Personal boundaries are so important. A boundary is a guideline around how you need others to behave or how you’ll accept people behaving towards you. It’s also how you respond when people are stepping over the limits of what you need.
You’ve likely been in a situation where you’ve said yes to something that you didn’t actually want to do.
Really? You’ve never done this? Well, then you don’t need to read this blog post. But if you have… then read on.
How did you feel after you said yes to that thing you didn’t want to do, even though you really wanted to say no?
If you’re anything like me, you might have felt a little bit of resentment. Or a lot.
For me, sometimes I feel so much resentment that I then blame the other person for having dared ask me to do something that they didn’t even know I didn’t want to do.
Please tell me I’m not the only one…?
This feeling of resentment then influences how we communicate with others. We accepted to do something that we didn’t want to do, and didn’t stick to our boundary.
But the way many of us deal with this is to become irritable and complain. And complain, and complain, and complain.
It’s our responsibility to set our own boundaries. When we don’t set the boundary, we’re setting ourselves up in a state where it is difficult to remain receptive in our communication. We quickly become reactive.
If you’re identifying with this post, like myself, you may have taken on a pattern of pleasing others. In order to set boundaries, the first step is to realize that you are not responsible for other people’s reactions when you say no.
Learning and practicing this was life-changing for me.
If someone gets angry because you said no, well… that’s for them to deal with.
The more you can work to let go of your fear of the consequences of saying no (being rejected, not good enough, whatever), the more you will be freed of resentment. Getting to a place where you can firmly but kindly stick to your boundary – it’s gold.
Now, this isn’t an overnight process. Although I’ve made huge leaps and bounds in this area, it continues to be a work in progress for me.
The key to success for setting boundaries is to start with small steps and get used to how it feels to set your own boundaries and focus on what works well for you.
An example of something you could say: “Thank you for thinking of me, but that doesn’t work for me right now.” We don’t need to give an apology, as this expresses guilt and can open the door for people to try to push you to change your boundaries. You simply need to kindly say that you can’t do what is being asked of you.
Try it out. It can feel scary at first, but I promise that, just like anything, it will get easier the more that you practice. Let me know how it goes for you!
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