Boundaries are expectations and needs that help you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. Expectations in relationships help you stay mentally and emotionally well. Learning when to say no and when to say yes is also an essential part of feeling comfortable when interacting with others. Nedra Glover Tawwab, Set Boundaries, Find Peace
Therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab has written a practical book about boundaries. In Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself (2021) she “identifies six types of boundaries—physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional, material, and time” (Publishers Weekly).
The following quotes will give you helpful ideas about how to set boundaries to improve your life.
Tell people what you need.
Assume that people know only what you tell them, honor only what you request, and can’t read your mind.
Setting limits won’t disrupt a healthy relationship.
Setting boundaries is not a betrayal of your family, friends, partner, work, or anyone or anything else.
Neglecting self-care is the first thing to happen when we get caught up in our desire to help others.
Avoidance is a passive-aggressive way of expressing that you are tired of showing up.
The ability to say no to yourself is a gift. If you can resist your urges, change your habits, and say yes to only what you deem truly meaningful, you’ll be practicing healthy self-boundaries. It’s your responsibility to care for yourself without excuses.
We can’t create more time, but we can do less, delegate, or ask for help.
…I say no to things I don’t like. I say no to things that don’t contribute to my growth. I say no to things that rob me of valuable time. I spend time around healthy people. I reduce my interactions with people who drain my energy. I protect my energy against people who threaten my sanity. I practice positive self-talk. I allow myself to feel and not judge my feelings. I forgive myself when I make a mistake. I actively cultivate the best version of myself. I turn off my phone when appropriate. I sleep when I’m tired. I mind my business. I make tough decisions because they’re healthy for me. I create space for activities that bring me joy. I say yes to activities that interest me despite my anxiety about trying them. I experience things alone instead of waiting for the “right” people to join me.
Those of us who are people-pleasers assume that others won’t like it when we advocate for what we want. Therefore, we pretend to go along in an effort to be accepted by others. But healthy people appreciate honesty and don’t abandon us if we say no.
Once you grow beyond pleasing others, setting your standards becomes easier. Not being liked by everyone is a small consequence when you consider the overall reward of healthier relationships.
Remember: there is no such thing as guilt-free boundary setting. If you want to minimize (not eliminate) guilt, change the way you think about the process. Stop thinking about boundaries as mean or wrong; start to believe that they’re a nonnegotiable part of healthy relationships, as well as a self-care and wellness practice.
Of course we have no way of knowing how someone else will respond to our assertiveness. When someone has a history of rage and anger, it’s understandable that we would avoid setting limits with that person. But we victimize ourselves further when we let our fear prevent us from doing what we need to do.