Get Prepared to Set Boundaries that Work
This is a detailed guide written as a guide to help you do some introspective personal boundaries work and create some lasting change. If you’re looking for a list or a quick how-to try this instead:
5 Ways to Say No as an Empath
In this article we’ll cover:
+ Real life examples of how to actually do this!
Ready for some personal growth and a bit fun work? Ok, lets go!
Listen to the audio version
Why you need to be prepared
Let’s start with why it’s worth taking some time to get prepared before setting your new boundaries.
Boundaries are the ultimate form of self love and respect. And in following through with self-care, it’s important to realize that you’re about to make some major changes.
True transformation in your life starts with boundaries which define who you are, what is acceptable to you and what is not. So why not leverage it even more by being prepared beforehand?
This is going to give you the opportunity to explore a few things:
+ You’ll be able to create a nice emotional cushion for yourself before and after.
+ You’ll be able to feel into some scenarios to see if that’s what you truly want to do, and then spend some time practicing if that feels right.
+ Being prepared and emotionally ready helps these situations be less scary. More importantly you will be able to follow through and be successful!
Now that you have defined your personal boundaries in Part 1 of the series, it’s time to get ready before you put them into action.
As as an empath or highly sensitive person this can be different than the average person. Whether it’s to support our need to people please, or because we don’t want to “ruffle any feathers” , we have a propensity to hold on to the way things are. All our reasons are valid. Yet underneath, this is really about our own fear or anxiety. And usually our own fear of change by future projecting on an outcome that might not even happen!
When you set a new boundary, it means that the current scenario or communication style with you and others is going to change.
Sometimes people don’t like change and may react in a way that maybe isn’t comfortable. And I think this is the number one reason sensitive folks keep on in situations that are draining, stressful and anxiety ridden. But it is important to understand that someone’s reaction doesn’t mean that they are necessarily angry or upset with you. It just means consciously or not, they don’t like things to change.
This process of shifting and standing up for yourself isn’t always easy. Especially if the old way of doing things has been going on for some time – like with family.
But don’t get discouraged! You’re going to start with small, easy steps to get comfortable and build your self-esteem. You’ll quickly see that every time you have an accomplishment you’ll feel more confident and ready for the next challenge.
Getting prepared before setting boundaries is essentia
While I’m a big believer in contingency plans, previous experience has shown me that 90% of the time the defensiveness or backlash I was expecting was totally in my own head. However there are times when , well, s*** hits the fan.
To be successful at setting a boundary you need to know why you are doing it. That deep, heartfelt reason that started you on this path in the first place.
This will help you hold firm and understand that you don’t have to explain yourself if there is opposition in the moment or later on. As soon as we become defensive, start to explain our reasons or falter because we’re uncomfortable or afraid to hurt someone’s feelings we lose our credibility. And more importantly, you open up a conversation for an argument that doesn’t even need to happen.
4 STEPS TO GET PREPARED FOR BOUNDARIES THAT ACTUALLY WORK!
+ Review your priorities and limits.
Who or what is currently getting top billing for your energy? *pro tip: You should be at the top of that list!
+ Where is your biggest pain point or struggle? Remember in Part 1 when I talked about tipping points? Charge up your superpowers, look at your list and feel into it:
+Where are you saying yes when saying no would be more beneficial?
+Which person, group or scenario causes the most angst? Or feelings of resentment?
This is what will determine your top priority.
Reality is, If you’re not used to saying no, it can seem like hard work in the beginning. Especially as a kind, aware sensitive soul who’s compassion makes you reticent to hurt anybody’s feelings. Sometimes it feels like a lot to think about and can be overwhelming. To counterbalance this, it’s important to remember not to take it all so seriously!
+ Taking the scary edge off boundary setting is the best way to get started
“Nope. Nada. Non. Not available. Not gonna happen”
If you aren’t really sure how, or are at a loss for words when you need to say no, then it’s time to shift gears and play a little.
+ Let’s practice and have a bit of fun and a giggle!
+ watch a silly video like How To Say “NO!” in 40 Different Languages
+ There’s a lot of great lists out there, but this one is particularly funny, and it has memes! 100+ Funny and Creative Ways to Say “No”
+ I also wrote a quick list article called 5 Ways to Say No as an Empath
It’s empath & HSP 101: to stay healthy, your body and mind require adequate rest to rejuvenate. You know if you don’t create personal limits, you won’t get the rest you deserve. So lets think about what’s going to work for you
+ Have a look at your time management. Are you building in some nice buffers to recharge or be alone?
+ What type of self-care works best for you?
It might seem a strange question, but what works for some people might not work for you. As a wellness professional I understand the benefits of magnesium/epsom salt baths, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I want to take one, haha Try keeping a collection of ideas for yourself visible on your fridge or office space or on your cell phone. If you need some inspiration, I’ve collected tons of great ideas from experts and fellow sensitives on my Spiritual Self Care board on Pinterest.
Remember how I talked earlier about how people can sometimes respond to change In a way that might not be comfortable for us? Let’s think about that for a second. Because overcoming our fears and anxiety is the key to setting boundaries that actually work. And it’s a nice positive feedback loop because the more you set boundaries, the more confident you’re going to become and then you want to set more boundaries.
We’re going to do this by getting ourselves ready mentally and emotionally.
+ Write it out – the bad then the good.
Look at your list from the worksheet and pick a boundary you want to set. Grab a fresh sheet of paper and list all your concerns, anxieties and fears about this situation. Keep in mind that while every thought and feeling about the experience to come is absolutely valid, they might not necessarily happen. The point of this exercise is to get everything out on paper, out of your mind, out of your heart and so that you can focus on where you need to be: in the present.
Flip the page over and do the opposite. Write down what an ideal experience with the person or group would be like. Also include reasons why you’re doing it, how you are going to feel when these changes are made and how it’s going to give you a sense of accomplishment, confidence and empowerment!
If your mind gets to racing with future projecting and anxiety again, you now have a list of what a good experience would be like. This is what you need to put your focus on to help you step into that as reality. The more you spend time thinking of the good scenario, the more likely you are to manifest it.
+ Be ready to deal with your inner critic
Sometimes the hardest thing about boundary setting when you are sensitive is the inner voice that happens after the fact. You might feel guilty or have a sense of dread and anxiety. And even if the experience goes better than you thought, you might question or berate yourself that it wasn’t exactly how you envisioned.
Again, these feelings are totally valid. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them!
This is another great opportunity for journaling to get the emotions out.
It’s also a super opportunity to get outside support. Because as much as we like to be alone, sometimes we need to ask for a little help. If you feel comfortable, have a discussion with a trusted friend or family member who isn’t involved in the situation. And if that’s not available, consider working with a therapist or practitioner who can support you in the boundary setting process.
Setting boundaries as an empath and highly sensitive person goes beyond empath protection or coping strategies.
The reason this works and creates lasting transformation is because it comes from your heart.
Congratulate yourself for having done this work! You now know deep inside what is actually triggering you into feeling resentful, angry, exhausted or a host of other negative and energetically draining emotions. And you have the beginning steps to implementing your boundaries and sticking to them.
Once you learn to say no, you will immediately experience the benefits of treating yourself with respect. You’re going to feel lighter in your heart, find that you have more energy and very likely you will be excited to set more boundaries!
I can’t wait to hear from you about the changes you’ll see.
And don’t forget to check out the Quotes about Boundaries below. All of them are Free Downloadable wallpapers you can use on your phone or laptop!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
COMMENT BELOW AND TELL ME
- How are you going in the process?
- Are you finding it easier now that you have some clarity on where to focus your boundary setting?