Setting healthy boundaries could be your ticket to the life you’ve been dreaming of, but where do you begin? I’m breaking down my method for setting limits within your life.
Learning how to start setting healthy boundaries in your life can feel overwhelming after years and years of doing the opposite. If you find yourself struggling with:
- Voicing your opinion
- Standing up for yourself
- Telling others No
- Not taking things personally
Yes? There is a good chance you could benefit from setting healthy boundaries within your life. Keep reading to learn more about the signs around a lack of boundaries, examples of healthy boundaries, and the steps you can take to build them within your life.
Read next: Why Saying No Is Difficult to Do
Let’s start with the signs
The signs of a lack of boundaries might not be readily apparent, but they certainly make sense. In my book, Boundaries with Soul, I share my personal experience with a lack of boundaries. I was continually experiencing digestive issues, battling anxiety, chronic sleep issues, and more.
At times, I felt utterly overwhelmed by the amount of stress and anxiety I dealt with daily, only to convince myself I wasn’t trying hard enough.
The most five common signs that occur with a lack of healthy boundaries include:
- Feeling exhausted for no apparent reason – this is often caused by overcommitting to tasks and surrounding yourself with others who notice your lack of boundaries and take advantage of your energy.
- Not speaking up when something doesn’t sit well with you – instead, you let the poor behavior continue because you fear to upset the other party or to come off as rude.
- Experiencing intense feelings of resentment – mostly due to to the fact that others aren’t predicting your needs the way you always do for them.
- Silently blaming others for your unhappiness – not realizing that you are the only one in charge of your happiness.
- Dealing with anxiety on a regular basis – anxiety and people-pleasing/a lack of boundaries go hand-in-hand, mostly stemming from the need to control a person or situation to take the “edge” off.
Some examples of healthy boundaries
Check out some examples below around how to set healthy boundaries in your life, starting right this very moment.
With a boss that’s asking too much:
I appreciate you choosing me to handle (said request), but with my current workload, I don’t think I’m going to be able to give (said request) the attention it deserves. How can I help you solve this problem without overdoing it?
With a family member that’s overstepping:
Thanks for asking, but I don’t feel ready to share that with you right now.
To say No to a potential commitment:
I’m working on not making decisions right away, so I don’t overcommit myself. Is it okay if I get back to you on another day?
With someone who is being rude or critical:
It’s not okay with me that you make comments on my physical appearance. Please stop.
Take steps to set boundaries
To help take the first steps to set boundaries, I created a five-step method called the Boundaries with Soul™ method.
This method gives you to the tools you need to not only create limits within your life but also empower you to figure out who you are and what you want out of life – something that’s all too often forgotten when we don’t have solid boundaries in place.
The first step in building boundaries is to discover who you are and get in touch with your authentic self. By doing so, you are empowering yourself to learn where to focus your time and energy based off of what’s important to you.
Once you feel confident in this area, it’s time to explore around for your current boundary lines. Everyone has boundary lines; it’s whether or not we choose to listen to and honor them.
When you feel aware of your current limits, it’s essential to boost your confidence and believe that you are worthy of setting healthy boundaries within your life. Having a sense of worthiness and faith is an absolute must because without these beliefs we will never make the changes needed to bring us joy in our lives. We won’t feel our happiness is worth it.
The fourth step is to recognize and abandon fear. As with anything new, the ego likes to pop in and challenge our thought process, often causing us to second-guess our decisions. This step will empower you not only to recognize this fear but to choose to not listen to it.
If you’re curious about the final step, it has to do with saying Yes authentically and lovingly saying No. Once you’ve gone through stages one through four, this last step can feel exciting and empowering.
Building boundaries is a learning process
Unfortunately, a lack of boundaries and the desire to people-please can stem all the back to childhood. It’s important to recognize that setting limits isn’t an innate nature for everyone. This process can take time, practice, and a lot of patience with yourself (and others) as you learn to navigate your new boundaries.
Be extra gentle with yourself and be proud of even the smallest boundaries you set with yourself and the world around you. Remember, every boundary counts!