Week 2: Build Your Boundaries
Like anything, practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to boundaries. Last week we reflected on five areas in our life that need boundaries - physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional and financial - and this week we’re going to get to work and start building in the area you feel the most important to you.
The best way to identify where you need a boundary is to reflect on the last time you felt unheard or dismissed. Oftentimes others will dismiss a comment or boundary if we aren’t clear with our boundaries and standing firm in them. For example, if a friend asked if you were free to attend a dinner and you said you can’t but they pushed you as to why, or why you couldn’t move things around to make the dinner a priority? I’ve seen time and time again when we say no, without a ‘valid’ reason, others will dismiss our no and push back to see if they can get the response or answer they want.
When you identify that specific area or situation you felt dismissed, let's use that to start building boundaries. Replay the situation or conversation and identify where you initially said or defined your boundary - what followed it? Was it a remark or a question? Was it a completely dismissive comment that completely ignored your boundary? Now replay the situation again and following the response, say your boundary (or simply no) again. Envision yourself standing firm with strong posture and state your boundary again.
Some simple yet effective responses to start implementing boundaries are:
“I said no thank you”
“I don’t feel comfortable with that”
“As much as I’d like to, I know it’s not right for me to join”
“I believe we can have different opinions and still respect each other”
“That’s not how I’m choosing to spend my money right now”
This week take time to reflect on situations you felt your boundaries being pushed and replay them by inserting these responses to stand strong in your boundary. As you take time to replay these conversations also take note of responses that feel comfortable and true to you. Actually write them out! By writing out responses you will be training yourself to implement them in your daily language and they will start to feel more and more natural. Soon these uncomfortable situations will start to feel empowering as you are able to articulate and clearly draw your boundary.