Helpful Tips For Establishing Boundaries

Helpful tips for establishing boundaries.

Establishing boundaries used to be nonexistent in my life. After I found myself in an extremely toxic relationship, I realized that part of the reason I stayed for so long was because I lost sight of my voice and any ounce of self-respect.

When we continue to accept poor behavior from others in our lives, it’s essentially giving the other person a green light to treat us how they want to. People will always treat you how you allow them to treat you. We set the standard for what’s expected from a relationship or friendship early on. When we dismiss or overlook behavior that should be addressed, the standards for boundaries become completely blurred.  

Conforming to who and what somebody else expected me to be all the time, quickly caused me to lose sight of my self-awareness—something that took me many years to regain. Without awareness of who we are and what we stand for, boundaries can often be overlooked or forgotten altogether. A lack of boundaries means we’re essentially saying, “It’s okay to treat me how you see fit.” 

Boundaries are crucial for self-respect, and helps determine what is and isn’t okay in your life. If you’re struggling with boundaries in your own life, here are some helpful tips for establishing boundaries:

Be Okay With The Word “No”

I read the other day that the word “no” is a complete sentence. I used to always feel like I had to explain myself when I told people what they didn’t want to hear, even if I had a completely valid excuse. But once I realized that we don’t always have to explain ourselves, I felt more confident saying no if I couldn’t or didn’t want to do something.

Never agree to something just because it makes you feel uncomfortable saying no. The ability to say no is more about being able to stand up for yourself, rather than just conforming to what other people want you to do. 

If you constantly say “yes” when it’s not something you can or want to do, then it’ll become more expected, and you’ll eventually run yourself to a place of burnout. You’ll be more thankful that you said no in the beginning, rather than trying to backtrack and figure out how you’re going to get out of something that you can’t commit to in the first place. 

Saying no when you can’t or don’t want to commit to something should be a non-negotiable boundary. You’re showing more respect for yourself when you refuse to overcommit or take on more than you can handle, rather than just agreeing to something for the sake of pleasing somebody else. 

Voice Your Opinion When It Needs To Be Heard 

You might find it hard to speak up when trying to voice how you feel if you have a lack of established boundaries in your life. But a sign of self-respect is addressing the things that bother you, and voicing your opinion right away, so it can be heard. 

In the past, I put off things I wanted to avoid because I was hoping they would somehow get resolved without confrontation or intervention. My energy began to drain when I dismissed how I felt, and simply agreed with others to avoid any type of conflict. When you hold in how you feel and don’t stick up for yourself, it only leaves you feeling more anxious and exhausted.

Never be afraid to speak your voice, no matter how it might come across to somebody else. It’s not your job to consistently make somebody else feel better, because you’ll only be disregarding your feelings and voice in the end.

Figure Out What’s Most Important To You 

Boundaries help you separate and prioritize what’s most important to you vs. what can be focused on later. It takes time to figure out what your boundaries are, and how you can start making them a part of your life. Especially if it’s not something you’ve previously made a priority before.

Some boundaries might be non-negotiable to you, such as: having open and honest communication, mutual respect, and accountability. But others could be more flexible, including trying to work fewer hours per week or giving yourself more free time during the weekend.

Healthy boundaries require having a healthy relationship with yourself. Once you’re clear about who you are and what’s most important for your mental health and self-care, you’ll know what boundaries are essential in your life.

People will always treat you how you allow them to treat you.

Don’t Be Afraid To Stick By Your Boundaries 

Sometimes we might not stick by our boundaries in fear of what it might look like to others. We might fear confrontation from the other person if we’re not conforming to what they want, or out of fear of being disliked or rejected in general. 

Once you establish your boundaries, it’s important to stick by them, no matter how you might feel at the moment. You’ll end up having more respect for yourself in the end because you stuck to something you promised yourself that was non-negotiable. 

If someone doesn’t agree with your boundaries, then it gives you a chance to re-evaluate and reflect on the relationships and people in your life. Even if somebody can’t understand a boundary you set, they should still respect you enough to value your decisions and how you feel. 

By prioritizing yourself and learning how to establish boundaries, it helps you become clear about who you are and what you need out of the relationships in your life. You’ll pay attention to what’s important for self-care, and refuse to take on more than you can handle. It takes time to find your voice and establish boundaries, but once you do, you’ll never settle for anything less.

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  1. 4.17.24
    Katie said:

    Boundaries are something I work on daily. As a recovering people pleaser, it’s challenging. I sometimes feel I’m being too harsh, but I know that’s not the case. I have to do what’s best and healthiest for me. Also, I’m learning to be mindful of and respect the boundaries that others have.

    • 4.18.24

      People pleasing is something I struggled with for SO many years. I’m better about it now, but it’s still a work in progress. I agree with you, what’s most important is putting our mental health first, even if it feels uncomfortable at times!

  2. 4.17.24
    Tara B | Breakthrough Loading said:

    These are such simple (yet so often overlooked) tips for those trying to establish boundaries for themselves. Thank you for the gentle reminder that we are in control of our own lives!

    • 4.18.24

      Yes we are! Something that, I agree, can often be overlooked or forgotten about. But sometimes the most impactful changes come from something as simple as determining what our boundaries are, and sticking by them no matter what!

  3. 4.17.24

    The graphic saying “people will always treat you the way you allow them to treat you” was a reality check for me haha. It’s SO true!!!

  4. 4.17.24
    Cassie said:

    I have had so many toxic relationships and friendships because I never knew what setting boundaries was! Now with my little family, it’s so important to establish healthy boundaries that are to protect them. My favorite one is “no is a complete sentence” great read and more to think about and process! Thanks!

    • 4.18.24

      So did I! It took me a long time to learn the importance of establishing boundaries. But then I finally realized I was only hurting myself in the end. I loved that when I read it, too. So true! Thanks for reading!