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How to set boundaries
May 25, 2014, 4:21 pm

As a woman, you may tend to respond to other people’s needs at the expense of your own and then suffer from the chaos that comes from a life without proper boundaries. Here’s how you can start setting boundaries in your life and start enjoying peace:

Distinguish between helping and enabling others: Consider whether or not you’re actually helping the people you’re trying to help. Helping is doing things for people that they are not capable of doing for themselves. Enabling – which leads people to depend on you in unhealthy ways – is doing things for people that they could and should be doing themselves. Recognize that when you’re enabling people rather than helping them, you’re creating an atmosphere in which others can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior. Even though you intend to help, if you’re enabling you’re actually hurting other people, and yourself, in the process.

Shift your focus from your circumstances to how you respond to them: Dwelling on your current circumstances will only frustrate you because it won’t change anything. Women can empower themselves to change their life for the better if they change the way they respond to their circumstances. While you often can’t control your circumstances, you can always control how you respond to those circumstances as you find the proper guidance to set the appropriate boundaries. Doing so will honor yourself with the respect you deserve.

Keep in mind that taking control isn’t the same as being controlling: Setting boundaries isn’t about trying to control other people; instead, it’s about being clear about what you will and will not accept in your life in order to claim your authority and guard your heart from harm. You never need to feel guilty about setting boundaries with the people in your life.

Become a strong woman: Resist the myth that women shouldn’t set as many boundaries as men should set as setting boundaries is vital in order for you fulfill your own purposes. Instead of letting other people distract you from living your life, claim the authority over your life by setting the boundaries.

Stop your own negative behavior: Identify specific negative attitudes and behaviors in your life that are contributing to a lack of boundaries and the resulting stress. Then decide to stop your destructive patterns and help yourself replace your unhealthy attitudes and behaviors with healthy ones. Don’t waste time or energy anymore on trying to get the other people in your life to change; that will never work. Instead, focus on simply changing yourself.

Assemble supportive people: Seek the support and encouragement of some caring friends whom you can trust to help you on your journey to set proper boundaries in your life.

Nip excuses in the bud: Don’t tolerate any more excuses from either yourself (about why you’re not setting boundaries in your life) or other people (about why they want to step over boundaries that you’ve set for them). Stand firm so you can make real and lasting changes in your life. Say “no” clearly and without guilt whenever you sense that you should say “no.” Doing so will give you the freedom to say “yes” to activities that bring your satisfaction.


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