15 Nov

Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries

What is it you want to change?

Making change and setting new boundaries begins with you.  As much as you might want your significant other, mother, co-worker, best friend or neighbour to change, you will find it far easier to make the change begin with you.  It might mean you have to step out of your comfort zone, be assertive, feel uncomfortable for a while and face your fears but without making the change to make new choices, nothing will change.

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Reflect on these questions first before reading The 10 Steps to Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries

•  What do you want ‘insert the name of the person here’ to stop doing?
•  What would you like ‘insert the name of the person here’ to start doing?
•  What do you want ‘insert the name of the person here’ to do differently?

 
•  What are you willing to stop doing?
•  What are you able to start doing?
•  What can you do differently to improve your relationship?

In relationships, until we can speak up and communicate our needs clearly, assertively and respectfully, the problems, challenges and the behaviours of those we have relationships with, remain the same.  When we change the way we communicate consistently, there is every possibility those around us will be influenced by the change and mirror back to us the positive communication.

10 Steps to Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries

1. Speak from the ‘I’. (‘‘I would like you to listen to what I’m about to say. I would like to make some positive changes in our relationship. I feel we would benefit from putting the past behind us. It would mean so much to me if you are able to hear what I’ve communicated and consider my requests, thank you for considering this’’) Saying thank you at the end of a statement like this voices the assumption that the other person will listen and acknowledge your proposal.

2. Keep communications in the positive and future tense (‘‘What I would like is for us to do is XYZ.  I believe we would both benefit from this change’’)

3. Clearly identify your boundary. Spend time figuring out what you want before you voice your limits (Do you need your neighbour, friend, your mother to stop turning up unannounced or calling you when you’re in the middle of preparing an evening meal. Would you prefer them to call round at a specific time when you are both free?)

4. Understand why you need a boundary. What’s your motivation and reason for setting this boundary? (If it’s not convenient for your neighbour, mother or friend to turn up or call without notice, let her know you will have undivided time them if you can call at 8pm for 30 minutes once the children are in bed)

5. Make your communications clear. Be direct and assertive in your conversation (If you fear conflict or confrontation you may not say exactly what you mean, which leaves room for confusion or doubt). It might spare the person you are in conflict with feelings if you aren’t direct and to the point but how will you feel? What is the cost if you do nothing to make this change, who suffers?)

6. Don’t give long explanations or apologise (Setting boundaries isn’t something you need to say sorry for and it doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. Short, sharp and clear communications works best.  If someone is demanding of your time when it’s inconvenient you have to let them know e.g. (‘‘I would like weekends to myself, I need more time to study, thank you for understanding this. I look forward to meeting you on Wednesday afternoons to catch up’’)

7. Remain calm and polite (Boundaries are best set outside of an argument, getting into dialogue about making change in the heat of the moment when both of you are angry, neither person can really hear the other. Keep your anger in check and leave all sarcasm and condescending tone out of your communications)

8. Start with firm boundaries (It’s easier to loosen a tight boundary after it’s been set rather than trying to tighten a weak boundary.  If your mother or mother in law is interfering and trying to reorganise your home, e.g., ‘‘I’d prefer it if you don’t come into my home when I’m not there. I want the way I’ve left my home to stay the same, I like it how it is.’’ It’s easier at a later date to invite her to take a mini-break in your home while you are away, on the condition she leaves things as they are, or to pop round an hour before you get home if she wants to watch something not available on her own TV package). Don’t overextend yourself or try and ‘people please’ or agree to commitments you will later have to cancel or do begrudgingly. Get clear from the start.

9. Address any breaking of boundaries early on. As soon as a boundary is broken, reset it. Remind the person concerned of your boundary. (‘‘You may have forgotten , I need the weekends to myself study, I can see you on Wednesday afternoons instead’’)

10. Don’t make it personal. Rather than tell the person you are in conflict with everything you think about them being inconsiderate of your time, your appointments and plans it is far easier to be direct. eg (‘‘I’m happy to pick you up and take you to Maggie’s, but you will need to be ready at 10 a.m’’)

It’s possible the person you wish to set boundaries with won’t welcome these changes though in order for your relationship to improve, it’s important to end the struggles you each have within your relationship and find new solutions to old problems.  All it takes is one person to change and this change begins with you.

Stand up for what you want in life, agree to disagree if need be.  If you don’t you are living someone elses life on their terms, not yours, and that’s not really living life at all.

If you’re in need of further support in setting healthy personal boundaries please do make contact at
www.wendyfry.com to discuss best support options.

01 Sep

Why saying no might be the best thing you’ve ever done!

How often do you find yourself agreeing to things when inside you’re screaming NO!

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Who do you find yourself saying yes to, when you already know you’re going to feel resentful about doing what’s asked of you?

When do you put others needs ahead of your own only to suffer the consequences of stress, anger, self sacrifice or burnout? 

What stops you speaking your truth and stating, what’s asked of you isn’t possible?

Saying NO, those two little letters and one short word has so much stigma attached to it.

Rather than thinking about ‘The Power of Now’, which by the way is a great read, The Power of NO, really could be a best seller if we each got a little more used to speaking our truth and saying no instead of yes!

If you’ve been feeling put on, there is no need to go into fight mode with guns a blazing, or have an out and our war with someone who places unfair demands on you, saying no can be done diplomatically and with care.

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Perhaps many of you like myself were bought up to think of others first, not to be selfish, not to say what you mean and mean what you say but to be polite and be a yes person!

For me, being a yes person has felt like the equivalent of being a nodding dog (those cute little plastic dogs with heads that nod up and down as the car moves) There is only so much nodding you can do until overwhelm reaches peak and you take time to stop and smell the roses, realising that something has to change!

All change is good, it may not be evident at first as to what positive changes might come as a result of saying no, though at least you will be speaking your truth and being true to you!

It only takes one person to change a behaviour and saying no when you’d normally say yes will be the behaviour change that makes a difference to you!

Speaking honestly may take strength and courage if your behaviour and interactions have always been to give to others, though unless you change how you respond to other peoples demands, the situation won’t change.

There are many ways to make a change and this is best done when you’re feeling calm.

You might consider sitting and speaking with that person. scheduling in a call, or writing a letter that you sleep on before posting.

Shouting your head of in the heat of the moment seldom creates a positive benefit though speaking with clear communication about how you feel is always a good start.

  • Who would you really like to tell that what is being asked of you is too much?
  • What frustrations have you been keeping to yourself that you’d really like to air?
  • In what way do you personally suffer as a result of continually saying yes to a certain person?
  • How has this pattern of responding to others needs before your own shaped your life? 
  • When is the problem at it’s worst?
  • What changes do you want to make in order to improve your relationship with this person?
  • How can you communicate what you want to say in a way that’s non blaming (remember you have willingly or unwittingly been feeding a dual behaviour)
  • What do you hope to gain by having the conversation (be clear of the outcome)

For me saying no to others means saying yes to me! And that’s called ‘Self care’ not selfish! 

If someone is constantly asking you to give up your time when you have a million others things to do, simply say ‘it’s not possible for me to help you, perhaps there is someone else you can ask’

When you really don’t want to do something an easy answer might be ‘that’s not my thing, though I hope you enjoy it’

If others ask for free advice and information you can point them in the direction of the people you invested in to elevate your own success.

When family or friends call in the middle of supper or as your climbing into bed with a drama they want to share, let them know ‘now isn’t a good time’.

Set boundaries with those who you feel are taking advantage of you.  Let those who don’t respect you know you have your own life, your own goals to achieve and your own plans.

It might hurt them when you say no but that’s really about them not getting their own way and nothing to do with you.

Saying no doesn’t mean you’re being nasty, uncaring or selfish, it simply means you’re being real and letting others know what is and isn’t okay for you.

You no longer need to be weighed down or overwhelmed with demands being made on you.

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When you set boundaries, you have an opportunity to improve relationships, or perhaps the person will move on making demands on others if you’re not available.

Friendships might end and relationship dynamics might change though you will be able to see how you have only been in that person’s life to fulfil their needs.

The way forward……

  • Re-affirm with others the dates and times you might be free to help them out
  • Voice what is okay and not okay for you
  • Let the people who are close to you know you love them, though you have some projects on the go and won’t be so immediately available to them 
  • Communicate as far as possible with love and positive intention expressing the outcome you would like
  • If a parent is ageing and you’re not available to do odd jobs and help out, work towards finding a solution and hiring help so you spend quality time together
  • When you find yourself on constant baby sitting duty at weekends and you want to be out enjoying yourself, let those you love know you will be free the last weekend of the month not every weekend
  • If your workload is building up schedule some time to speak with your manager, ask for help in prioritising what’s urgent, non urgent or can be passed to someone else
  • Catch yourself when you are about to say yes.  Create some holding space and say ‘I’ll think about it’, or ‘I don’t feel I’m the right person for this’, ‘it’s not convenient right now’ etc

There will always be someone else who can help out, it doesn’t all have to fall on your shoulders, unless you want it to.

My advise is if you’re doing anything resentfully and without love, have that conversation.

Share your truth, how you feel and what resolution you would like to work towards.

You never know…by saying NO!  You may well improve your relationships tenfold. 

If you need some help in working through setting boundaries in love or platonic relationships check out my book Find YOU, Find LOVE: Get to the heart of love and relationships using EFT

You might like to work with me on a VIP Day where you will have the opportunity to discuss why saying No in your relationships will improve the relationship with yourself.  We will work together to make the rest of your life the very best of your life.

Remember The Power of NO!

Let your yes be yes and your no be no NOW!

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