9 Steps to Setting Successful Boundaries

Here’s an important question for you…..

Do you say no when you need or want to say no? Or do you find yourself caving to everyone’s requests and demands and then feeling exhausted and resentful?

Are you the life support system to everyone around you? Be it your kids, your boss, your partner, your friends – letting all of them run you? If so you are definitely not alone lovely!

If this is you, It’s time to learn how to set some boundaries beautiful – and take back your power!

Perhaps you’re a perfectionist, people-pleaser or hard on yourself – and if that’s the case, you are going to have to stretch yourself a bit because it may feel uncomfortable at first. However, it will absolutely lead you to a happier, healthier life of emotional freedom.

You may also be like a lot of the people I work with (myself included) and want microwave results. I totally get it, once you decide you want change you want to see instant results. Here’s the thing about that – there is no such thing as instant boundaries – it’s a process. Performance and emotional research has found there is a process of steps involved that bring us this growth. It doesn’t happen overnight.

If you’re a gardener you know you can’t make flowers grow overnight – you have to plant the seed, water, nurture and wait – it takes a season. The same is true with any new behavior you want to adopt or any change you want to make. You have to have a season mentality.

You might be thinking, how do you even set a boundary? Maybe it feels scary or daunting. Well good news doll – there are defined steps you can take to help you start setting your boundaries now and I am thrilled to share them with you!

Let’s take a look at them now so you can start to create a healthier life with more ease and grace!

Here are the 9 steps necessary to create successful boundaries (according to Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend). AND all the steps are necessary – you can’t skip a step lovely!

#1 Identify the sickness – where do you feel that things are going awry? And sometimes we can’t identify this – and if that’s the case ask friends or family or a professional – some outside eyes that can see things more clearly and help you see where your life is out of control.

#2 Connections – we need people around us to support us in this process. People who tell you it’s ok to say no! People who love you, and want you to have freedom. A cool support system that celebrates your growth! If you don’t have this, seek a pastor or a coach.

#3 Receive the good – all the Ingredients that others can give you – things like grace, validation of your feelings, understanding your feelings, empathy, encouragement, truth. Your safe friends give you these ingredients but you may need to ask for them – don’t just expect others to read your mind. Asking can be hard or embarrassing but your support system would love to be there for you!

#4 Identify the root of grief – asking yourself, how did I get here? This nice person who is always trying to make others happy? I didn’t come out of the womb this way! You have to look into your family of origin – mom, dad, siblings – did they say it was ok for me to be angry, ok to make a choice? Also look at significant relationships like teachers and coaches and friends. We are the product of the people we hang out with. Then you have to learn how to grieve and let go, feel the pain of it and walk away.

#5 Forgiveness – after you grieve you want to say, “I cancel the debt with all the people who didn’t allow me to say no or have choices or hurt me when I tried to make choices.” We may have resentment or want to get even but it’s in your highest interest to let it go. You don’t have to love, like or trust them (because trust is earned), but you have to say, “you don’t owe me anything. You broke my boundary line but I’m going to fix it. I am letting it go.” Be the person who forgives.

#6 Take ownership – this means saying, “this is my burden. Learning boundaries is my burden”. Get out of the blame game. Avoid saying to others, “you don’t listen to me or respect me” because you know what? The truth is they aren’t listening or showing respect because they don’t feel the need to. Actually they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. Going into blame escalates the situation. Instead just say, “no you don’t have to do this but here’s what will happen if you choose not to___________(fill in the blank).

#7 Say no to the bad – now you can set your boundaries. However you don’t want to test the waters first with the person who is your biggest nemesis. Start with someone you trust. Make it something small like, “I don’t want to go to that restaurant, or I don’t like cream in my coffee I prefer it black, or I don’t like your tone of voice, or I don’t want to spend the money this way I would like to have a choice here.” Get your feet wet with someone you already have a safe or secure relationship with.

#8 Failure – hallelujah for failure! You have a learned behavior of giving, giving, giving so doing something different is going to feel uncomfortable and you are going to slip up as you learn this new skill. Don’t be afraid of failure. Practice, practice, practice! There is grace for your failings. Remember, failure is learning. Don’t let perfectionism take over. You will be clunky – don’t let that get you off track! Have good people around you that will be there to help dust you off and get back up.

#9 Return to step #1 – we are layered like onions and there is always opportunity to grow. As you age you become a different person due to all your experiences. So for example things might be better now in your relationship but now it’s about your career. That means you are going deeper into that onion – peeling another layer off – we always have layers to work on.

What generally happens for people is that when you are first working on boundaries you might be putting out fires or crises and start to get some stability. After these are all under control ask God to search your heart and do some internal work – like the fears, pain and hurt – this is when the real work begins. That’s the pay off! Creating boundaries with Self will get you where you want to go and bring you the greatest transformation.

Believing in you! You can do this beautiful!