Setting boundaries sounds easy doesn’t it?

Simply learning to say no in order to prevent that downhill slide into exhaustion.

But how many of us are actually able to set boundaries without feeling guilty or without adding an underlying tone of resentment into the mix?

The problem is we often leave it too long. Give too much. Turn a blind eye and ignore our inner voice that say’s “I need to change this”.

By the time we reach the place when we feel we we need to set boundaries we have already arrived at a place of emotional reactivity, resentment and depletion.

Not a great starting point for a ‘boundary conversation”

It takes practice to set boundaries in an open hearted way without guilt, without shame and definitely without resentment. So let’s get clear with some simple steps to help you do just that.

1- Press pause.

Pressing pause calms the brain’s reactive stress zone and helps give you the space needed for your emotional brain calm down.

Pressing pause might sound like “Can I press pause on this conversation and get back to you tomorrow morning on this?

Pressing pause might feel like “I can sense my heart racing, I am feeling flushed and my mind is reminding me of all the scenario’s you have done the wrong thing by me. I am going to close the door, go for a walk, breathe until this feeling has the chance to diffuse. Then I will come at it with a clear mind”

2- Get curious.

When we feel that our boundaries have been stepped on by others, it can be easy to react quickly with judgement assuming the worst in others.

This is often not the case. Simply pressing pause and then asking yourself some valid questions can help the calm objective centre in your brain catch up. It means you are more likely to come to a boundary conversation from a place of calm.

Ask yourself the questions am I seeing all sides? Can I see the big picture? Do I really have the story right?

3- Get clear on your values.

Being clear on what you value means you are more able to sit out a clear boundary line. A place where you need to consistently live.

Your values can fall into key values areas (such as your health or family, your social connections or influence, your career or business, spirituality or creativity).

Your values can also fall under the banner of value traits (such as honesty, integrity, kindness, generosity, team work, freedom or charity).

Like to learn more about values and how to find your values? Tune in here.

4- Start a conversation with an open heart. A Soft front AND strong back.

Open hearted conversations acknowledge mutual challenges and understanding.

Opening with “I agree this has been a stressful period for us”. Or “I understand the challenges that we have been navigating”. This can help our brains operate from a place of togetherness in finding a solution, rather than you versus me.

From there you are then able to start to outline your boundaries which will include what’s okay and what’s not okay, the consequences if things don’t change and what is unsustainable for you. This might sound like:

“I agree this is been a stressful period and appreciate that you are doing your best. It’s okay that (insert acceptable behaviour/experiences). But what’s not okay for me is this (insert unacceptable behaviour/experiences).

If this continues this is not sustainable for me. I need us to work together as a team with you and I need you to (insert desired boundary change). If this is not possible we need to (insert outcome/part ways). “

Be prepared for that person to also state some of their own boundaries and needs. Be open to what you can give, and clear with what you can’t.

I hope this step by step guide helps you. Your can read more on setting healthy boundaries in Brene’ Browns amazing book “Rising Strong”.

Like to learn more about Niky’s Rise UP retreats and online program to help YOU build resilience? Find out more here

Tune into the Synergy Women Podcast to learn more tips for your body, mind and heart health! Subscribe here!