The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

Boundary Setting and Assertiveness: Necessary Life Skills

How often have you asked yourself why you can't draw boundaries? Have you ever thought that maybe you might struggle with self-confidence and the ability to be assertive? Sometimes assertiveness can be confused with being selfish, mean, or being insensitive. It is extremely important that we define the real meaning of being assertive in order to be able to set up healthy boundaries in our relationships and personal and professional worlds.

To be assertive is to be able to express how you feel or think in a way that is civil, sensitive, and appropriate. It doesn't mean you have to yell at someone to get them to hear you. It doesn't mean you have to be uncaring about another person's thoughts or feelings. When we struggle with assertiveness, we tend to acquiesce to others because we are fearful about others' reactions or responses.

Assertiveness Basics:

1) Understand who you are- ask yourself what your values and priorities are. Know your identity.

2) Stop apologizing.

3) Own your responsibilities to yourself and to others. Every person has to own his/her own responsibilities (this includes choices, actions, reactions, and responses).

4) Believe in yourself- that you deserve to be treated with respect (just as you treat others with respect).

5) Define your limits- what can you and can you not handle or accept from others.

6) Emotionally regulate- keep your emotional responses in check. Calmly share how you feel or what you need/want.

7) Don't own someone else's choices, actions, behaviors, or reactions.

8) Get support! Ask for help and guidance from friends, family, and professionals (i.e. counselors, life coaches, psychologists, etc.).

Drawing Boundaries:

1) Be self-aware. Know who you are- what your needs, wants, and desires are.

2) Recognize when your gut is telling you about situations. Listen to it.

3) Be clear with yourself what you are "ok" with in relationships with others.

4) Know how you need to protect yourself- your time and energy are very important and have to be a priority.

5) Say NO to extra commitments- especially when you're overwhelmed with other aspects of your life.

6) Remind yourself: Only I can take care of me. At the end of the day it is up to me to advocate for myself.

Jump in with both feet and start implementing these ideas today. Remind yourself, repeat to yourself, re-read this blog to yourself on a daily basis. Over time it will become second nature and you will be able to demonstrate assertiveness and draw healthy boundaries without needing to over think it or take extra effort. You have the power to make change. So start today!

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Olegweabe wrote:

Fri, March 24, 2017 @ 6:31 AM

2. Kostyaweabe wrote:

Sat, June 24, 2017 @ 9:57 PM

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