This blog shares information on how to set boundaries. Boundaries help create a clear guideline of how you would like to be treated, by letting others know what is and what is not okay or acceptable. You may create boundaries with family, friends, or yourself. There may also be a need for boundaries in your workplace, with your boss or colleagues.
It can feel intimidating to create and set boundaries at first. It could be that you were once available for someone or involved with someone in one way or another, but that arrangement no longer suits your best interests. Regardless of how things used to go, you now want to shift expectations and maintain clear boundaries moving forward.
By setting boundaries, you may experience increased self-trust, self-respect, and healthier relationships in your life. The four steps to this include: 1. Understand your current needs and how to achieve them. 2. Communicate them clearly to others. 3. Maintain and set consequences if they are broken. 4. Finally, practice positive self-talk throughout this process.
Individual therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides you with a non-judgmental, compassionate space to talk about and process difficult feelings. Make sure to check out our blog on Coping with Toxic Family Members!
You can set boundaries with yourself, with friends or family, with partners, within work/school settings, and more.
How to Set Boundaries: Understand your current needs and how to achieve them
Understand your current needs and how to achieve them. You may notice yourself feeling increasingly irritable, burnt out, or overwhelmed. This could be due to juggling numerous things at once, where you de-prioritize your own needs. Others may depend on you for your time, energy, or attention that you are needing for yourself.
Ask yourself: “what am I currently needing? What has been causing me stress lately? What do I feel needs to change right now?”. List out potential stressors in your life that may be causing you to experience stress, guilt, anxiety, or overall negative feelings. You may already have insight into what is causing you to feel this way, but are unsure of how to navigate it.
There are five ways to assess your current needs. This can take some reflecting and checking in with yourself. While you may not be able to connect the dots immediately, practicing being aware and mindful of your natural reactions can help you better understand them.
First, note what your initial, natural reaction is. Do you instantly think, “Yes, No, I’m not sure, I don’t want to, I do want to”? Check in with your body to understand if there are any cues coming up, such as tensing up, an increased heart rate, or relaxed muscles. Try to name any feelings you experience such as worry, excitement, or uncertainty. From there, you can begin to understand what you may be needing at the moment.
In anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, CA, you and your therapist can work together to understand what your needs may be, and how to go about establishing them. Make sure to check out our blog on How to Navigate Conflict in the Workplace!
Becoming familiar with your natural reactions and connecting those to your inner needs or desires can help you better understand and communicate them.
How to Set Boundaries: Communicate them clearly to others
Communicate your boundaries clearly to others. These boundaries should be simple and concise, and you should not have to overly explain them. There are various situations where you can communicate them clearly to others, depending on what works best for you.
It can feel awkward stating your boundaries, especially if you may have already done something that has gone against those boundaries in the past. You may feel hesitation if it’s randomly being brought up, and want to wait for the right moment to do so.
However, doing this as soon as you feel confident with your boundaries is best. You can communicate them in-person, over text or email, or over the phone. Starting the conversation around it can look like, “Hey, I wanted to check in with you about something”, and go from there to directly state what your boundary is.
A few examples include:
- “I am no longer available for work-related questions after my work day is over.”
- “I am no longer going to be able to help you with less than 24-hour notice, and still cannot guarantee my availability.”
- “I’m not comfortable talking about this topic with you anymore. You will need to talk to someone else about this, or take some steps to resolve the issue yourself.”
- “My availability is x, y, and z, and that is set for now.”
- “I do not go to someone’s home after the first date and decide to do that myself when I feel comfortable.”
- “I am no longer going to share my homework answers with you. You will need to find someone else to do this or seek out help from the teacher instead.”
- “If you continue to yell and insult me, I will exit the conversation.”
It can be expected that you may encounter a level of defensiveness or rejection of your boundaries by the other party.
It’s important to remain firm in your boundaries and reiterate them if the other person or people are having difficulty understanding. They may argue about how you were once available before, how your boundary will now inconvenience them, and that they are not happy with your decision.
What matters most is that you are trusting yourself and attending to your own needs first. This does not mean that you are selfish or do not care about other people; it means that you are finding ways to navigate life that best works for you.
Make sure to check out our blog on 4 Ways to Create Space for Healthy Friendships! Individual therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides you with a space to vent, relieve stress, and work to create solutions to current stressors.
Individuals who truly care for your well-being will be flexible to accommodate your needs and maintain active communication around them.
How to Set Boundaries: Maintain them and set consequences if they are broken
Maintain them and set consequences if they are broken. You may notice that you communicate your boundary to others, they seem receptive at first, yet continue to disregard them. It’s essential that you continue to maintain these boundaries you’ve put in place. When we break our own boundaries, we may begin to disregard our own needs. Furthermore, boundaries are important to establish mutual respect within relationships.
It’s true that not everyone will be happy with certain boundaries put in place. However, as long as they are reasonable to you, you do not need to justify anything about them. Keep your boundaries simple and clear. This way, there is no room for misunderstanding or miscommunication about them.
If individuals are continuing to disregard your boundaries, certain consequences need to be exercised. If they don’t respect your boundaries now, they are likely not going to take them or you seriously in the future. This is not meant to punish anyone in your life, but it does let them know what you will and will not tolerate.
An example of a consequence is temporarily stopping communication, or cutting it off all together. If you interact with an individual who constantly tries to instigate arguments, such as a family member or partner, you may need to eventually deny them access to you for a period of time.
When we allow others to mistreat us or not respect our needs or boundaries, we essentially enable their inappropriate behavior. It communicates to them that it’s okay to act a certain way, as they will still have access to us.
Individual therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides you with a space to focus solely on your well-being and needs. Make sure to check out our blog on How to Validate Yourself!
You deserve to be treated with respect from the people in your life. If you are not feeling mutual respect in your relationships, it may be time to evaluate the value of your relationships with others.
How to Set Boundaries: Practice positive self-talk
Practice positive self-talk when coming up with boundaries, setting them, and maintaining them. It can be difficult to remain firm, especially if we have a fear of disappointing or upsetting others. We may feel the need to break out of our boundaries sometimes due to hesitation or feeling bad.
However, validating ourselves that it’s ok to have needs, and it’s good to have boundaries, is key! Otherwise, we may succumb to being taken advantage of in situations such as being overworked with no compensation or not appreciated for efforts or skills.
We may often seek to prioritize others’ feelings or needs over our own out of a place of love and care. While this is normal, we may not always realize if it’s affecting ourselves negatively. Treating ourselves with respect and compassion can help us navigate feelings of guilt, regret, or anxiety.
Affirming yourself with positive mantras or statements can help you feel confident about your boundaries. Some examples of this include:
- My needs matter, and I will maintain my boundaries to validate this.
- My feelings, needs, and desires are valid.
- What I choose to do with my free time is up to me, and me only.
- I am deserving of resting and attending to myself.
- Today I will love myself and prioritize what I want to do.
- When I have time to help others, I will. I acknowledge that I deserve time to help myself, too.
- Setting boundaries is healthy for myself and others.
Make sure to check out our blog on 3 Steps for Reversing Negative Self-Talk! Anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, CA helps you in identifying common negative self-talk, and finding ways to replace it with positive self-talk.
Setting boundaries can provoke anxiety, and cause us to overthink or question how valid we really are.
You do not have to struggle with learning to prioritize your needs and install boundaries within your relationships alone. In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either. Make sure to check out our blog on How to Validate Yourself!
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation! Make sure to check out our blog on How to Sit with Uncomfortable Feelings.
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.