Setting boundaries is important for all of us, especially if we are highly sensitive.
As a highly sensitive person, we are often massive people pleasers. We hate to let people down and we are very good at putting everyone else’s needs before our own.
Once you learn and practice how to set boundaries, you actually create more freedom for yourself.
This truth is demonstrated elegantly by the following story from the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.
The story shares of a school located next to a busy road. At first the children played only on a small swath of the playground, close to the building where the grownups could keep their eyes on them.
But then someone constructed a fence around the playground. Now the children were able to play anywhere and everywhere on the playground.
Their freedom, in effect, more than doubled.
Similarly, when we don’t set clear boundaries in our lives we can end up imprisoned by the limits others have set for us. When we have clear boundaries, on the other hand, we are free to select from the whole area — or the whole range of options — that we have deliberately chosen to explore.
Even though it can be out of our comfort zone to say no because we are such people pleasers, setting boundaries is imperative.
I encourage you to learn to stay firm. Be short, clear and concise. When you do this, you’ll find that people will go along with it.
Especially people who respect you and who have your best interests at heart.
For example if a family member or friend calls you and you are right in the middle of something important but you know they’re in for a long chat.
You can gently let them know by saying you can only talk for a couple of minutes. If they continue to talk, not respecting your wishes or your boundaries, stand firm.
Say a clear and firm no.
You can add something like ‘I would love to talk later when I have more time to listen to you, but right now, I just don’t have any.
And it can be hard, but again, it’s a muscle that you build and get used to.
Practice, practice, practice and before long, it will be comfortable and normal for you to put your needs first.
Another quick tip as far as boundaries go is to stop before you say yes to something straight away.
I picked up this tip from a post on Julie Bjelland’s Sensitive Empowerment Community.
If someone invites you to a dinner, to meet up for a coffee or similar, say ‘let me think about it’ and you can get back to them.
This gives you the time and space to really think about if it’s something you want to do. Or you would rather pass on this time.
Again the people pleaser in us will find this hard, but you can’t please everyone all the time.
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.
― Brené Brown
It’s about others being respectful of you and your time and it’s about you honouring your self-care.
Remember No is a complete sentence.
What comes up for you when you think about boundaries?