Do you struggle to find ways to say ‘no’ comfortably?
What are healthy boundaries?
Healthy boundaries are limits and guidelines that individuals establish to protect their physical, emotional, and mental well-being, as well as their values and beliefs. They allow individuals to communicate their needs and expectations clearly and assertively, while also respecting the needs and boundaries of others. Being able to recognise your limits on any given day and communicate those limits to others is vital for your mental wellbeing, energy, productivity, happiness and of course, confidence.
How does boundary setting impact everyday life?
Each time you put someone else’s needs before your own, you reinforce the belief that you are less important than they are and slip deeper into a negative confidence spiral. Often people with chronic low confidence struggle to even know what their needs and limits actually are as they have sacrificed themselves so much over the years. This makes it even harder to communicate and reinforce these ‘boundaries’, and the cycle continues.
Small acts of self-prioritisation however, send the message to your mind that you are worth prioritising and, over time, will slowly build your self-worth.
People who struggle with boundary setting may have experienced a childhood where boundaries were not respected or modelled by those around them. There could also be trauma that meant for their own survival it was required that their own needs were suppressed. As an adult we can learn how to set healthy boundaries and change these learned patterns of behaviour.
Consider these questions and jot down answers for each:
In a parallel universe, where you are living your full, unapologetic life with no fear or limitations, what are you doing that makes you:
Using these answers, make a list of creative ways you could create these things right now. This exercise is about reconnecting with what is important to you, and to start you on the journey to reclaiming yourself.
Research ways to say ‘no’ that feel comfortable to you. Start with phrases that buy you some time if that feels easier. E.g. “That sounds really interesting. I want to think about it properly, so can you give me a day to come back to you on it?”
Download the worksheet below to start setting healthy boundaries for yourself and others.