Starting this new 11 year, 2018. I was definitely tested on my boundaries. One of my biggest life lessons to date. Setting healthy and firm boundaries for myself. Especially with men in my life.
7 Keys to Set Good Boundaries
1. Know this truth: NO boundaries = little self-esteem.
Your boundaries should be able to roll off your tongue like the alphabet. Your boundaries are your values. Boundaries are representative of how much or little you respect yourself. Boundaries are your friend. It is attractive when one is firm in their wants, needs, and desires without compromising.
2. Decide what you are comfortable with and what you are not.
Figure out who are you. What do you value? Are you okay with other people lying? Do you stick up for things you believe in? In the right setting? Etc. Figure out what, exactly, you’re comfortable with and what you aren’t. For example, I don’t like to talk on the phone during work hours, or on dates with my man.
When I used to work in corporate settings, I always made it a point to set my boundaries. For example, I would never respond to work emails after 5 pm. Some of my coworkers did and from then on, it was expected for them to respond. I never did. I was never expected to respond. After I left the office I was off the clock. That's a clear boundary anyone deserves. Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take a bigger step of communicating this to others. Instead of creating your boundaries around a difficult relationship in your life, make your boundaries about you.
3. You can’t change others.
We are not responsible for anyone actions but our own. You can’t change other people, but you can change how you deal with them. As Dr. Cloud says in Boundaries, “They may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.” – Kelly O’Brien Mindbodygreen.com
4. Decide the consequences ahead of time.
So what do we do if anyone pushes our boundaries (because they will)? Decide what the consequences are. For example, if my boyfriend cheats on me after knowing monogamy is a boundary of mine, I leave the relationship. If a friend of mine calls me repeatedly during a time-frame I had shared I would not to be able to talk, I simply do not answer the phone (Remember: boundaries are about honoring your needs, not about judging other people’s choices).
5. Let your behavior, not your words, speak for you.
You present your boundaries clearly to people and then let your behavior do the talking. So, if anyone calls me continuously during the day, and they know my boundary, I simply do not pick up the phone until after 5pm. People WILL test, push and disrespect your limits. You’ll know you’re getting healthier when this doesn’t get an emotional reaction out of you too. When your boundaries are your core beliefs, you will not get riled up if you are tested.
6. Mean what you say.
The biggest part of boundaries is HOW clearly you communicate them. You can have healthy boundaries, but if you do not communicate them clearly, you are going to create confusing relationships.
People get afraid to confront others with truth in love or relationships. We’re afraid to tell people what we really want, to admit that we hate going to certain restaurants, or have trouble spending time with a friend’s toxic cousin, or hate when a boss dumps deadlines on us at 6 pm on a Friday. We conceal our true feelings because we’re scared of people’s reactions. The more you ground yourself with your boundaries and values, the more you’ll be able to be very clear in your communication!
7. DON’T APOLOGIZE.
It’s that simple. Do not feel the need to ever apologize for setting a boundary. Do not feel the need to give in and let someone manipulate you for having boundaries. Honor yourself. Your power will come from being firm in them.