Setting boundaries with people can be hard work, it can feel uncomfortable. Often we find ourselves saying yes to things we don’t really want to do, or doing things we aren’t comfortable with. This might be because we feel guilty, or fear a negative response from others.
Boundaries are a good way to protect our wellbeing and establish some rules or limits in order to feel secure in our surroundings. They can also help to establish identity by distinguishing between our own feelings and others feelings, if we lack boundaries those lines become blurred and it becomes difficult to have a sense of self.
Top tips for starting to set some boundaries
- Give yourself permission
You are allowed to focus on yourself and do what is best for you. Boundaries often contribute to healthy relationships with others and ourselves. Boundaries are a good start in practicing self-love and self-respect.
- Using “I” statements
If you are unsure of where to start with boundaries, using I statements can be a great way to get the ball rolling. For example “I feel … when … because…what I need is…” This ensures clear and direct communication and can also make us recognise our own feelings and develop our own self awareness.
We can’t expect others to know how we are feeling at any given moment unless it is communicated. Making assumptions can create misunderstandings in a relationship. It’s always best to ask instead of assume.
It’s okay to put yourself first, learning to set boundaries can be a valuable skill that enriches your relationships with others and yourself.