I used to be a people pleaser. I would put other people’s needs and wants well above my own. I did that to the detriment of my own health, my time, my finances. I went against my own values so many times as well because the only thing that mattered to me was other people’s happiness. Have you ever done that?
Boundaries are clearly defined limits within which you are free to be yourself with no restrictions placed upon you by others as to how to think, feel or act. It’s when you are actually free to say yes or no when you want to. Boundaries are like a fence you put around your house to protect the things and people in it. Without boundaries you can get hurt but when you have definite boundaries it creates safety for you and it teaches others how to treat you. You need to know what’s acceptable and not acceptable to you and you need to make that understood by everyone around you. Having boundaries is a great way to take care of ourselves.
Have you ever felt taken advantaged of or resentful for always giving, giving, giving? That’s because you have given more than you are actually capable of giving. We need to give out of our overflow. If we give from our overflow then we can keep on giving because we are not utilizing our own supply. When we use our own supply for others over and over again, we are allowing other people to keep on taking. It is truly beneficial for everyone concerned when you set boundaries as it can also enable others to grow by being conscious of their own behaviours therefore allowing them to change. Healthy boundaries create more of what you want and less of what you don’t want therefore you are more likely to foster the behaviour you want.
When you’ve never practiced setting boundaries it can be a little scary. That’s normal. It’s like anything though; the more you do it the better you’ll be. You need to determine what you don’t want to tolerate anymore. You need to be direct and firm yet kind and say that you can no longer accept that behaviour. If someone keeps asking you for favours and you truly cannot do it, just say “no”. The first few “no’s” are the hardest then it becomes easier and easier. You don’t need to provide long explanations or defend yourself either. Just be honest, direct and polite.
By setting boundaries, you will increase your self-esteem, you’ll get the respect from others and you will feel a sense of protection. Whatever you do, stay strong and don’t give in.