“How do I know when to set a boundary?”
This is the #1 question I get asked about setting boundaries. You get it, you understand why you need to set boundaries, but how are you suppose to know when to do that?
Setting boundaries with others and with yourself is so important for your wellness. So often we find ourselves saying yes to things that we probably could have said no to. Saying yes to all the things is not always a good thing, especially when those things aren’t serving us. Things pile up and eventually lead us to a breakdown (read more about the breakdown here).
Boundaries are where our needs end and someone else’s needs begin. Boundaries are NOT selfish, they’re about your health and your wellness – whether the energy you’re putting in is serving you well or ultimately breaking you down.
So, how do we know when to set boundaries? Believe it or not, it has to do with your reactions and feelings. If you’ve been feeling frustrated and irritable lately and reacting out of anger – that could be the tall tale sign that boundary needs to be set. In our society, many of us have grown up to ignore and push away those feelings of anger because anger = out of control and unacceptable. But, I’m going to tell you different. I want you to confront, acknowledge, and embrace those feelings – dig deep into what those feelings mean to you, what’s happening in your life right now that is making you frustrated? What is making you mad? Why do you think that is? Are you overwhelmed with the amount of tasks you’ve been dealt? Do you have too much on your plate? Do you need help? Dig deep, find out what’s happening, and set that boundary!
Here’s an example:
You have a friend who is constantly showing up late. You make plans with them and every time they show up late you find yourself getting more irritable and frustrated and it starts to get on your nerves and makes you anger. You then start to create this story about why your friend is always late – they don’t respect you, they don’t care about you, they don’t value your time. A boundary needs to be set here. You’re friend doesn’t know what is happening, they don’t know your thinking up the imaginable (read more about expectations here). A clear conversation around the value of time that you have needs to be had. Sure, it will be uncomfortable – but it needs to happen. Tell your friend you feel as if they do not value time as much as you do and that when they show up late, to you, it feels like disrespect. This is how you would set a boundary.
It won’t always be comfortable to set a boundary. But when you do, when boundaries are set, this is where you can live to your full potential. This is where you learn to grow, this is where you put yourself first.
Feel free to watch my Coffee Talk here where I talk about where beliefs of anger come from, how we can rework the way we look at anger, and how to connect anger with setting boundaries.