember to set that self-care boundary and stick to it.
4. Create a support system
It’s extremely important to seek support though the process of setting boundaries. Talk to your friends and family, speak to a counselor or doctor. Whatever you have to do to get support. It’s hard enough making changes on your own so why deny yourself the help? Once you seek support, it’s also easier to stay accountable to your boundaries and actions. You have people who know your goals and will respect your new decisions. When you respect your boundaries, others will respect them, too. They’ll (more than likely) be supportive of you and able to help in your time of need. Keeping an open conversation with friends, families, counselors, and doctors about your boundaries is crucial in setting them as they will be your biggest supports. It also helps remind you of what your boundaries are and why you chose them specifically. Keep the door open, allow others to support you, and you’ll notice a world of difference. If anyone is unsupportive of your new boundaries, maybe it’s time to set a boundary with them. You only want supportive people around you when setting boundaries.
5. Be direct
Being direct is huge when it comes to setting boundaries. If you aren’t clear with your boundaries, you and others will not respect them. Be direct! Be clear! Stay grounded in your decisions. Let people know what your boundaries are by having a simple conversation. If you can let people know what your boundaries are you will be holding yourself accountable, and they can too! Having clear cut boundaries and being direct about them is a way of showing self-love. You show yourself you love yourself by sticking to your boundaries no matter what. Having boundaries and being direct about them is hard to do, but once you manage this you’ll notice they become much easier to set.
Like I stated earlier, boundaries are not easy to set but essential to your healing process. If you expect to get anywhere in life, you need to set personal boundaries. You are not closing off your world or denying yourself experiences, rather opening it to new possibilities. Respect yourself, love yourself, and heal yourself by setting boundaries.
I hope you find this helpful on your journey to health and wellness! I know setting boundaries have helped me in more way than one.
While I only covered 5 ways to set boundaries, we all know there are many more. What are some steps you’ve taken set boundaries? What boundaries have worked for you and how have they changed your life? Please, feel free to comment below.
With light and love,