Saying “no” can be good for you when you are setting a limit. Setting boundaries can be difficult at times, especially with certain people, but they are important to set because they protect us. If we do not set them, those around us do not know how to do better and we can become resentful or hurt. If those around us don’t respect them after we set them, that is an entirely different issue.
Here are a few tips on how to get started figuring out what your boundaries are:
- Understanding that they need to be set is the first battle. How can you tell? Anytime you are beginning to feel overwhelmed or that “gross” uncomfortable feeling, it is a good sign that a boundary needs to be set or isn’t being respected. Take a step back to consider your situation. Here are some examples of what you can ask yourself:
- Are you comfortable with the role you are playing?
- Are you comfortable with the workload you have taken on?
- Have you already discussed this with the appropriate person?
If you answered no to them all, try communicating with the person that can support you. If you answered no to one of the first two but yes to the last one, you may need to consider if you are in the right place.
2. Decide what your values are. This will help you prioritize what is important and set the stage accordingly. For example, if you are someone who values time over money, it may be more important for you to have a set schedule where you have more time for yourself, friends and family, and less time working.
3. Be clear. Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate what you want and the other person may not receive your message the way you intended them to. If you do not want a friend to call you after 9pm at night because you have to get up early the next morning, but you say that you are bad at checking your messages at night, they are not going to hear that hard line you were trying to draw.
Sometimes it is about taking a break to make sure you are taking care of yourself, and other times it is about making sure you are setting a limit. Boundaries are about you, not other people, and are going to be different for each person. What may feel comfortable for one person, may not feel comfortable for you. Once you figure out what your boundaries are, setting them may be a little easier.