Hands up if you’re a people pleaser! I’m a recovering people-pleaser. I spent so many years being a people pleaser and focusing on what other people needed and wanted which in return caused me burn-out, unhappiness and a lot of stress.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to help everybody, I wanted to take on all of the opportunities that I was presented with, I want to do everything I can to help other people live happier lives and if I’m being honest, I still do want to do all of these things but at some point, boundaries need to be set and priorities need to take place.
Living your life without boundaries is the easiest way to cost you your time, energy and mental capacity – which are all crucial to your everyday life. We honestly can’t give to others when our own cup is empty.
Setting boundaries is a form of self-care. It took me a long time to realise this and treat it as importantly as I do now, but the day I set my boundaries and actually stuck to them, my life changed for the better.
So, how can you set boundaries?
♡ Get clear on your priorities
What do you want to spend your time and energy on? Who do you enjoy being around? What do you like doing?
This is the perfect time to reflect on what you’re currently doing and realign yourself. By realign, I simply mean, ensure the time, energy and mental capacity your spending each day in your life is aligned to where you want to be, who you want to be and what you want to do.
If you find yourself putting everybody else’s needs before your own, this is where you change that story so that you’re now putting yourself first (in all aspects).
♡ Communicate what you will and will not tolerate
If people in your life are doing things that are unacceptable to you, speak up and let them know. It’s okay to tell friends that you need some time alone. It’s okay to ask your parents to stop popping in for random visits. It’s okay to have business hours and to tell customers you can only help during them.
Don’t allow somebody else to make you feel unappreciated, inferior or taken advantage of.
♡ Practise saying “no thanks” without reason
I’ve been in a lot of situations in my life where I’m offered opportunities or asked to do things that I couldn’t physically do because of other commitments and whenever I turn down these opportunities, I would always feel like I needed to give a reason why.
Saying “no thanks” is a full sentence and there is no further explanation needed. You don’t need to explain your reasons.
If you believe this will be difficult for you (which it was for me to begin with), I would recommend starting off small. This may be by saying “no thanks” to somebody offering to take you out for coffee or it may be responding with “no thanks” if somebody asks you to feature on their podcast.
“No thanks” is more than enough.
♡ Be firm with your answer
When you decide not to do something, don’t allow somebody to talk you into it. You can be firm and kind at the same time. Simply be direct and don’t discuss it any further.
♡ Take time to respond
I am asked to feature on quite a lot of podcasts and blogs. I’m also invited to a lot of events for my son and friends. I’ve found that taking time to respond to these opportunities and invitations allows me the time to consider if they’re right for me or if I’m wanting to do them without rushing into deciding.
At the time, you can simply respond with something similar to “let me check my calendar and I’ll get back to you”.
♡ Be kind to yourself
Setting boundaries is a skill and it will take time for you to get the hang of it so allow room for mistakes. Remember to be kind with yourself and keep your big picture in mind.
Setting boundaries will be a skill you continue to work on over the years and it’s important for you to keep your vision on your priorities. Living your life is much easier when boundaries are in place and you’re living in alignment.
Certified Counsellor & Mental Health Coach