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  • Writer's pictureErika Sardinha

A 4-Step Guide to Effectively Setting Boundaries in Relationships

One thing we can all agree on is that boundaries are essential to the health of any relationship. They set the pace for how you want to be treated and inform your loved ones (and not-so-loved ones) where the limit is. 


But here's the thing: do you really know how to set boundaries? 

Even though setting boundaries is a hot topic right now, I haven't found a lot of realistic approaches to the subject. It's like we all know the theory (and it sounds lovely), but there's this missing piece. And that's what's stopping us from setting proper boundaries. 


Today, I am helping you find that missing piece that will have you set boundaries and uplevel all your relationships. 


1) Evaluate your beliefs around boundaries


Before I started setting boundaries, I didn't believe I could or should be setting boundaries. The concept was foreign to me. 


Growing up in a family where abuse was the norm, I turned into an adult who thought all I had to do was please other people and deal with it. Every time I tried to set a boundary, I felt I was being mean because that's what I was told at home when I attempted to advocate for myself. 


All that was playing in the background of my mind at an unconscious level, so I had to dig deep to unpack my beliefs around boundaries, and I invite you to do the same. 


I know it sounds scary, but the good part is that after the unpacking, you get to decide what your new beliefs around boundaries are and create some cool affirmations like these: 


I am worthy of setting boundaries. 

I create and nurture healthy relationships in my life.

It is okay to say no.

I value and honor my time and energy.

I choose to let my loved ones know how I want to be loved. 


2) Establish your boundaries 


Many of us fall into this mistake: we decide to start setting boundaries, but never actually sit down to think about the specific boundaries we want to put in place. 


When we do that, we end up trying to set boundaries without confidence and assertiveness, which are crucial to boundary setting. 


These journaling prompts will get you started: 


Where in your life do you think you lack boundaries? 

Who is someone you admire who is good at setting boundaries? What can you learn from them?

What three boundaries can you start putting in place now?


3) Understand and accept people's responses to boundaries


Let's get real: not everyone will be happy when you start setting boundaries. But you know what? If you haven't been setting boundaries, that's a natural human response. And that's okay. 


But listen, that doesn't mean we give up on the boundary, okay? I got you. I'll also share how to hold on to your boundaries, but for now, I just want you to prepare yourself to receive push-back or be pleasantly surprised. 


Surprisingly enough, expressing your boundaries once is enough for some people. 


4) Attach a 'consequence' to your boundary to avoid the disrespected boundary loop


This is where I feel most of us crumble. We set the boundary, people don't respect it, and we either give up on it or get stuck in the disrespected boundary loop: 


Setting the boundary, people don't listen/respect, setting the boundary again. And again. And they keep disrespecting it. 


The only way to interrupt this pattern is to add a consequence to your boundary. When you see yourself in the disrespected boundary loop, instead of repeating yourself over and over, state the consequence, and if necessary, follow through immediately. 


A simple example would be if someone is screaming at you instead of talking, and you don't like it, you can tell the person: "If you keep talking to me this way, I will have to end this conversation right here." If they kept screaming at you, you'd end the conversation. 


Disrespected boundary loop interrupted!


These are the main four steps to help you set boundaries in relationships. If you want to learn more about boundaries, and how to level up your relationships and other areas of your life, you've got to join my Facebook group Happy Survivors Tribe: From Thriving to Taking Your Life to the Next Level, because something really special is coming soon! 


I can't wait to see you really set boundaries and take your life to the next level.


Love, 

Erika 


PS: If you have any questions or comments, you can email me at erika@akirelife.com.


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