Part 5: Enforcing Your Boundaries
How can people honor your boundaries if they don’t know about them? As it’s appropriate, share your boundaries with other people.
Be Assertive but Kind…
Make sure you’re assertive but kind. Try not to be aggressive or harsh.
The trick is to be confident and graciously strong when communicating your boundaries.
Using “I” statements is a great way to do this.
“I” statements are when you focus on how you feel instead of the other party. It makes the statement more assertive and less passive, and more about you and less about them.
For example, say “I feel overwhelmed when…” instead of “You make me feel overwhelmed when you…” This sentence structure puts the focus on you more clearly and confidently. Simultaneously, it takes the blame off the other party, which makes them less likely to get defensive.
Share Any Consequences…
Additionally, you may consider sharing any consequences of crossing your boundaries but be careful with this one.
The goal is to make them aware that the boundary is important to you.
If you choose to state potential consequences, make sure you can follow through. Never establish a consequence that you’re unwilling or unable to enforce.
Another healthy part of enforcing your boundaries is being able to say no. Whenever someone asks you to do something that you’re uncomfortable with or don’t have enough time to complete, say no.
You don’t have to give an explanation or apology. Just say no.
This might be a little tough, but it’s important to point out whenever someone doesn’t respect your boundaries.
If someone repeatedly ignores your boundaries, address the situation with them to identify the issue.
Maybe they’re unaware of your boundary or don’t understand how important it is to you. If they refuse to respect your boundaries, you’ll have to decide how much access they have to your life.
For boundaries to be effective, communicate and “enforce” them in a kind and respectful way.
Remember that boundaries are meant to create healthy relationships, not control another person.
Create and set boundaries based on your needs and values. Once you’ve set your boundaries, “enforce” them in a kind, confident manner. And if people disrespect your boundaries, let them know.