With the tendency to be a people pleaser, I’ve learned the hard way that setting healthy boundaries isn’t easy, but it is absolutely necessary. One of the main reasons why we need to set healthy boundaries is to maintain our sense of self while connecting and communicating (in healthy ways) with others. Setting healthy boundaries helps us discover our personal power and strength, while also improving our relationships (as it imparts greater respect for each other).
After recently watching an inspiring video by renowned peak performance and motivational author Brendon Burchard, he made the point that if you’re a people-pleaser it actually means you’re afraid of rejection. Well, I think he’s right! From the fear of disappointing our parents to being worried that our peers won’t like us, we often find it difficult to “rock the boat” and set boundaries, out of fear of rejection.
I think Dr. Seuss said it best, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.” I’ve decided to take this sage piece of advice at this point in my life because I’ve finally fully realized that people will only respect you if you respect yourself. When you know your worth, you believe in your value, and you put yourself first, setting boundaries becomes a natural way of communicating with other people.
3 Ways to Find Your Strength by Setting Healthy Boundaries:
Your belief in who you are and who you are meant to be is tantamount to anyone’s opinions.
Whether we’re seeking validation from our peers, accolades from our family, or approval from strangers, we need to keep in mind that other people’s opinions are not our business.
Humans have about 60,000 thoughts per day. Whether they’re criticizing themselves or judging others, most people’s brains are constantly churning out opinions (and oftentimes, they’re not positive ones). When you catch yourself worrying about the nay-sayers, the internet trolls, and the mean girls in the world, take a deep breath and remind yourself – I am so much more than other people’s opinions of me. Truth is – if we allow ourselves to be limited by the thoughts of others, we wouldn’t get very far in this world.
Let people know your ground rules.
From friendships to colleagues, and romantic relationships to familial ones, one of the best ways to set healthy boundaries with people is to let them know your ground rules upfront.
Basically, this means – tell people what your must-haves and non-negotiables are. For example, if trust is a must-have for you, then you need to make it explicitly clear that honesty is imperative for you to have in a relationship. If the person you’re dealing with has a tendency to lie, then you might need to go your separate ways if they won’t respect your boundary. Otherwise, you’ll end up being deceived, disrespected, and disappointed.
Know when to walk away.
Whether it’s for a few weeks, a few months, or forever – one of the keys to setting healthy boundaries with people is to know when to walk away.
It goes beyond having a difference of opinion or disagreement with others. Learning how to rise above conflict, take the high route, and simply walk away from a person who crosses your boundaries is sometimes a necessity. During this period of separation, it gives both people much-needed space (so they can get quiet and reflect upon what went wrong). As a result, if the relationship has a solid foundation, both people will usually end up reconciling through a greater sense of respect, empathy, and understanding. Conversely, if the relationship is truly toxic and irreparable, it’s best to just move on, period.
As difficult as it can be to have a conflict with others, by setting healthy boundaries, we actually help to protect and heal ourselves. In so doing, we set the framework for positive and healthy relationships to flourish, while consciously disassociating with unhealthy, toxic people. As challenging as this process is, it’s truly imperative if we want to live our best life.
For more tips on how to develop self-confidence, check out the Personal Growth section on I&C.
[Photography by JM3 Creative.]