How to set Healthy boundaries?

Self-development, personal transformation, networking

First appeared on "Forbes"

They say good boundaries make good neighbors. I say good personal boundaries build great interpersonal and professional relationships. Some people feel the need to please others, often without realizing that by saying “yes” to everything, they are also saying “no” to something else that might be equally important to them. This can have negative effects on both your personal life and your career.

Not being able to set healthy boundaries can be related to common issues like low self-esteem, needing approval from others, learned helplessness or the fear of being rejected or criticized.


Setting Healthy Boundaries: A Personal Example

I used to be that person who was unable to draw healthy boundaries. I come from a culture where women especially are not supposed to say no or resist anything imposed on them. Though I had great parents, I went to a college that I did not care for in order to please them, and I was miserable every day for almost six years.

At work, I would accept all projects pushed on me even if they were not mine. In my personal life, I would not speak up in my relationships until resentment and anger defined me and my actions.

Only when I finally stopped to undertake deep soul-searching work and studies did I realize that I felt intruded upon physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically. I was being continuously asked to perform even when I could not, and the worst part is that I was the ultimate culprit. I was allowing others to use me while putting my own sanity and success on the back burner to help others achieve their dreams.

I needed to draw that invisible line in the sand to start protecting myself, my goals and my dreams. At first, I felt guilty and ashamed of letting others down and I did not want to offend anyone. But then, I started saying "no" with nothing else behind it — no other explanations or excuses. No became a full sentence for me. And while it threw a few people off, I stood strong in the conviction of needing to have boundaries in my life.


The Importance Of Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries create trust and build healthy relationships. Even when some people don't like what you do, they will likely still respect you for standing up for what you believe in. Boundaries also generate safety in relationships. When your privacy is respected, you are more likely to feel heard, validated and appreciated. But most of all, you are not taken for granted by either your loved ones or your colleagues and supervisors.

It is no longer only about others’ needs but about yours as well. You count. Crossing your stated boundaries is similar to verbal, emotional or even physical abuse. And therefore, it's important to know that the people who don't like the new you are likely not your people.

Your boundaries are the rules for how others learn to behave around you, how you want to be treated, what you will accept and what you will not — they are based on your own needs and wants. It is not selfish, rude, pushy or self-centered to make these requests. It is understanding your value, knowing your priorities and making sure that others do as well. It is about you creating the space and time for you to flourish and achieve your career goals and your life dreams.

You can only be of service to others if you are strong and empowered and your feet are solidly on the ground. And these qualities can only originate from within you.


The Benefits Of Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is part of self-care and self-respect and should help form the base of your own personal leadership. It is being assertive without the need for being aggressive. Healthy boundaries can help you define your uniqueness and your core. Saying no assertively to a new commitment means you are honoring your existing ones. Boundaries are not just about getting what you want. It's about you getting to live your life on your own terms.

Setting healthy boundaries gives you the ability to express your thoughts and feelings in a way that clearly communicates your needs. Healthy boundaries help you achieve the following in both your personal and professional life:

• You effectively listen and see other points of view while still respecting your own.

• You practice self-respect by standing your ground.

• You avoid future conflicts and resentment.

• You set reasonable consequences for violating your boundaries.


How To Begin Setting Boundaries

It starts with self-awareness. If you do not like the way you feel or act, know that you have the power to change it. You are the master of your universe; you control 100% of your actions and reactions. Embrace the uneasiness of being uncomfortable at first. It all starts by saying no to what does not serve you, and by standing your ground with no guilt or shame.

No is a full sentence.

It is not an action to be undertaken only at certain times; it is a lifelong habit that we need to diligently practice in order to achieve our goals in work and life.

When it comes to setting healthy boundaries, what will be the first step you take to carve your path to fulfillment, happiness and peace of mind?

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Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh

Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant-

Life Coach & Business Coach - The Fear Whisperer

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