Updated: Apr 13, 2021
People who set healthy boundaries have a greater level of self-respect and confidence. This allows them to function differently with others in their personal and professional life.
Are you violating your own self-respect and putting your relationships in danger?
Let’s take a look at your boundaries in the aspect of “You might have weak boundaries if…” style:
You Might Have Weak Boundaries If:
You don’t speak up even when you’re treated badly
You overbook yourself
You feel underappreciated and taken for granted
You say “yes” when you really want to say “no”
You feel guilty for doing something for yourself
You constantly make sacrifices for others at your own expense
You repeatedly find yourself in unhealthy, one-sided relationships
You believe you must always put others before yourself to “earn” something
You over-share details about your life, even with strangers
You frequently “adopt” the preferences and personalities of people you like or admire
You’ve been putting everyone else before you that you don’t even know what YOU want or need anymore
You allow others to touch you even when you feel uncomfortable
You are passive aggressive
You always feel like the victim
You have a hard time making decisions
If you identify with some of the these, don’t feel bad. I have struggled with some of these in the past.
Time for this to change.
Many of us KNOW what we will or will not allow to be done to us – and sometimes it still happens.
There is a difference between knowing our boundaries versus setting and enforcing them.
It’s easy to say, “I’m not going to let anyone treat me like trash” without realizing we’ve been making excuses for why we allow someone to behave horribly. We allow family or friends to treat us poorly and don’t do anything about it.
In order for boundaries to actually do what they’re meant to do, you must clearly define your rules and consistently enforce them. You will have to DO THIS ON PURPOSE, if you are new to this practice because it is a skill that needs to be learned.
The way you set and maintain boundaries show how much YOU value yourself and it not based on what other people think, expect or feel about you.
Steps to get started:
1. Change your mindset about boundaries – you have the RIGHT to have them
Surprisingly, many adults are not aware setting personal boundaries is a basic right. You don’t have to “earn” it or receive permission. Setting boundaries means you are engaging in healthy relationships.
2. Thoughts, Feelings, and Needs Are Important to Everyone
No one’s thoughts, feelings or needs are above that of anyone else. In order for you to step fully into your life and value, you must learn to see yourself as equal to others and honor your authentic self.
3. Examine Your Own Needs
If you have been busy serving everyone else’s demands, you lose touch with who YOU are and what YOU need. It is time to learn about yourself and start discovering thoughts, feelings and other needs that have been neglected. Learn and practice discovering the boundaries needed in your everyday life.
4. Learn to Say “No” Without Guilt
Saying “No” is key in increasing your self-respect. At first, it might be difficult to say “no” and you may need to remind yourself there is no reason to feel bad about declining a request. People with strong boundaries will be able to respectfully honor and accept yours.
5. Recognize When People Cross the Line
If you lack or have weak boundaries, it will take practice to identify when your boundaries have been overstepped. Take time to review moments when you felt uncomfortable or disrespected by someone during the day. Tune into your body and notice when you feel tense or flustered.
6. Stop Over-Committing
You are not obliged to please others at your own expense. Committing too much to other people creates stress and burnout. When you are burnt out, you will be unable to show up as your best for what’s most important to you. So, make certain to put on your own oxygen mask first. Go back to #4.
7. End Relationships That Do NOT Tolerate Boundaries
With strong personal boundaries comes the need for strength and conviction. You will find unhealthy relationships will self-destruct and end, and at first, this might leave you feeling guilty or like you’ve failed. Stay strong because you are worth it. Allow your boundaries to filter out those who are contaminating your space and fill those spaces with new friendships that are supportive and uplifting.
Remember, enforcing your boundaries might feel uncomfortable at first -- you’ll feel like you’re behaving in a mean and unforgiving manner. But the truth is, clearly communicating what you expect from others and what they can expect from you is an act of kindness and respect for yourself and those around you.
Start the new year with a renewed sense of self-respect. If you think you need help with this, check out my Mental Wellness Course (especially Interpersonal Effectiveness) HERE.