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The art of setting boundaries: reclaiming control & prioritising you

Ever feel like you’re constantly juggling everyone else’s needs at the expense of your own well-being? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with setting boundaries, fearing it might come across as selfish or hurtful. In my work with clients, I see this all the time. They learn that it’s perfectly okay to choose themselves and take care of their needs and emotional well-being, even if it means saying “no” sometimes. Setting boundaries is the key to reclaiming control and nurturing your mental health.

Simply because setting the foundation of a close relationship with people based on your own sacrifice won’t work long-term, if your aim is to have beautiful, meaningful connections with others, you won’t be able to achieve it by sacrificing your emotions and needs. You will go straight to toxic dynamics. But if you set boundaries, you invite emotional honesty and respect, and love will flow.

How to set boundaries?

Setting boundaries isn’t always easy. It requires introspection and the courage to confront patterns learned from our families or ingrained in our realities. However, acknowledging these patterns is the first step towards positive change.

So, how do we go about setting boundaries effectively? It starts with recognising our own needs and priorities. What brings us joy? What activities replenish our energy and make us feel alive? Once we identify these, we can communicate them assertively to others and honour them ourselves.

Why is setting boundaries so challenging? Often, it’s the fear of judgement or conflict. We worry about disappointing others or being perceived as selfish. But remember, setting boundaries is not selfish – it’s an act of self-love and self-respect.

Short-term coping mechanisms might offer temporary relief, but sustainable change comes from processing underlying emotions and beliefs. For example:

‘I won’t say anything because it may cause a problem. It wasn’t a big deal, but next time I will… Oh no, they did not mean it.’ With that approach, next time it will only get worse. Instead of using denial and your beautiful empathy to understand others, learn how to bring about sustainable change.

This comes from processing underlying emotions and beliefs. Then add communication skills to be able to address the boundaries safely, which won’t cause an argument, and voilà!

Here’s a tip: I love the concept of Non-violent Communication (NVC) and recommend exploring the concept created by Rosenberg. It is a simple and effective way to communicate. 

It looks so good and simple – yet some of my clients find it challenging. Why? To be able to use NVC, you need to be emotionally self-aware and have a good level of awareness of your intentions to be able to communicate them. Effective communication always comes from emotional self-awareness.

Setting boundaries is a skill to learn

If you’re struggling to set boundaries, know that you’re not alone. Reach out to me and let’s discuss your situation. Together, we can explore strategies to honour your needs, prioritise self-care, and cultivate a healthier, more fulfilling life. I offer various options, including one-on-one sessions, workshops, and a four-week group programme.

Remember, you deserve to thrive, and setting boundaries is the first step towards reclaiming your well-being. Embrace the journey, and watch as your inner strength and happiness blossom.