Setting Positive Boundaries

It never fails to amaze me how people don’t understand boundaries. It comes up in sessions all the time: an overbearing mother using guilt, a significant other being co-dependent, or a pushy friend who’s involved more than you want them to be. These are just some examples of poor boundaries.

In order to create healthy boundaries, you first have to determine if you do too much for the person in question. When they ask you to do something, you have to ask 3 questions: Would they do it for me? How motivated am I do this? How much does it put me out?

I use this example: A friend asks me to take her to the airport at 5 in the morning on a weekday.

  • Would she do it for me?

Maybe, if there was no such thing as Uber and it were something important like a death in the family.

  • How motivated am I to do this?

Not at all! I’m not a morning person and this time doesn’t fit my schedule.

  • How much will it put me out?

Very much! My work day starts at 11 so this would have me out of bed 6-7 hours earlier than normal. Once I wake up I can’t go back to sleep. So, I would then be tired the rest of the day and that’s not good for me or my clients.

Two out of three “no’s” gives me my answer. This is not something I’m going to be doing for that friend.

Also, we train people how to treat us. I often amaze people when I tell them that I can’t remember the last time someone yelled at me, cursed at me, called me a name, or even raised their voice to me. It’s because I don’t allow it.

Any time I’m interacting with another person it’s coming from a place of love. I’m either trying to help that person or understand them better. I don’t get into “Who’s right?” conversations. If it starts to become that, I simply say, “This is getting heated. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.” I’ve yet to encounter anyone having an issue with that.

If someone comes at me sideways with a raised voice or a threatening tone, I point that out to them. It is completely possible that the person is not aware. I might say,“You sound like you’re getting upset. What’s wrong?” This gives them an opportunity to manage their tone and/or be aware that’s how they’re coming across.

If the situation continues to escalate, I disengage in it. That doesn’t mean I walk away without an explanation, I let the person know that they are clearly upset and that’s not a good time to have a conversation. And then I give a general time when it can be revisited.

Following these simple rules will help you build better boundaries with the people in your life. Trust me. This will make your life a lot better, easier, and calmer.

Hope this helps!

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