3 simple steps to setting boundaries
It’s not rude to set boundaries.
In fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do.
Without realizing it, I have believed that setting boundaries is rude. But I'm beginning to understand that healthy boundaries derive from love, not fear.
Traditionally I have not set boundaries with my friends. It has seemed unkind to tell others how to treat me . Also, it’s felt too hard. What will they think of me?!
Perhaps the most useful piece of information I've gained about boundaries is this: discovering and communicating my boundaries will be uncomfortable and possibly hurtful IN THE SHORT RUN, but it will save me a lifetime of pain, hiding and resentment! It actually allows me to be more kind, because I’m not worried about being taken advantage of.
Here's are 3 steps that have helped me set life-giving boundaries:
1. Decide what your core values are.
Who are you? What do you value? Figure out what, exactly, you're comfortable with and what you aren't.
I made a list! One for general core values and one specific to my business. If you've never done this, I highly recommend it. It was eye-opening to me.
Even though Jesus probably didn’t have to make a list of his core values, Luke says Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. He didn’t let himself get burned out with healing people; he took breaks and got close to Abba Father again!
Now that I have a list, I know WHY I should say no at times. If something is in contrast to my core values, I can confidently (and kindly) say no.
2. Stick with your boundaries.
This is not easy for me. I am prone to say one thing and do another. Sadly, this is one way to quickly get someone to question your character or authenticity. I am deeply convicted by this and so grateful to have God changing me.
It's helpful to think of there being only 2 options: yes and no. "Yes, I want to do this!" OR "No, that doesn't feel right this time." This helps me stick to my boundaries when I narrow it down to these 2 options.
Jesus says to let your yes be yes, and your no be no!
3. Clearly and kindly communicate your boundaries.
If your boundaries haven't been communicated to those around you in a way THEY understand, it won't matter much that you have boundaries.
I find it's easier to communicate boundaries when I approach it as honoring my values.
For instance, if someone asks me to do something Monday night, I know my answer. I say, "I would love to hang out with you, can we choose another night? I have reserved that night as family night, and that's something we really value and honor in our house."
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
These three steps are simple, yet have had a profound impact on my life!
Remember that discovering and communicating your boundaries will be uncomfortable and possibly hurtful IN THE SHORT RUN, but it will save you a lifetime of pain, hiding and resentment. It’s not rude, in fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do!