A common struggle within any relationship is setting boundaries. Most people feel like their being too harsh or worry that they might hurt the other person’s feelings. If setting boundaries is difficult for you, I can assure you that you’re actually working on creating healthier relationship by respecting your limits. Think about boundaries as a fence surrounding you and this fence has an alert system that tells you when someone has crossed your fence. Feelings typically associated with someone crossing your boundaries are anger, agitation, annoyed, frustrated, overwhelmed, nervous, and more. These feelings are alerting YOU that something needs to be addressed.
One of the first steps is learning how to actually set a boundary. A good practice is thinking about how you say “no” to others. Saying “no” can be expressed by using a range from gentle to assertive responses. Imagine you’re asked by a coworker for a favor to complete a time-consuming task in addition to having your own responsibilities to complete. Here are a few examples of saying “no”:
“Unfortunately, I cant get to it today. How about I work on it tomorrow?”
“My schedule is really packed, I wont be able to work on it.”
“I can’t work on it”
Notice how the responses starts with a compromise response to a purposeful “no.” Many of us believe that there is only one way to reinforce your boundaries and if we’re not comfortable with the word “no,” then our only option is to please the other person. It’s important to practice your range to test your level of comfort when asserting your boundaries. Try it today and see what you discover.