Life has a way of telling us that we need to set boundaries in relationships with family, friends, or coworkers. In order to put appropriate boundaries in place, we need to understand the signs telling us we are being impacted by a lack of clear boundaries. Here are some signs to look out for (notice if any of these have been showing up for you):
Feeling Overwhelmed or Exhausted: If you feel overwhelmed or exhausted by the demands of others, it may indicate that you need to set some boundaries. It is essential to take care of yourself and not let others drain your energy (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2016). One way of doing this is asking yourself 'How will this benefit me? What will it cost me?'. If you determine the cost is too much, then it is simply not worth crossing that boundary.
Resentment: When you start to feel resentful towards someone, it may indicate that they are overstepping your boundaries. Resentment can lead to negative emotions and impact your mental health and overall well-being (Lancer, 2018). It is important to remember that you hold responsibility here, as well. Consider, what is getting in the way of setting clear boundaries (and sticking to them!) with this individual?
Feeling Guilty: Feeling guilty for saying no or standing up for yourself may indicate that you need to set boundaries. It is essential to recognize that it is okay to prioritize your needs and set boundaries to protect your mental health (Cloud & Townsend, 2017). This will likely resonate with you if you are a people pleaser, and this is challenging. Is it time to reconsider, or re-negotiate, some of your relationships?
Overcommitting: If you say yes to everything, even when you don't want to, it may indicate that you need to set boundaries. Overcommitting can lead to stress and burnout (Miller, 2020). "No" is a complete sentence. You do not need to explain in an effort to help others also decide it's okay for you to say no. You've done the work, considered the benefits and costs and determined the cost was too high. That is enough. The only person you report to, every single day, is yourself.
Feeling Like You Have No Control: If you feel like you have no control over your time, energy, or decisions, it may indicate that you need to set boundaries. Setting boundaries can help you regain control over your life and establish healthy relationships (Stosny, 2018). When we create boundaries, we dig our heels in and say, 'This is as far as I go!'. If you determine your boundaries, and stick to them, you are in full control. Look at you go!
Recognizing the signs that boundaries are needed in your relationships is the first step in establishing healthy relationships. Remember that setting boundaries is not selfish; it's a crucial part of taking care of yourself and your mental health. By setting boundaries, you can develop healthy relationships built on respect, trust, and understanding.
11 Signs of Low Self-Esteem - Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-of-low-self-esteem-5185978
Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2017). Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no to take control of your life. Zondervan.
Lancer, D. A. (2018). How to set healthy boundaries: 10 examples + PDF worksheets. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-to-set-healthy-boundaries-10-examples-pdf-worksheets
Miller, C. (2020). 5 signs you need to set boundaries in your life. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/202007/5-signs-you-need-set-boundaries-in-your-life
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2016). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. Guilford Publications.
Stosny, S. (2018). How to set boundaries: 10 tips to do it assertively. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201803/how-set-boundaries-10-tips-do-it-assertively
What Is Self Care? Explore Techniques And Methods For ... - BetterHelp. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/mindfulness/what-is-self-care-techniques-and-methods-for-mental-emotional-and-physical-well-being/