Start by asking yourself why are you considering setting boundaries?
What has happened to make you feel uncomfortable or have your boundaries been dismissed or ignored?
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
Why do you need to set boundaries?
What boundaries do you need right now?
Where do you need to set boundaries?
By asking ourselves these questions, we are confirming that our boundaries have been overstepped, making it clear who has caused them, where they need to be implemented and what you need right now.
Understanding your priorities whether it’s time, energy, family, wellness is the first step to making positive adjustments in your life.
Try this boundary writing exercise from Nedra Tawwab:
‘Think of a boundary you need to establish with someone. Write or discuss your boundary using an “I” statement: I want, I need, I would like, or I expect. Do not write the word “because” anywhere in your sentence. Don’t explain yourself, and don’t apologize. It’s okay to start small.’
What is preventing you from setting these boundaries?
How do you think your life will be different once you’ve established healthy boundaries?
Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Setting boundaries can be deeply personal and can make you feel awkward, guilty and anxious but practising saying no when you don’t want to do something is a great way to start.
“No, thank you” “Thank you but I can’t”
If you are caught off-guard by someone making you feel uncomfortable, asking for time is great way to implement a boundary:
“Thank you, I’ll get back to you”
“I need some time to think about what happened/what you are suggesting”
How do you feel when you communicate a boundary to someone? How do you feel about setting boundaries with your family? What is one boundary that you can implement in any work environment? What are my top five needs in a relationship?
Be prepared for negativity. While some may adapt well to you setting new boundaries, others who may be controlling, manipulative or abusive may react negatively to you setting boundaries they do not agree with. If they continue to push your boundaries and conversations become difficult, you may want to look into the ‘grey rock method’.
If your boundaries continue to be ignored or pushed, whether it’s at work or personal relationships then mediation may be the next positive step.
We offer a free initial 30minute consultation and can guide you if mediation would be the right step for you.
Written by Emily Blake
Emily Blake is the School of Dialogue’s social media manager and content creator.