Last week, I talked about the warning signs that you might need to set firmer boundaries. If any of those signs were relatable, then it’s time to take action and start prioritizing your own needs. Setting healthy boundaries is an necessary act of self-care and self-respect. But knowing how to choose, set, and enforce your boundaries can be intimidating and scary. That’s why I wanted to offer you a step-by-step process to help. This process covers everything from identifying your values and limits to communicating your boundaries and handling any pushback. The goal is to help you to feel empowered to take control so that you can protect your energy and mental well-being.
And so here is the 5 step process for boundaries that I follow:
Identify your values and limits:
Begin by thinking about what’s most important to you in your relationships and what your limits are. What are the things that you absolutely need in your life and the things that you can’t tolerate? Write them down. Here are a few prompts to get you started…
- What are my core values and beliefs?
- What behaviors, words or actions make me feel uncomfortable or disrespected?
- What am I not willing to compromise on?
2. Reflect on past experiences:
Consider past experiences where you felt that someone crossed a line or violated your boundaries. What were the specific actions, words or behaviors that made you feel this way? Here are some more questions to help you figure it out and write them down.
- Have there been times when someone crossed a boundary without my permission?
- What was the outcome of that situation?
- How did I feel when this person crossed the boundary?
3. Determine what is okay and not okay for you:
After identifying your values and reflecting on past experiences, decide what is okay and not okay for you.. Write down what you are comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with. These are some of the questions I use to help me for this step:
- What are some behaviors that I am comfortable with from others?
- What behaviors cross the line for me?
- What are some activities or topics that I would prefer not to engage in?
4. Communicate your boundaries:
Once you’ve determined your boundaries, it’s important to communicate them to the people in your life. Here are some conversation starters to help you do this effectively so that you can feel confident rather than uncomfortable:
- “I’d like to talk about something that’s important to me. Lately, there have been a few times where things haven’t felt right to me. Can we discuss boundaries?”
- “I want to let you know that there are some things that aren’t really okay with me. I’d like to discuss how we can work together to make some changes because I think it will really help our relationship moving forward.”
- “I’m feeling uncomfortable with something that happened, and I want to talk about it and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
5. Handle any pushback:
It’s possible that the people in your life may not respect your boundaries or may push back against them. Here are some ways to handle any pushback:
- Be firm but kind in your response. Let the person know that you are serious about your boundaries and that you expect them to be respected.
- Try to understand their perspective. It’s possible that they may not have realized that they were crossing a boundary. If this is the case, you can talk about the boundary further so that they understand your perspective.
- Be open to compromise. Depending on the boundary and the degree to which it’s crossed, this may be a possibility. If the other person is willing to make some changes to respect your boundaries, you can consider meeting them halfway. However, this is a case by case basis and not every boundary should be open to compromise.
- Say goodbye. If the person is absolutely unwilling to respect your boundaries, you may need to remove yourself from the situation or limit your interaction. This might be hard or uncomfortable at first, but with time, you will know whether or not it was the right choice for you. If you notice yourself feeling lighter, more free or less hurt- these are all signs that it was!
- Make sure to communicate what your next steps will be if your boundaries are not respected. Whether this means ending the relationship or something else.
Remember, setting boundaries isn’t controlling other people or being dramatic.
It’s an act of self-care and self-respect. You have to prioritize your own needs and well-being. This is one of the best ways to do that. By setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, you can improve your relationships, reduce stress and anxiety, and live a happier and more authentic life. It’s also a good idea to check in with yourself from time to time to make sure that your boundaries still reflect your current needs and values. (It’s okay if they need to change!)
After all, you matter too.
Just a reminder, I’ve got this sticker in my shop if you need a reminder 🙂
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