Only you can determine and set boundaries in your relationships. Limits and boundaries are uniquely individual and personal, they can be flexible, and permeable Sometimes adjustments are made to personal boundaries on a moment-to-moment basis. Some boundaries may remain intact for years.
If a person needs a starting point for setting limits or boundaries with others, here are a few suggestions to try.
A good beginning is with linguistic empowerment. Language is a strong tool for good or for evil. What we say can shape what we become. In Colossians 4:6 God tells us to let our speech always be with grace and seasoned with salt. Love and truth is the key to acceptable speech. Consider the thought, when you say “YES” and you wanted to say “NO” you have just told a lie. The beginning of boundaries is making sure your speech is filled with grace and truth.
Where to start?
Ever day try to implement several of these suggestions and at week’s end evaluate the results.
- Say NO, respectfully, at least 2 times daily. (Later on practice, other phrases or words that mean what you are trying to say instead of using the NO word.)
- Counter your self-criticism with “SO WHAT?”
- Accept compliments. Don’t deny or over explain. Just Say “THANK YOU” or “ THANKS FOR NOTICING.”
- If asked an invasive question, instead of answering or giving information just respond with a question “WHY DO YOU ASK?”
- If someone over steps your boundaries, a useful phase to use without apologizing or over-explaining is “THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.”
- Use “I” statements to make clear where you stand without creating unnecessary confrontation or conflict.
An I statement works like this:
I FEEL …..(angry, sad, frustrated…) WHEN …(circumstance)………..I NEED …………….
(Example: I feel intimidated when you yell at me I need you to talk to me in a calm manner or I will leave the room.)
Use the approaches that feel right to you. Trust your instincts for what will work best in each relationship and situation.
The better you know yourself, it will become clearer where you need to strengthen your boundaries and limit.