How to Set and Stay True to Boundaries

How to Set and Stay True to Boundaries

Many of us are guilty of people-pleasing and wanting to be as helpful to those around us as possible. It is difficult for many to set solid boundaries and to put themselves first above others. While being selfless can be wonderful, if you are crossing personal boundaries in doing it, you are devaluing yourself. If an individual does not learn from a younger age how to set and stick to certain boundaries, it will become all the more complicated later in life. Maybe your boss constantly asks you to complete work outside of work hours, you have friends that do not respect your time, or you have family members that are consistently disrespectful towards you. Whatever the issue is, you can always learn to set and stick to new boundaries from here on out. Attending regular therapy sessions can certainly assist you in the process of setting solid boundaries and help you to realize that it is completely okay to do it whenever it is needed. The Southlake psychiatry team known as Dr. Messina & Associates is highly qualified to support its clients in their journey of discovering and placing new boundaries where it is necessary. Let’s go ahead and break down some of the fundamental ways that are useful in setting boundaries in everyday life.


Become Clear in What You Want

The first step in achieving successful boundaries is to become clear in what exactly it is that you want. If you are not completely sure about how it is that you want to be treated in recurring scenarios, then the unwanted situations are unfortunately going to continue happening. The best way to begin your path to having concrete boundaries is to ponder what it is you want, and exactly how you desire to be treated. Once you are clear on this aspect, saying no and protecting your energy will become so much easier and way more effortless. It might help to get a notebook or journal to write everything you are feeling down, or to talk to a trusted professional or friend that can help give you some insight.


Start with Baby Steps

Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable, especially if this is the first time you are taking action in doing so. This is totally understandable, just be sure to start with baby steps when you are met with a situation that needs boundaries. Starting with baby steps could mean saying no to a scenario or task that is not huge or too intimidating. Saying no to your boss when they expect something from you that you feel is crossing a line might be a situation that many feel uncomfortable with when just getting started with intentionally setting boundaries, but a less dire scenario will likely be a much easier start. If you have a friend that consistently does not value your space or time, consider communicating with them how you feel and how you expect to be treated from here on out.


Practice Your Communication Skills

This brings us to our next point, which is communication. The issue with a lot of individuals that are not comfortable with sticking to boundaries is the fact that they are not communicative enough with others about their expectations. Communication is a skill that we are constantly evolving in and learning about as we grow, and it is the primary key when it comes down to setting boundaries with others. Talking with a therapist can significantly improve communication skills if you feel this is an area you might be lacking in, or at the very least you can receive some unbiased input that will unquestionably aid you in your efforts of setting solid boundaries and staying true to them. A huge issue with people that seemingly do not respect others’ boundaries is the fact that they were not clearly communicated with about certain things. Miscommunication is the culprit to so many avoidable issues nowadays, and you will surely be surprised at how much talking things out with others can fix things.


Be Direct and Assertive

Lastly, it is important to be direct and assertive when you are staying true to yourself and setting boundaries. While miscommunication is occasionally the cause of boundaries not being respected, this sometimes happens simply because an individual just does not have regard for others’ needs. In these cases, it is imperative to be direct, clear, and assertive in what you want and expect from this individual. When you stick to whatever it is that you want, like saying no to someone who is constantly taking advantage of something you do for them with no appreciation in return, fascinating things can happen. By saying no, you are not only standing up for yourself, but you are also telling yourself on a subconscious level at the same time that this is how you deserve to be treated and that it is absolutely okay. Setting boundaries will not be successful if you are not direct and assertive in the practice, which is why it is so important to be clear in what you want and to practice your communication skills, as well.


The art of setting boundaries is not necessarily an easy one, but it is one that many realize is so crucial to learn as we age. There will unfortunately always be people out there that do not respect the boundaries that others have set, but as long as you know what you want and you stay true to yourself, you have nothing to worry about. It can be hard to say no to those that we are closest to, especially our friends and family, but try to keep in mind that your own energy is precious and valuable, and you cannot be there for your own self if you are constantly giving the energy away to those around you. If the people surrounding you are truly there for you and have your best interest in mind, they will always understand.


Getting Help

If you are needing support in your life, Dr. Messina & Associates has a team of psychiatrists and therapists ready to help you. We utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication management to treat a variety of problems, such as anxiety, depression, phobias, insomnia, panic, OCD, ADHD, and child behavior problems, like oppositional defiant disorder. We also provide psychological testing and evaluation. We work with children, adolescents, and adults (individuals and couples), and are currently offering services in-person and online. 




Dr. Michael Messina

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