Setting boundaries is an essential aspect of maintaining healthy relationships. Still, many people struggle with it, especially if they are prone to people-pleasing. People-pleasing is a behaviour pattern that involves prioritizing others' needs and wants over one's own, often leading to neglecting personal boundaries. In this article, we'll explore boundary-setting in the context of people-pleasing and how those focused on others can set clear boundaries.
What are Boundaries?
Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves in relationships to protect our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. These limits include expressing our needs, establishing personal space, setting boundaries around time, emotional support, and other aspects of our lives. Boundaries are crucial for healthy relationships. They help us maintain our identity, build self-esteem, and respect our feelings and values.
What is People Pleasing?
People-pleasing is a behaviour pattern that involves sacrificing one's own needs and wants to satisfy others. People-pleasers often avoid conflict, seek validation, and fear disappointing others, leading them to take on more than they can handle or endure toxic relationships. People-pleasing can be detrimental to personal relationships, career, and mental health.
How to Set Boundaries When You're a People Pleaser
1. Understand your needs and values.
One critical step to setting boundaries is understanding your needs and values. Ask yourself, "What matters to me?" "What am I comfortable with?" "What are my priorities?" This self-awareness will help you identify when someone is crossing your boundaries.
2. Start small.
Setting boundaries can be challenging, so start with small things. For instance, say "no" to a request you don't have the time or energy to fulfil. This will help you establish healthy habits of assertiveness and boundary-setting.
3. Communicate clearly.
When setting boundaries, communicate clearly and assertively. Use "I" statements to express your needs and feelings, such as "I need some time alone right now" or "I don't feel comfortable with that." Avoid being defensive or apologetic, and keep your message concise and straightforward.
4. Recognize and manage guilt.
People-pleasers often experience guilt when setting boundaries. It's essential to recognize this and manage it healthily. Remember that setting boundaries is necessary for your well-being, and you're not obligated to do things that don't align with your values.
5. Practice self-care.
Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining healthy boundaries. Prioritize activities that help you recharge and manage stress, such as exercise, hobbies, or meditation.
Setting boundaries can be challenging, particularly when you're a people-pleaser. However, it's essential to establish healthy boundaries to promote positive relationships and protect your well-being. You can set and maintain healthy boundaries by understanding your needs and values, starting small, communicating assertively, managing guilt, and practicing self-care.
Boyes, A. (2019). Setting boundaries when you're a people pleaser. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201912/setting-boundaries-when-you-re-people-pleaser
Grossman, S. (2021). Boundaries: What they are and how to set them. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/healthy-relationships/boundaries