To know where healthy boundaries are needed, it’s important to create a clear sense of identity and who you feel you truly are. If you’re feeling disconnected from this, go back to some of your journaling around core beliefs and revisit the visualisation or letter writing exercises of module 8.

 

Top Tips for Implementing Boundaries

  1. Know Who You Really Are: we’ve have been completing this step throughout the course so you should have a good idea now of the negative core values that have been sabotaging your honest authentic self and you have defined the positive core beliefs you are wanting to live by.
  2. Know Your Needs: throughout this course we have done a variety of self-care practises that help you to feel safe and secure. What else do you need to feel secure and stay connected to yourself and that source of inner wisdom and your inner parent? Does solitude nourish you? Do you thrive off a particular morning routine to start your day? Or do you yearn for more social interaction? What boundaries can you set to protect your time, energy, and well-being?
  3. Be Firm and Fair: When you’re inputting a boundary it’s important to be clear and firm both with yourself and with others. Those who struggle with boundaries often struggle to be direct and feel afraid and come across apologetic and waffly. This makes it difficult for the other to understand and hear your message clearly.
  4. Do not Over-Explain: be clear in what you mean and explain what this will look like in practise for you and for them. Avoid over-explaining, becoming overly emotional, or engaging in debates to defend yourself. If you tend to over-explain to alleviate guilt, resist this urge. It only dilutes your message and you’ll need to have the conversation again.
  5. Seek Support and stand firm: Share your boundary-setting journey with someone you trust and allow them to offer encouragement and support. It can be challenging, and you’re making significant changes.
  6. Reinforce your boundaries with Action: Clearly state your boundary, and if it’s disregarded, follow through with a consequence. For instance, “Please don’t speak to me like that.” And if they continue to, reassert your boundary and give a consequence. “The way you’re speaking to me feels rude and hurtful and if you continue I will end our call.”
  7. Be aware of the language you use. Use phrases such as:
    1. “It’s important to me that…”
    2. “In order to meet the needs of this task/event/situation I need…”
    3. “Thank you for your suggestion/request. Let me have a think about it and get back to you tomorrow/Friday/in a weeks time.”
    4. “I’m afraid that doesn’t sit well with me…”
    5. “It’d be great to talk about that further so we can see how it can best work for us both.”
    6. “I appreciate that you are speaking from a place of love but I’d really appreciate it if you could ask me if I’d like your advice/opinion first.”
    7. “I get that you’re trying to help, and I’m grateful that you care, but what I’m actually needing right now is…”
    8. “When you said x, it really hurt and I felt…”
  8. Avoid imposing your boundaries on other people. Remember that boundaries go both ways so avoid rigidly imposing your rules on other people. If you struggle with setting boundaries, it’s probable that you also find it challenging to maintain them. Ask the other what input they’d like from you if you aren’t sure what their boundaries are:
    1. “What would you find most helpful from me?”
    2. “Would it be useful to give my opinion or talk about my experience of this?”
  9. Other people’s reactions are not your responsibility. Other people may find it a surprise to hear you asserting yourself or it may be troubling for them because they can’t get their way as their used to. This isn’t your fault and it isn’t your responsibility. They are a grown up adult and can regulate their feelings and find solutions for themselves. Do not get tangled up in making it okay for them.

 

Remember:

  • Be prepared to set consequences for a boundary being broken.
  • Recognise that boundaries can be negotiable.
  • Allow time for other people to catch up with this new you and your boundaries. It may take more than one conversation to help them understand what you need and what you can offer.

 

Examples of boundaries with consequences:

  • Anger: “Stop directing your aggressive anger at me. If you don’t, I’ll leave the room.”
  • Buy time: “It’s important to me that I make the right decision so I would like some time to consider my response and if you’re needing an immediate answer, I’ll need to politely decline.”
  • Criticism: “I’m not comfortable about the comments you’re making about me/my personal life. Please stop. If you don’t, I will stop and this conversation will end.”
  • Saying no: “I don’t have the capacity/time to help right now.”
  • Financial boundaries: “I care about you but I also care about myself and so I won’t be lending you anymore money.”

 

Action Step

Journalling exercise:

  • Reflect on the above and write down any thoughts or feelings that in emerge in response.
  • Review the list of boundaries you made in the previous topic. Do you need to amend them or add any additional ones?
  • Review you list of high-risk and low-risk situations and start to draft out some boundaries you can put in place using the suggestions above.