Setting boundaries, 6 practical tips.

Balance and freedom: discover the art of setting boundaries.

Recently I got a call on a Saturday night from a good friend asking me to help him with a last-minute move on Sunday morning. However, I had already made plans for that day and was looking forward to some well-deserved rest and relaxation. My instinct screamed to say “no,” but for various reasons I hesitated.

Sometimes we do not want to disappoint others and fear rejection. We have difficulty setting boundaries and may not be assertive enough. In my case, I also felt responsible for my friend’s well-being and wanted to be helpful. But I realized that if I always give in to the needs of others, I end up compromising my own well-being. Ignoring my own limits would exhaust me in the long run and possibly lead to burnout.

This realization was an important step in the right direction. As a life coach, I understand that awareness of our limits and the ability to declare them are essential for a healthy and balanced life. It is encouraging to know that you, the reader, are reading this text and are aware of this important aspect. You are already on the right track.

In this blog, I will share some valuable tools and insights that can help you learn to set your boundaries. But for now, remember that you are not alone. We are all human and have moments when we need to remind ourselves of our own advice. It is a process, but with the right guidance and commitment, we can learn to set our limits and live a healthier and happier life.

Listen and feel what your body is saying

Simply put, but incredibly important: listen to the signals your body gives when your limit is reached. Our bodies often communicate in subtle ways that we are overloaded. Watch for signs such as tightening your jaws, balling your fists, sweating like an otter, an accelerated heartbeat you may feel in your throat or stomach. For example, I always feel my heart rate high in my throat, which to me is a signal that I am approaching my limit. By becoming aware of these physical reactions, you can intervene and take timely action to protect yourself.

Know your priorities

It is crucial to be aware of your priorities. Your time is limited and valuable, and if you are constantly trying to please others, you run the risk of burnout. By focusing on what you care about, you not only create space for personal growth and enjoyment, but also learn to say no to things that don’t contribute to your well-being. Take the time to make a list of priorities and compare them to where you spend your time and energy. That way you can assess whether you need to make adjustments and pay more attention to what really matters.

You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce.

Tony Gaskins

Communicate clearly

Practice assertively and clearly communicating your boundaries. It can be difficult to say no without justifying yourself or giving an excuse, but it is an important skill to develop. Start practicing by making “no” your default answer. You don’t have to explain at length why you don’t want to do something. Simple phrases such as “No, thank you” or “Thanks, but I can’t” are sufficient. By being consistent in stating your boundaries, others will learn that you are serious and will respect them.

Take space or distance

If you are caught off guard by someone trying to cross your boundary, or if you just don’t know what to answer for a moment, take distance and time to think before responding. For example, you can say, “I’ll get back to you on this later” or “I need to think about this, you’ll hear from me tomorrow.” This allows you to come across stronger and gives you the opportunity to reflect on what you really want and need. Taking this breather prevents impulsive decisions and allows you to respond in a more considered way.

Brace for impact

Don’t be surprised if certain people react negatively to your boundaries. Some people, such as control freaks or manipulative individuals, may become irritated by your reaction. Remember, however, that you are not responsible for the well-being of others and it is not your job to satisfy them. Setting boundaries can sometimes lead to uncomfortable situations, but remain firm. You will find that setting boundaries can also evoke positive reactions and surprise you with the peace and harmony it can bring to your life.

Conversely, be mindful of others’ boundaries

If you are aware of your own limits, you can also try to sense or see the limits of others. Watch for subtle signals such as someone taking a step back, avoiding eye contact or an uncomfortable posture. Although everyone is different, sometimes you can intuitively sense when someone is approaching his or her limit. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask how someone is feeling. By considering the boundaries of others, you create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.

Celebrate your growth and successes

Learning to set boundaries is a process that takes time and practice. Be proud of yourself for every step you take and every time you clearly state your boundaries. It is important to acknowledge and celebrate yourself for the growth you are experiencing. Remember that setting boundaries is not only a way to protect yourself, but also to create space for self-care, personal development and a healthy balance in your life. Dwell on the positive changes you experience, no matter how small they may seem, and be kind and patient with yourself during this process. You are on the right path to a life in which you put your own needs and well-being first.

Remember, learning to set boundaries is a valuable skill that helps you build healthy relationships, maintain your energy and follow your own path. By being aware of your boundaries, respecting yourself and communicating clearly, you give others a chance to understand you and respect your needs. Stay true to yourself, be courageous and enjoy the freedom and self-confidence that comes from consciously and powerfully setting your boundaries.

You deserve to live a life aligned with your values and well-being!

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