Personal boundaries are about respecting yourself and demanding respect from others. It’s about knowing which behaviours, from family members or colleagues at work, you are willing to tolerate and which you are not. Setting boundaries will help you feel in power and in control of yourself instead of feeling like a victim.
Setting personal boundaries means to establish reasonable and safe guidelines or limits for people to behave towards you and how you would respond if someone crosses them.
But demanding something for ourselves can leave us feeling uncomfortable so we need to learn how to healthily set them without feeling bitchy, guilty or mean.
Being a nice person doesn’t mean you need to be a people pleaser.
How to effectively set personal boundaries
Value yourself. You have the ability to set your own boundaries as you see fit. Learn to know yourself and your values. Few people will treat you better than you demand, so take responsibility for taking care of yourself.
Define yourself. Do not let anyone else define you. Decide who you are, what you want to be, and how you deserve to be treated. What are you willing to accept from others? What are you no longer willing to accept?
Make yourself your priority. No one else is more important than you. Running yourself ragged for others really isn’t helping anyone. You’ll be a better person, parent and partner if you take good care of yourself.
Know your triggers. You can’t control everyone, but you can make it clear that you won’t tolerate rude or negative comments. They are comments or actions that affect you deeply. By becoming aware of your triggers, you can learn to notice when others are “pushing your buttons” and consciously calm yourself to tone down your reaction.
Communicate openly. When people cross your boundaries, it’s up to you to inform them. Many times, this is as simple as refusing a request. The word No is a complete sentence. You may be required to provide more explanation in other instances but don’t justify yourself, be firm. Others are unable to give you what you want if you don’t provide feedback.
Avoid taking things personally. Learn how to brush off comments that don’t matter, these are never a reflection of you, anyway. Handle issues with kindness and respect. Use a neutral and calm tone of voice while communicating. Take your time to defuse from your emotions.
Work on your body language. Body language is extremely important in any situation. When trying to become more assertive, your body language must reflect this as well. Stand straight, speak up, make sure your hands aren’t crossed over your chest, and maintain eye contact with whomever you’re speaking with. When you look confident, people will perceive you as such.
Having boundaries is an exercise in caring for and respecting yourself. You have the right to expect a certain level of respect and consideration from others. Boundaries are not only good for your self-esteem and general mental health, but they are good for all other aspects of your life. They also help to put you in a better position to care for your friends and family.
Introduce changes gradually and test them. Be committed and patient. Developing and mastering new skills take time. Nurture yourself with self-care. Self-care is the best and easiest way to build your confidence up.