Boundaries Pt 2. How To Set Boundaries With Grace, Love & Ease
Welcome to part 2 of the boundaries blog series.
Are you ready to learn how to start setting some boundaries with grace, love and ease?
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others” – Brene Brown
Yes, boundary setting or saying no can at time feel a little risky, In the March blog, I spoke about the reasons you might not be able to say no and what it means to people please. I also spoke about the ability to set a healthy boundary means that you are able to communicate your needs, you’re prioritizing you and clearly letting other people know you’ve got a dedication to an attitude of self-care. You can check it out here if you missed it.
Here are the 6 key steps to practice when you decide you’re ready to set some boundaries with love, grace and ease.
Note* When you start to practice drawing boundaries, pick a safe situation or scenario where you can set a small boundary and stay firm in your decision to do so.
Clearly and specifically identify what the boundary is and why it’s important for you to put into place. When you take the time to understand what you need and clearly articulate your WHY you’re doing the fundamental groundwork and taking the first steps in acknowledging that your needs are important. When you do this you give yourself permission to ask for your needs to be met around boundaries.
2. Understand It’s Not Going To Be Perfect.
Despite our best efforts in communication, it may not be possible, to simultaneously set a limit with someone and take care of their feelings at the same time.
Part of setting boundaries means that we need to develop our ability to sit with and acknowledge that even when we communicate with absolute, respect and love for yourself and the other person, some people may still be left feeling, hurt, angry, confused or sad. If setting boundaries are new for you, people in your life will start to notice that you’re doing things differently. You might face some resistance, questioning or defensiveness when you start to change your behaviours, and this is really normal. Understand that you can’t control another person’s feelings and emotions despite your best intentions.
3. Leave The Drama Out
Setting boundaries don't have to be dramatic, forceful or done with anger. When you decide to have the conversations about boundaries remain calm but don’t tolerate disrespect. You don’t need to apologize for voicing your needs. Focus your communication on your needs and your wants in a firm and kind manner. Take the personal edge out of it by being making the boundaries about you. Using the language of I is a great way to do this, see below for examples:
This is what I need…
I’ve decided not to…
I understand your point of view, and…
I’d prefer not to…
It’s important to me…
Keep it Simple Sweetie. Yes keeping it short and simple is the key. You don’t need to give long or detailed explanations about your reasons, just a few simple sentences are enough. Keep in mind that if there is any form of anger or argument from the other person, then it may be best take some time out, walk away and focus on taking care of you.
5. Work on Your No
Sometimes setting boundaries can be as simple as learning to say no, if you have quite got the knack of saying no or a straight out no still feels challenging, here are a few alternatives to use
Here’s what will work for me
Can I get back to you on that?
I need to think about if that will work for me
I really appreciate you asking me, but I can’t
I’m honoured that you would ask me, and I’ll have to say no this time
Stick to tight parameters with the ability for flexibility later.
No, I can’t do that, but here’s what I can do
6. Handle Violations
It’s important that you don’t stop setting strong, clear and consistent boundaries, if someone is violating your boundaries you need to decide if you can accept these violations, you need to be clear on what treatment you’ll accept and what you won’t. It can be easy to set a boundary in our minds and not hold ourselves to that boundary. Writing it down and having a supportive friend to help you discuss it and reiterate it can help you stay true to it.
7. Let It Go
When all else fails it’s really about getting support and letting go of the end result. One of the most difficult things that we begin to realize is that some people (including our loved ones) will not respect your boundaries no matter what you do. At times were required to make the difficult call of whether of not we will continue to be in relationships with people who do not respect our boundaries. You can never force another person to change how they behave, you can though, choose to accept it or reject it.
Happy boundary setting!
Natajsa Wagner is a Masters qualified Psychotherapist based in Brisbane, Australia. Natajsa blends relational Gestlat methods, contemporary Psychotherapy and neuroscience practices in her work. Natajsa guides and mentors professionals in understanding themselves and their behaviour patterns so they can make more aligned choices in their life. Natajsa is thought leader and advocate for authentic human conversations and connection. She works experientially with individuals and groups to teach, that in a moment, we can create and experience more deeply satisfying connections with each other.
Her work offers an antidote to the modern day disease of disconnection.She invites others to create a ripple of connection in the world, so that we might all feel more intimacy, belonging and aliveness. Natajsa has been featured as an expert both locally and internationally and has contributed to a number of print and online media outlets including: Womens Health and Fitness Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine & ABC Online.