Boundaries are invisible limits that inform people what behavior you will and will not tolerate in your relationship. These parameters are healthy not only for yourself but others. When someone has a negative reaction to a compassionate limit, it reveals more about their character, than yours. Since empaths are natural people pleasers, they often have a difficult time creating limits and sticking to them.
You deserve to be treated respectfully. In order for boundaries to be effective, you need to be clear about what you want, know your values and voice these assertively. You may want to read this blog; How to Stop Being Controlled and Get Empowered to learn more about your personal rights.
Now you have communicated your boundaries, the real work begins. This is where you walk your talk. Some people will test your limits, to see if you will hold the line firm. Here are three ways to make your boundaries stick:
1.) Call upon a Higher Power for a Boost
When a sensitive person speaks up, he or she can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Each time you feel tested, either by yourself or someone else, one affirmation you can say is, “God/Divine, give me the strength to value myself.” There is no shame in reaching up for help. Remember, with God/The Divine everything is possible.
2.) Feel All the Emotions but Don’t Act on Them
When you set a boundary, you may feel confused and begin to second guess yourself. Was I too harsh? Maybe it is too much? Did I hurt their feelings? Guilt can sabotage you, if you let it. Process all of these feelings, in your journal or with a counselor, in order to release any unnecessary emotional burdens you carry. Think about how much the other party is considering your feelings at this point. Is he or she offering you the same energetic consideration?
3.) Self-care is Essential
Improve your mental, physical and spiritual health. You give a lot to others, make sure you give to yourself. Have a luxurious cup of tea or do an activity you enjoy. Another aspect of self-care is limiting your time with those you set boundaries with. In order to protect your energy, make an honest assessment and take a hard look at your life. What is your need to stay or be around this type of energy? Take steps to be around this person less and less. You may find my book, I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers, beneficial for you.
Here is an additional resource: My presentation about boundaries on SkinCare Talk Radio: Boundaries, Difficult People & COVID-19
Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net