Many things in life can feel out of control. You don’t have to be a victim of circumstance or someone else’s moods. There are several ways you can set your boundaries and let others know what you will and won’t accept.
This is empowering because it’s ultimately about taking responsibility for yourself, rather than feeling like the world is conspiring against you.
Here are some suggestions on how to set boundaries in your life. Decide what matters most to you — — this includes your time, energy, and money. This can be about what makes you happy versus what makes you feel controlled.
When we feel resentful or like we are being taken advantage of, it’s a clear sign we don’t have boundaries.
I used to feel like this consistently. Overwhelmed. Afraid to say no. Doing things I didn’t want to do because I didn’t mean to seem “mean” or “selfish.”
This is common if you’ve been raised in homes with codependent patterns (where boundaries aren’t clear or non-existent)
Boundaries are KIND.
They allow people to know where we stand, what we accept, and what we need.
Of course, setting them can be so scary. This is common with people who don’t have boundaries in their own lives, especially if we are setting them with people who take boundaries as abandonment or selfishness.
Why is setting boundaries important?
A boundary is a word that has become increasingly popular in our culture. It used to be just a Christian thing, but today we see the concept of boundaries being applied by companies, institutions, and even individuals.
“No is a complete sentence.” — Anne Lamont, author
Setting boundaries is important for any individual or organization because it helps us protect ourselves from getting hurt (emotionally and relationally).
When we don’t set good boundaries, we may allow others to take advantage of us or control our lives. Boundaries help us grow as individuals and make us better parents, spouses, and friends.
Boundaries are key in healthy relationships because we can feel resentment, disappointment, or being taken advantage of without them. (Or used)
For the sake of the importance of boundaries, I am breaking them down into four portions:
- Emotional Boundaries
- Physical Boundaries
- Financial Boundaries
- Time Boundaries
What do these boundaries look like?
- “My diet or how I choose to eat isn’t up for discussion.”
- “I am not in an emotional space to listen to this right now. Can do have this conversation later?”
- “I need to work through some thoughts. Do you have the space to listen?”
- “I understand your opinion on this, we can agree to disagree.”
- “I am really exhausted, I am going to rest this afternoon.”
- “Please don’t go into my room without asking.”
- “If you are going to borrow my things, ask first.”
- “I don’t really love physical contact, can I have some space?”
- “I need to stop for a minute and eat something.”
- “I am saving money right now, so I can’t go, Have fun.”
- “I can’t donate, but I am happy to help in some other way if you need it.”
- “You are welcome to borrow that I will need it returned by.” (enter time and date)
- “I am not going to lend you any money until you pay me back for what you already owe me.”
- “That sounds fun, I am not able to make it this weekend.”
- “I can stop by, and I will only be able to stay for dinner, then I will need to go home.”
- “On Saturday, I am not always by my phone, so I will respond when I get a chance.”
- “I rather not.”
Boundaries are very important to put in place in all aspects of your life. By creating boundaries, you can take control of the things that happen around you and be more peaceful. It takes time to set your boundaries, but it will make your life feel much less stressful once they are solidified.
When you set boundaries, you are taking control back in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s at work or in a relationship. You can make things better by communicating what you expect from yourself and others.
You can set boundaries by spending less time on your phone the next time you’re with friends, saying no to an invitation if you know you won’t be able to fulfill it, and not accepting drinks at a party until you know exactly how much alcohol you plan on consuming. Start saying “no” to little things.