Navigating Boundary Setting and People Pleasing

Boundary setting can be difficult; particularly for those of us who have people pleasing and peace-keeping tendencies. Here are a few thoughts that may help:

  1. Before responding, ask yourself: “What are my intentions? How will I likely feel if I say yes/no?”
  2. Consider that resentment is a messenger; an invitation to set boundaries.
  3. Practice putting yourself first, and remember that it’s not selfish to do so, it’s healthy.
  4. Reflect on…where does this desire to please others come from? Where in my past did I learn to value my own emotions and experiences? When I disappoint others, what does that say about me?
  5. Practice setting (and reinforcing) boundaries and saying ‘no.’ Start small.
  6. Self-soothe before, after, and during boundary setting.
  7. Practice saying “Let me get back to you” before responding.
  8. Remember that we are responsible only for our own emotions and reactions, not those of others.
  9. You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not pizza.

Boundary setting is difficult, but a lack of boundaries is more difficult. A lack of boundaries can lead to feelings of overwhelm and burn out, to resentment, and to overall discontentment with our relationships and our lives. Setting boundaries can be hard, but so, so worth it.

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