A life without boundaries is a life in chaos. You never know what to expect. Boundaries actually give you more freedom – to be yourself and to enjoy others.
Boundaries help you to know and understand what your limits are, to ensure you don’t get walked all over by others, taken for granted or taken advantage of.
Lack of healthy boundaries will stress you out, overwhelm you and drive you to become resentful. You are the only person responsible for your own happiness and well-being. No one else can do it for you.
If saying no is hard for you, think of the impact saying yes to everything has on your life at this moment.
Need help with setting healthy boundaries? Here are a few tips:
- Know your limits
Knowing yourself is the key to creating and maintaining good boundaries. Know your emotional, mental, and physical limits. Work out what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed and what feels good.
- Learn how to interpret your feelings
In assessing where your limits are, you’ll have felt a range of different emotions. Two key emotions that signal that your boundaries are being crossed are resentment and discomfort. If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, not appreciated, or even being exploited, that’s a sign you’re being pushed beyond your boundaries, and it’s time to restate those boundaries and say no.
- Give yourself permission to enforce your boundaries
I love Brené Brown’s permission slips. I carry them in my pockets to remind myself that it’s okay to say no. In fact, it’s essential for your self-respect to uphold your boundaries and refuse any unreasonable requests from your stepkids, your partner or the ex. There’s no room for guilt or self-doubt in this. Having clear boundaries and sticking to them isn’t selfish. In putting yourself first, you’re ensuring that you’ll have the energy to do the things you want to do and be there for your family when its right for you.
- Be clear about what’s up for negotiation
Know what you need to stay happy and healthy, whether it’s your daily walk, a chat with your girlfriend, or yoga practice. Make it clear to everyone in your home that these are non-negotiable parts of your daily schedule. Similarly, be clear that you won’t be the maid, taxi-driver, or gofer for your stepkids – unless you’re OK with this. Being clear and direct about your boundaries leaves no room for doubt, guilt, or leverage.
- Be direct
When you’re clear about your boundaries, you don’t need an excuse, a backstory, or a note from your spouse. Be direct and leave it at that. You can be polite and kind about it, but in the end, it’s okay just to say no and keep your boundaries strong.
Here are five tips to help you set healthy boundaries. Like anything in life, there are no guarantees except that if you don’t try at least one of these suggestions, nothing will change. That I know for sure.
So tell me, which one will you be implementing in life today? Comment below and I’ll be happy to support you in your journey to creating strong and healthy stepfamilies, one STEP at a time.
Why do we need boundaries? In order to have healthy and safe relationships, we need boundaries. They help us to keep unacceptable behaviors out while, at the same time, allowing you to let acceptable behaviors in. Think of boundaries as being similar to a fence with a gate. You’re the one in charge of opening and closing that gate.
Need help in setting boundaries in your stepfamily? Not sure where to start? Read more in the Stepmom’s Book of Boundaries available on Amazon