Let us face it- setting boundaries can be hard! To start, what exactly are boundaries? Personal
boundaries are limits and rules that we set for ourselves within relationships. It is a way of
communicating needs and values to others and to self in order to protect against them being
violated or disrespected. Healthy boundaries are a form of self-care, self-respect, and self-love.
Without them, one may feel depleted, taken advantage of, resentful, angry or burnt out. Often
times, people with people pleasing tendencies have a difficult time setting boundaries because
they fear disappointing or displeasing others. As a result, they often time compromise their
own needs and values, which tends to leave them feeling drained and worthless over time.
Fortunately, boundary setting is a skill set that can be worked on and improved. Below are a
few tips to consider upon working on setting boundaries in your life.
- Consider values and beliefs: When setting a boundary are you making a decision that
will pull you closer to your values in life? For example, if family is a strong value, you
may set a boundary with yourself and others that you will not reply to work calls over
the weekend. Ultimately, the incorporation of this boundary will give you more time
with your family and have you feeling less resentful about going back to work on
- Communication: Communicate with yourself and others about the expectations of
boundaries. The best way to do this may be by using and “I statement.” For instance, “ I
value time with my family, so I will not be answering work calls over the weekend.”
- Practice saying “no!”: This can be a hard one for a lot of people. It is often times
uncomfortable and uneasy. The good news is you can say “no” in a polite and kind way.
Think of something called the “sandwich approach.” The sandwich approach includes
telling the person something positive, followed by the “no” statement, and ending with
something positive. To give you an illustration it might sound something like: “ Thank
you so much for wanting to keep me posted, but I won’t be answering work calls this
weekend because I will be with my family. I look forward to hearing the update on
- Be consistent: Your boundaries do not carry much weight if you don’t enforce them.
Some people in your life will continue to push past the boundary, and it’s important to
remind yourself of why you set the boundary to begin with.
- Expect discomfort: Setting boundaries does not always feel good. In fact, it may even
feel awkward or uncomfortable. Even with the discomfort, it is important to challenge
yourself to set the boundary. At times, you might feel guilty for asking for what you
need. Remember, your needs matter! Most people in your life who care about you as a
person will understand and respect the boundaries you have set. You may even find
yourself surprised with how well people react to them.
Setting boundaries can be challenging but it is an essential part of self-respect. Learning this
skill can improve your self-esteem and enhance your relationships in life!
At Mountain Vista Psychology we can help you work through your anxiety and teach you how to overcome it. Our therapists are ready to talk. For a FREE consult email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 720-583-9339.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!