We’ve all been taught that kindness is a virtue, but sometimes it morphs into the need for derived self-worth from putting the feelings and needs of other people before your own. This often ends up with family members intruding on your personal space, co-workers dumping extra tasks on your desk or ex-lovers perpetually trying to be a part of your life. If you want to kick the stressed and burned out lifestyle to the curb, it’s time to set up boundaries. Here’s how to start setting limits for the acceptable and unacceptable behavior and find intrinsic value in who you are:
Step 1 Know Your Limits
It starts with reviewing your relationships with others and looking at the things that made you feel anger, resentment, discomfort and frustration in the past. Then clearly define intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries for your friends, family, colleagues, strangers and significant others. It helps to create a ‘Boundary Chart’ that highlights your definitions physically so that you can tell if someone is trespassing as well as show you the progress you’ve made.
Step 2 Follow-Through Matters
If you’re not assertive, step one will be all for naught. Creating and stating boundaries is great, but it’s the follow-through that counts. At first, it can be scary to be direct with people about your boundaries, so it helps to start small with the lighter issues to give you time to grow your assertive skill set.
Step 3 Keep Practising
It’s going to take time to create the habit of assertiveness. It will feel like you’re being rude and may be tempting to stop but remember that this means that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than the thoughts of others. It’s about being fair and honest with them while maintaining your peace, dignity, and self-respect.
Step 4 If All Fails, Cut Your Losses
If you stressed your boundaries first and made it clear to the other person that they’ve overstepped them, it is okay to cut them out of your life. Remind yourself that no-one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable or take away your defined personal space from you. They don’t determine your worth.