As we head into this school year, it can be important to set boundaries with others like friends, teammates, and classmates. Boundaries can be difficult. If you care about someone, it may be hard or seem rude to say no to something if they’re going too far. However, boundaries are important for your mental health and safety.
If you’re in a relationship with someone and they ask something of you, you may feel obligated to do it, even if it makes you uncomfortable or you’re not in a mindset where it’s safe for you to do so. In reality, there’s no requirement for you to put someone else’s needs or wants above your own. It’s good to help when you’re able to, but if it will damage your mental or physical health, you certainly do not have to.
There are a lot of helpful tips on many sites online, and here are some tips we’ve compiled that we think may be useful:
Everyone’s values and limits are different. It’s great to know what is important to you, and what you do and do not like. Once you know that, you can communicate that to others, and you can be specific, in order to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Listen To Your Emotions
Our emotions are reactions to things happening to us or in front of us. Emotions are really helpful in this way because they can serve as a red flag or warning sign alerting us that something is crossing our boundaries. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, upset, or another emotion you don’t like to feel, try to figure out WHY you feel that way, and address boundaries that may need resetting.
Have Respect for Yourself and Others
Remember that in order to respect yourself, you will need to respect your own boundaries. This means you may sometimes have to say “no” or “not now” to what is being asked of you. Be mindful to realize that others need to do this for themselves as well, and respect their limits when they make a boundary clear to you.
“Assertive” is when you can communicate what you need directly and respectfully. This means standing up for yourself, but you don’t need to tear others down to do that. You can compromise when that’s appropriate, but remember that you can also stand your ground when needed.
Being assertive and finding a good balance of taking care of yourself and taking care of others may seem difficult and kinda scary. And it might be. It takes practice and a bit of getting used to, but it will help you in the long run. You can’t help people if you’ve already given all you can. You’re human. If you have nothing left of yourself for yourself, you don’t have anything to give away, and you’ll probably be in a bad place mentally. Take time for yourself, and let people help you for a change if you need it and are comfortable with it.