Setting boundaries is all about how you allow others to treat you and to have an impact on you. Boundaries are not necessarily about saying yes, or no. It is possible to set up boundaries by simply refraining from being in a place where you know your personal needs will be stepped on.

Here are 7 steps to setting and keeping healthy boundaries:

  1. Recognize that you need to set boundaries

    You might think that you have an anger issue, or that you are exhausted from working too hard, when in fact you haven’t learnt how to set boundaries. Feeling worked up, angry, exhausted, resentful, or frustrated are signs of lacking boundaries.

  2. Say no!

    It is quite common to have difficulties with saying no. It feels better to say yes and please to everyone, but the truth is that excessive yes-saying leads to a lot of disappointment. Practice saying no and learn the effects. Even if you think you have the time to help out with something, or fix something, just say no and see that it doesn’t change how people look at you.

  3. Value your time

    In order to please the people around you and still stay sane, you must value your time. This can be done by a schedule. You will allow yourself time for family, work, and hobbies, and stick to your plan. If Wednesday night is family night, the work related calls can wait till the next day. Setting boundaries by a schedule will increase the respect you get from other people, and it will help you focus on what you are doing right now.

  4. Be honest with yourself

    Take a moment to look at the past few days. How have you felt about your life? Have there been moments when you just wished that you could escape reality? If this is so you need to be honest with yourself and pinpoint what made you feel stressed, exhausted or angry. If you see that a certain friendship is bad for you, consider ending it before it eats you up!

  5. Don’t be where your boundaries are not respected

    Once you learn more about your boundaries and how to say no, you will realize that certain places are extremely difficult to be and still keep the healthy boundaries intact. If this place is your parents’ home, you might have to limit the time you spend there in order to keep a normal relationship with them and stay healthy and happy.

  6. Limit your time to help others

    It is certainly ok to want to help others, but make sure to limit the time for this. If you have a friend who is always calling for emotional support you can say “I can only talk for 10 minutes, and then I have to go.”

  7. Learn to Communicate

    If you learn to communicate in an open way, it will be easier for you to show other people what you want. Learning how to express your needs is an important way for setting and keeping healthy boundaries.

    Copyright © 2010 Alina Steinberg Baugh, MS | Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 1499 Bayshore Highway, #210 | Burlingame, CA 94010 | 650.539.9662