Are you ever overwhelmed by the number of social events that you attend? Are you fed up with all the work requests that make it difficult to say no? Are you fed up with small requests that make it seem like you are crazy?
Perhaps it is time to examine your boundaries.
Nedra Glover Tawwab, a licensed therapist who is also the author of Set Boundaries, Find Peace, says that a boundary is something that keeps your relationship safe and comfortable.
Boundaries can take many forms depending on who they are made. Tawwab says, "A boundary might not be for you because it's unique." It's based upon who I am.
Tawwab says that ignoring or compromising your boundaries aEUR", such as allowing yourself to get talked into doing something you don't like, can lead to frustration or resentment. Anxiety may also signal a breached boundary. For example, if you feel stressed or worked up in advance of meeting a person or anxious about declining a request.
She explains that these feelings are signs that there may be boundaries in the situation. The next question is "How can we agree with ourselves not to exhaust ourselves in this way in the future?"
Tawwab provides this insight to help you answer that question.
Pay attention to your feelings the next time you say yes. Are you angry? Frustrated? Uncomfortable? Behaving passive-aggressively? This could be a chance to establish a boundary.
Boundary-setting is a habit that must be practiced. These are some tips to help you improve your boundary setting.
You might be new to setting boundaries. This could affect your relationships.
Tawwab says, "We want to have relationships with people." "We want to be less anxious, overwhelmed, less drained and more satisfied with people."
Example: "If I had to say something to you,... "This is not the time for me to speak because I am really thinking about my stuff. I'm not ready to listen. Let me call you back a bit later. She explains that this is a way of preserving the relationship.
You might be pushed back if the person you are talking to isn’t used to drawing lines. You might be told that you have changed. Tawwab responds to this with a self-honoring reply: "You are right."
If they reply that they don't know what to do with you, then "our job is to tell them, "I will teach you." Tawwab says, "I will let you know what I need and want right now."
You will have people who do not respect your boundaries. You can't control what people do, but you can influence what happens next.
Tawwab advises that you communicate clearly that there is no negotiation in a matter. "At some point we must say, "Stop." They must know that the door is shut.
She says that if this doesn't work, it might be time to end the relationship. "But I believe that we often find different ways to be present with others."
You have the ability to choose how often, how long, and what limitations you want in a relationship with someone, a role, or an organization. (Hello work/life balance.)
Boundaries begin with you. Understanding your ability and capacity to respond to requests will help you to be able to teach others how you treat them.
Michelle Aslam produced the podcast portion of this story.
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