I have talked about my anxiety and how the source of it was my low self esteem.
Another product of my low self esteem was my lack of understanding about how to set boundaries in my relationships. This resulted in feelings of disrespect and resentment, which I didn’t know how to reconcile.
Even without the anxiety and self esteem factors, it can be difficult to know how to set boundaries in our relationships. However, boundaries are a necessary tool for healthy relationships and for our own self care.
Boundaries are a necessary tool for healthy relationships and for our own self care.Click To Tweet
I have come up with a few principles that I’ve learned since I began to deal with my anxiety and improve the things in my life that weigh me down.
Be honest about how you feel
Honesty is truly the best policy.
In the past I have had trouble being upfront about things that I disagree with or speaking up when I feel that someone has crossed a line with me personally. I didn’t want to upset anyone, especially if the person in question was a loved one.
What I have learned is that people respect me more now that I am forward about my thoughts and feelings.
Even if they are in disagreement, most people appreciate knowing where they stand with you. They also appreciate knowing how you feel so that they don’t unintentionally say or do something that could make you feel unappreciated or disrespected.
When you’re communicating your thoughts or feelings, it is helpful to focus on using “I” statements instead of “You” statements. “I” statements sound less accusatory and can help deflect feelings of blame or defensiveness. Say things like:
I don’t like it when the garbage isn’t taken out when it’s full.
I’m having a hard time concentrating on my work because the music is loud.
I feel like taking on another task would be too much for me.
Be direct and set clear expectations
Communicating your thoughts and feelings will let people know where they stand with you, but sometimes they don’t know where to go from there.
It is helpful to set your expectations clearly and directly so that the other person knows what you want from them.
People generally want to be mindful of and conform to the personal standards you set for your relationships. Don’t you find yourself doing the same thing for them?
We can expand on the examples from above and say something like:
I don’t like it when the garbage isn’t taken out when it’s full. Would you please take it out now?
I’m having a hard time concentrating on my work because the music is loud. Would you mind turning it down?
I feel like taking on another task would be too much for me. I will let you know if that changes!
It’s okay to put yourself first
Keep in mind that speaking your mind and being upfront about your feelings is healthy and important, not only for you but for the people around you.
We all have different personalities and cultural backgrounds and none of us have the ability to read minds.
People communicate differently and sometimes it’s necessary to address incompatibilities in order to get on the same page and have a productive, mutually beneficial relationship.
There is nothing wrong with speaking up and letting others know that something doesn’t work for you or isn’t okay with you. In turn, you should also be able to offer a solution that would resolve the conflict on your end.
Talk to Me
What methods do you use to set boundaries in your relationships? Is this something that you struggle with or something that comes easily to you? Tell me in the comments below!