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How to Be a Bad-@$$ Boundary Setter Part 2

How To’s designed to get you unstuck and pull you into alignment with your highest self.

Last week, we talked about what boundaries are and did a boundary audit to see how comfortable you are with setting them.

Today, I want to dive into the next level and look at how to identify and communicate your boundaries.

Identifying Your Unique Boundaries

First, think back on a time one of your boundaries was violated.

Even if you didn’t communicate it at the time or know exactly what it was, I’m willing to bet you could feel it happening.

So, try to isolate a couple of times in the past when that’s happened to you and pay special close attention to what emotions you experienced.

Did you feel pressured, resentful, or fearful? Angry, hurt, or anxious? A fancy combo?

Knowing what emotions you experience when a boundary is crossed will help you identify what your boundaries are over time.

I call it the Boundary Alarm System as the emotional response you have to a boundary being encroached upon will always alert you if you learn to listen to it.

Use as many past examples as necessary to get a good idea of how your body communicates with you when a boundary needs to be set.

Identifying the Underlying Needs

Once you get to know your BAS (Boundary Alarm System), it’s time to find the underlying needs associated with your boundaries.

Let’s practice by using those same examples you found earlier.

You already know how you felt when your boundary was crossed, and now I want you to ask yourself what you needed in that situation to feel relief.

To illustrate, let’s say Brad is a sweet little introvert who has identified that when his boundaries are crossed, he feels a huge swell of anxiety and pressure in his chest.

He notices his BAS going off after a long day at work when his partner, Gina, asks him at the last minute to attend a happy hour with her and several of her coworkers.

Brad likes Gina’s friends, but he is emotionally and physically exhausted from the day and as he checks in with the pressure and anxiety, he’s able to see he needs some rest and recharge time by himself before he can handle any more socializing.

Good noticing, Brad!!!

Communicating Your Boundaries

Now comes the exciting part – communicating your boundaries to others! YAY!

Let’s go back to our example, Brad.

Now that Brad has identified his need, it’s time to communicate the whole shebang to Gina.

And since he’s been present with himself throughout this process, he can be more open to collaboration with her.

So, he starts with the way he feels and then states what he needs:

“You know, I’m feeling really super burned out from the day and I’m noticing a lot of pressure and anxiety at the thought of being social right now. I need some time to myself to recharge. Do you want to head to the restaurant by yourself and I’ll follow in about 30 minutes, or could you wait while I take some time to myself and we can still go together?”

Or maybe Brad decides he needs more than 30 minutes and suggests he sits this one out entirely.

Whatever the need is, Brad states it clearly and with transparency, adding at the end, “Thank you for being so gracious and understanding about this! I’ll be in such a better mood when you get home and we can spend some quality time together.”

Summing up

And that’s it! The whole equation of boundary communication boils down to clearly stating your feelings, your needs, and your gratitude for the other person’s understanding.

Note: This is a pretty foolproof method in a healthy and safe relationship. If you find that when you follow this process, there are some people in your life who continue to push back or try to manipulate you into doing what they want, it’s time to get help for that relationship or to potentially question it entirely.

Now, go forth and set those boundaries!

A special thanks to Thais Gibson and her work with Integrative Attachment Theory for much of this information!!

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