Do you find yourself saying “yes” to other people more often than you say “no”? Do you feel like people take advantage of your good nature and generosity? Are you frequently the helper, rather than the one being helped? If this sounds like you, then perhaps it’s time to establish some boundaries. To be an effective helper and friend, we need to put our own needs first. When we set healthy boundaries with others, we’re able to trust them more because we know they won’t take advantage of us. A healthy boundary is a firm line that lets another person know where we end and they begin. It keeps them from encroaching on our private space or using us for their own gain. By reading this article, you have taken the first step towards healthier relationships.
Say “No” and Mean It
If you want to set healthy boundaries, the first thing you need to do is say “no” more often. The word “no” is a powerful tool, but it is often underutilized. We may feel guilty about turning down other people, or we might assume that they’ll be offended if we say “no”. The next time someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, or asks for something you aren’t comfortable with, just try to say “no”. It can be hard at first to outright say “no”, but it is a learned skill that can get better with time!
Set Clear Expectations
Boundaries have to be applicable in all areas of our lives. This means we have to set clear expectations with our friends and family members. If someone asks you to do something, let them know your limitations. If you’re having trouble setting clear boundaries with someone, try to think about why you feel the need to please them. What are you hoping to get out of the relationship? Why do you feel the need to take on their problems? You also have to let people know what they can expect from you. If you’re the type of person who always says “yes”, your friends and family members might not know what you’re capable of. They might be taking advantage of you without even realizing it. Once you’ve set clear expectations, it is important to remain consistent.
When you’re trying to set boundaries with others, taking some time away from them can be helpful. Depending on the situation, this could be a few hours or a few days. You can also set boundaries by creating more space between you and the other person. This could mean not texting someone back as soon as they text you or not engaging in phone calls multiple times per day. A great way to set boundaries with friends is to limit the amount of time you spend with them. You don’t have to stop being friends with someone just because you don’t want to be around them all the time, but you do have to be honest with yourself about your own limitations.
Permit Yourself to be Happy
This is something you need to do even before you start setting boundaries. It is normal to want to make other people happy, but it should not come at the cost of our own happiness. The people constantly seeking your help rather than asking for it could be taking advantage of you. They don’t want to do something themselves because it’s easier to take advantage of someone else than to do something themselves. One way to set boundaries is to permit yourself to be happy. If people are always asking you for things, but you’re not getting anything in return, you have to be honest with yourself. How are you supposed to be happy if you’re always giving to other people and not getting anything in return? The people around you might not be happy with your decision to be happier, but that’s okay. You have to be true to yourself and let yourself live the way you want.
Setting boundaries isn’t always easy, and it won’t always go smoothly, but it’s something that will benefit you in the long run. You will feel less stressed, and more in control of your life!