We hear a lot about setting boundaries but today we’re going to be talking about exactly how we can do that and what setting boundaries may look like for us. Boundaries are a way to take care of ourselves, make our expectations clear, and frankly, they’re the key to a healthier, happier life. In a perfect world nobody is toxic and everyone is rooting for each other, but we know all too well that we don’t live in this so-called perfect world, and because of that, we understand that some people will do everything they can to push our boundaries, rather than respect them. While we can’t control their reaction, we can control how we react, and we can commit to sticking to the boundaries we’ve created to take control of our own lives. Let’s get started.
First things first, identify your boundaries.
Commit time to sitting down and figuring out what your boundaries need to look like. Consider behaviors you don’t consider acceptable in yourself or others and why you feel that way. Knowing and understanding these behaviors will make setting boundaries and sticking to them much easier because you’ll be holding yourself to these standards, and eliminating those relationships that can’t seem to meet those standards.
Next is the hard part, communicating your boundaries.
A couple of words worth remembering: calm and consistent. When communicating your boundaries there is no need to be defensive or brash, simply explain and go on with your life. You’re already taking the high road by setting boundaries, just make sure to stay on the high road when you’re communicating them as well. This can sound like: “I need to rest tonight, so I won’t be coming to dinner.” You’ve identified your boundary with a precise explanation and no one can argue with this. They will, of course, but you’ve set your boundary and you’re sticking to it, and we promise, there will be more dinners.
Set time limits.
Boundaries can look like time limits depending on who we’re dealing with. When people have toxic tendencies but you don’t want to cut off ties completely, or you can’t (because you work with them) setting a time limit may be just what you need. Decide how much is just enough then respectfully bow out.
Don’t expect change right away, and don’t be shocked by some pushback.
It will take people time to realize what you’re doing if they ever do. And oftentimes toxic people will never come to realize what is happening. Whether they don’t realize you’re setting boundaries or they simply love to manipulate and guilt people into things, don’t be shocked if your boundaries aren’t exactly well-received. Just stick to the boundaries you’ve set and you know who won’t be disappointed? Yourself.