A People Pleaser’s Guide to Setting Personal Boundaries
One thing that I’ve noticed about us women is that we love to please! And because of that need to please, we have a hard time saying no. Our “yes man” spirit keeps us busy doing what we didn’t set out to do. Before you know it, you’ve over and double booked yourself to volunteer in children’s ministry, watch your nephews, and to attend your organization’s meeting all on the same day. How did this all happen? Because you’ve failed to set personal boundaries.
Personal boundaries are the limits that you put in place that allow you to create purpose, peace, and balance in your life. They are the guidelines that you set in order to keep yourself from being spread too thin. You can apply personal boundaries to all areas of life — school, work, finances, health, and even relationships. It doesn’t matter how you set them; the key is to honor your life and schedule. Here are seven ways you can set personal boundaries in your life.
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Learn the art of saying no.
Being a “yes man” is what got you here in the first place. It's okay to say no. If you know that you won’t be able to fully commit or be present for whatever it is that someone has asked you to do, decline gracefully. You know your limits. When you say yes to a responsibility that you can’t give your all to, you’re not only disadvantaging the other person but yourself as well. Honor both yourself and the other person by setting the boundary of no. No doesn’t have to be forever, but it may have to be for right now.
FOMO (the fear of missing out) gets us all time after time again. The fear that we might miss out on an opportunity or an experience keeps us constantly saying yes. What is for you, is for you. You’re not missing out on anything. Don’t let FOMO keep you from doing the things that you're called to do. Ignore FOMO and put boundaries in place to keep you on track.
Manage your time & schedule.
A schedule is a boundary on its own. Write down all of your current responsibilities and allot the time that is needed to complete them all. If there is no time left after you have wrote down your set schedule and responsibilities, say no to anything extra that will prevent you from upholding your current commitments. It’s important that you’re being a good steward over your time, doing only what you schedule allows.
Set the actual boundaries.
It’s good to actually sit down and decide what you will and will not tolerate in several areas of your life. Here are some tips and examples to help you set your boundaries.
- Use plain and direct language.
- Use a graceful and neutral tone with others.
- Vent any strong emotions with that person before you set your boundaries with them.
- With Your Relationship With God:
"I will not get on social media in the morning before I have my quiet time with God."
- Action Tip: Put your phone on airplane mode to decrease distractions while spending time with Him.
- With Your Job:
"I will not answer emails after work or on weekends."
- Action Tip: Take your email app off your phone. Use your desktop or laptop instead.
- With Additional Commitments:
“Thank you so much for considering me for this opportunity. However, I need to decline this at the moment so I can honor ______ ( a current commitment)."
- Action Tip: Be sure to write down your current obligations in your planner. That way you you’ll be sure to not double book yourself.
- With Your Relationship:
“ I know we both love each other, but we love God and our relationship with Him more. In order to honor our relationship with Him, I need for us to ________ (insert boundary)."
- Action Tip: Be prepared to let anyone go who does not respect your boundaries. Don't get caught in disobedience for compromising on your morals and values.
Realize that everyone doesn’t need an explanation.
Stop feeling guilty. You are not obligated to give everyone a reason or explanation for saying no or setting boundaries. The people how truly support and care for you will understand. Don’t let anyone guilt you into taking on more than you can handle.
Hold yourself accountable.
Now that you’ve put your boundaries in place, it’s up to you to honor them. If you want people to respect your boundaries, it starts with you. When you hold yourself accountable to your boundaries, others will start to see that you are serious and will learn what ways they can honor and respect you as well.
Give yourself grace.
The whole purpose of establishing boundaries is to give yourself the space and grace to accomplish what you need to. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, make you feel guilty for setting boundaries. It’s impossible to be all things to all people. Give yourself the grace to live out what you are purposed to do.
Setting boundaries gives you permission to not only honor others, but yourself as well. Let your boundaries set the standard and be the measure for how you schedule and live your life.
I want to know what are some of the boundaries that you have in place? Let me know in the comments below.