No Is A Full Sentence: How To Set Healthy Boundaries

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In Psychology Today, Dr. Abigail Brenner writes “Chances are people who try to invade your space are not thinking about you or how pushing the limits of your boundaries will affect you. They clearly feel entitled to get whatever they ask for, whatever they think they need, because, of course, their needs are more important than yours.” Sound familiar?

Whether you are setting boundaries with friends, setting boundaries at work or even setting dating boundaries, having the courage to say no can sometimes be really scary, but it is incredibly important. Setting boundaries in relationships is challenging; maybe you struggle with the guilt associated with saying no or you simply aren’t sure where to start. Wherever you may be on the journey to develop this skill, I have a few tips to help you set and keep healthy limits.

Be Self-Aware

Do you know what your personal limits are? In order to set healthy boundaries, you have to be aware of what you are comfortable with. Hard limits are not universal and what may not work for someone else may be perfect for you. Write down what respect looks like for you and what you consider to be overstepping. Don’t be afraid to really delve into what a healthy relationship in all facets of life looks like to you.

Be Clear and Direct

One thing that is really valuable to me is my time. I had an experience with a client who was chronically late. Each time they were late to a session, I felt disrespected and taken advantage of, but I had to take ownership of my time in order to change the situation. I spoke to the client and explained to them (and all of my clients from then on) the ground rules about being prompt, and I was really firm about it. This shift changed the way that we related to one another for the better.

Master the Art of Saying No

You owe it to yourself to be as clear with your no as you are with your yes, and the people in your life who respect you have an obligation to honor that. You don’t have to say yes to everything, in fact, saying yes to everything is a guaranteed way to burn out and lose the ability to perform the tasks that you said yes to. It may seem harsh, but I found it to be true. You have to recognize that you have the right to have limits and you don’t have to be uncomfortable for other people to thrive.

Take Responsibility for Yourself

At the end of the day, establishing healthy boundaries in relationships comes down to taking responsibility for how you feel which means taking the initiative to dismantle unhealthy boundaries. It may seem a bit challenging at first, but in the end, being firm about what you want in your space and being clear about your motivations will improve your relationships, business and in life. Practice saying no and meaning it; your business (and your psyche) will thank you!