Boundaries can be difficult to implement. Especially in relationships or situations we have been in for a long time. It can feel overwhelming, vulnerable, and scary to start using boundaries. But it is totally possible and often is absolutely necessary! Today we will discuss some tips for how to put our boundaries in action!
1. Use Assertive Communication
Assertive communication is key to setting boundaries. This form of communication allows us to clearly state what we feel, think, and need. Being assertive means taking ownership of your feelings and using statements that clearly say what you need. A simple way to do this is by using “I” statements. This is a statement that starts with “I” and then is followed by how you feel and what you need. Here is an example:
“I feel like I’m not being heard when you talk over me. I need you to listen to me.”
This is a simple example, but these statements can be used in a variety of ways and situations. This type of communication is effective, but if you are talking with a person who is toxic they may not be able to respect your boundaries or hear your needs. Stay safe and consider if making boundaries or simply separating from that person is necessary.
2. Be Specific About Your Boundaries
Make sure to be specific when setting boundaries. Sometimes when we are not clear about what we need, the boundary can be misunderstood. Take time to think about what boundaries you need ahead of time so you can communicate them specifically. There will not always be an opportunity to plan ahead. Sometimes we don’t know we need a boundary until someone has violated our trust, space, or expectations. Whenever you do know your boundaries feel free to advocate for yourself and your specific needs.
3. Stay Firm In Your Boundaries
There will be people who push back when you set a boundary. This may look like a guilt trip or someone criticizing your boundaries. Stay firm! It doesn’t matter what they think about your boundaries. You are important. Access to you is a privilege not a right! If you feel you need to set a boundary to feel safe, take care of your health, or simply for your quality of life then do that! No apologies needed! I am writing this to myself as well because I am always apologizing, but it’s not necessary.
Something to consider is that we all have responsibilities to tend to throughout our lives. There are some seasons when boundaries will look different because of where we are in life; such as when parenting, being a caregiver, or in the midst of any significant life experience. Because of these changing circumstances the boundaries we have and the way we implement them might change. This is totally normal!
4. Acceptance As A Tool
I personally struggled with this for a long time. It can be very hard to accept the boundaries we need, especially in relationships. There have been relationships that I have had to set firm boundaries in that really turned my world upside down. But they were situations that weren’t healthy and needed to be cut off or changed. Accepting that relationships you have or had were not good for you or needed to change can be hard. Here are some statements of acceptance to practice when struggling with this:
I accept the relationships I’ve had and have. I accept not all relationships are meant to be long-term and there are times when boundaries have to be set for my well-being and self-care.
I accept how I’ve gotten to this moment. I accept my past, present, and future. I accept in this moment I need boundaries to live well in my present and prepare for my future.
I accept boundaries are a tool to use in my self-care. I accept that I am worthy of having boundaries. My needs are worthy of being met.
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