1) Set your boundaries!
Boundaries are where we begin and another person ends. Your feelings, responsibilities, and actions all fall within your boundaries. How others feel, act, and respond are within their boundaries. If you are feeling over-responsible for someone in your life, you are likely picking up some of the slack that they should be tending to.
2) Boundaries are about YOU.
When you are thinking about your boundaries, focus on what you know you need. If you can’t answer the phone when a friend calls every day, focus on how on you need rest. Your emotions are a good indicator of if you feel like you are being taken advantage of, or if you feel like you are taking on responsibility for someone else. If you are left feeling frustrated or resentful in any of your relationships, think of this as a sign that you may need to set some limits.
3) You can’t change other people.
When you start feeling responsible for others, it’s tempting to start to think that it’s your job to help them and ultimately to change them. The goal with setting boundaries is not to control others, but to set your limits with how their actions affect you.
4) You get to decide what you’re willing to put up with.
You always have a choice. It may not feel like good choices, but you always have them. If you don’t want to do your roommates dishes, you don’t have to! You might have to choose to deal with a sink full of dishes for a while, but you have a choice between the two.
You can choose to say no to a friend when they ask for a favor, even if the alternative is them being upset with you. Our choices come with repercussions, but no one can “punish” you for not doing what they want. You have the choice.
5) Don’t stress over someone’s negative response.
Something that I have found to be true time and time again is that healthy boundaries automatically weed out toxic people. If someone responds negatively to your boundaries, they likely needed the reality check. They can either respect your boundaries, or they may be someone who you need some distance from. If you’re struggling with feeling guilty about setting boundaries I talk more about guilt in my blog post 3 Reasons to Say No More Often.
Happy boundary setting!