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Mastering the Art of Boundary-Setting: A People Pleaser's Guide

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Tired of feeling like a 24/7 customer service hotline for everyone in your life? Well, it's time to break free from the chains of constant "yeses" and step into the fabulous world of setting boundaries.

As a mental health therapist and a recovering people pleaser, here are some tips I have scooped up along my own healing journey...

Tip #1 - Admit You're Not a Doormat

So, you're the person who says yes even before the question's complete? Let's change that narrative, shall we? Acknowledge that you're not a doormat.

Tip #2 - Boundary Bingo

Identify the situations that make you cringe and squirm. Think of it as a Boundary Bingo: spot the instances where you tend to sacrifice your sanity for the sake of making everyone happy.

"Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner" – Lao Tzu

Tip #3 - "No" is Not a Dirty Word

Repeat after me: "No" is not a dirty word. It's your new mantra for sanity preservation. Practice it with enthusiasm: "NO, I won't babysit your neighbor's third cousin's pet iguana this weekend!" See? Easy peasy.

Tip #4 - The Art of the "I"

When you're setting boundaries, put on your diplomat hat and master the art of the "I" statement. "I need some alone time," "I can't commit to that," and "I'd rather eat broccoli than do that" – okay, maybe not the last one, but you get the point.

Tip #5 - Don't Overexplain

Picture this: You say, "I can't do that this weekend," and then proceed to list all the reasons why. Stop! You're not in a courtroom defense. Keep it simple, and resist the urge to overexplain.

Tip #6 - The Guilt Party (No, Not Really)

Guilt will RSVP to your boundary-setting party. That's okay. But, here's the twist: instead of letting guilt take over the dance floor, give it a quick nod and carry on with your boundary-setting groove.

Tip #7 - Stay Strong, Grasshopper

You set a boundary. Bravo! Now, brace yourself for possible reactions. People might try to push, plead, or even give you puppy eyes. Stay strong, dear grasshopper. Remind yourself why you're doing this – for your mental health and your precious time.

Tip #8 - Learn from Each Battle

If your boundary-setting quest faces a minor glitch, don't sweat it. Learn from each experience. What worked? What didn't? Adjust your strategies and battle on.

Tip #9 - Embrace the Awkward

Guess what? Boundary-setting can be awkward. Embrace it like you're dancing in the rain, awkwardly but with conviction. And hey, who doesn't love a good cringe-worthy moment?

Tip #10 - Revel in Your Liberation

Congratulations! You've officially stepped out of the people-pleasing prison. Revel in your newfound liberation. You're not just setting boundaries; you're crafting a masterpiece of self-respect and empowerment.

Final Words...

Remember, it's not about turning into a boundary-enforcing robot; it's about finding your balance, nurturing your well-being, and enjoying the journey along the way. Go forth and boundary like a badass, because girl you've got this!

If you live in PA, NJ or NY and want to start therapy, reach out here to schedule a free 15 minute intro call and see if we make a good fit!

Follow along on instagram @notbrokentherapy for more mental health tips from a therapist who gets it.


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