The Importance of Setting Boundaries

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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…?

The Importance of Setting Boundaries

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.

The Importance of Setting Boundaries

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!

If you liked this post you may also enjoy:

What to Do When Someone Is Mad at You?

Setting Better Boundaries

How to Deal with Boundary Pushers

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech-Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two neurodivergent children, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two children with pervasive mental health challenges, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

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Hi, I'm Lindsay

Leadership communication skills to elevate team performance.

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