Boundaries are more important than ever right now. They can be intimidating to set and stick with but are essential to self-care. Although this is not nearly all the ways to increase better boundary setting, it is a start. Setting boundaries takes practice. It can be awkward, scary, and feel downright wrong. Reminding ourselves that boundaries are in place for the betterment of ourselves can help us when we need them the most. Here is a list of things to consider when we may be new to setting boundaries:
Practice Assertiveness. The thought of being assertive can be anxiety-provoking, but it’s important. Practice assertiveness with those close to you who you feel comfortable with, and this will become a habit. Assertiveness is the sweet spot for communicating our needs, likes, and dislikes. Getting into this habit can make you happier and help you gain a sense of more control.
Practice saying ‘No’. The word ‘no’ is often viewed as a negative word or being “mean”. There is nothing wrong with saying no. Try practicing this with telling a friend or family member “no, I do not want to hangout today, but thank you anyways”. No is not a bad word! It helps with setting firm and clear boundaries and will become easier when assertiveness is practiced in other areas.
Understand you are not in control of others’ feelings. It’s easy to feel like we are responsible for making others happy or comfortable- this is not always the case! It is not your job to make someone accept the boundaries you set, but it is your job to continue enforcing them. Boundaries are important and so are you. If someone responds negatively to a boundary you’ve set, it may be that this is something they are not used to, but that’s okay. Accepting that you are not in control of other’s feelings will help relieve some pressure off you and hopefully reduce some anxiety.
It is my hope that these short tips can help you start setting boundaries even if you are new to this, or help you continue enforcing them! Check in with yourself and your needs during this time. Remember: it is 100% okay to be assertive and say no, even with those closest to you. Take care of yourself, as your needs and wants are valid and important. What you have to say matters!