Una's Blog


81 How to set good boundaries

graphic-1by Una Hearne.

Setting good boundaries with other people is about honouring yourself – recognising you are as valuable and worthy as everyone else.

Are you the type who always says yes – likes to do anything for anyone? We are hardwired to help each other – survival and flourishing for humans has always meant collaborating. Wanting to help and support others is a wonderful impulse and is good for everyone.

When we help others we feel great, right up to the point where it is inappropriate or is taking too much from us. Then we feel resentful, angry and put upon. In this state we cannot give of ourselves freely and with love. There are no rules about what you should and shouldn’t do for others (although plenty of people believe there are, and will try to impose their beliefs on you!).

If you are the type who loves to help and will always say yes, you might have found at times you are taken advantage of, or taken for granted. That is not other people’s fault, nor it is your fault. It is however your responsibility to decide what is right for you and to set boundaries that are healthy for you. And here is a rule to live by: If it feels right it is right, if it feels wrong it is wrong.

The way to set boundaries well, is to be clear. No lies or excuses, just a clear no with compassion. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Saying no when you are not used to it can be difficult at first. A long time ago, I felt obligated if someone asked for a favour or my time. Then I learned to say no. I did it by learning to be clear in my own mind about what I was saying yes to. When you know what your priorities are, what is most important for you to spend your time and energy on, it is far easier to say yes to yourself, to honour yourself and say a calm no to requests which are not appropriate for you. It can take some practice but, the effort is worth it. And it is SO much easier than getting pushed into doing stuff your don’t want to, or making up excuses. Which you then have to remember. Ugh.

The world desperately needs as many good hearted generous people willing to help others as it can get. To make sure you get to be one of them, mind yourself. Make sure you honour your priorities and self care is top of your list. That way you will bring the best and most resourceful you to others. When you say yes, it really means yes.

Lovely people who give much to others deserve the most loving support themselves. You will find it over there, in that mirror.


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