How Empaths And Emotionally Sensitive People Can Easily Set Healthy Boundaries With Others
For a Happier Life...
As an Empath my self, I have known how hard it is to set healthy boundaries with others, including my family and my friends. It has been a challenge, but every relationship that we have requires boundaries and putting these in place, without feeling and guilt or shame in doing so, is imperative if you wish to have a healthy and happy relationship.
In this months blog post, I hope to shed some light on what are boundaries and why they are so important for our relationships and for our own happiness and peace of mind especially for Empaths, sensitive people and healers who often struggle the most at setting healthy and much needed boundaries with others.
In my work treating and mentoring sensitives, empaths, and healers, the number-one thing I teach is boundary setting—because it is so hard for us to do.
Many of you frequently find yourself utterly exhausted because tending to others comes more naturally to you than tending to yourself.
Empaths are the psychic sponges of the world, we spend a lot of time feeling overwhelmed by the energies of other people and we often become very drained of these energies that we can often consume from the world around us. Crowds, certain people and certain energies, social engagements, traveling— and anything that has a lot of people and sensory stimulation - can all crash the circuits of empaths and send them into empathic overload and energy drain.
Your discomfort with boundary setting may stem from these three reasons:
You don’t know your needs in the first place—and only realise that a boundary was necessary after the fact.
You fear that the validation you receive for being so caring and nurturing will disappear, and
when you say no, others will no longer see your value. And many of the suggestions on boundary setting stress assertiveness, which to you might actually feel aggressive.
So you have a tough time ending conversations when you’re tired, or declining requests when you’re completely drained and desperately need downtime. So you remain silent when you’re uncomfortable, or don’t ask for help when you’re hurting, too.
A non-empathic person has an innate sense of boundaries: “This is me and everything else is not me.” But empaths don’t have a built-in boundary, rather we have finely tuned antennae that are always feeling other people’s needs, pains, and desires. So we need to learn about stepping back and making healthy boundaries for ourselves, so that we know what is us and what isn't us and our energies and valuing ourselves much more in the process.
With good healthy boundaries, we feel our unique sense of self.
This comes from being able to say “No.” With a sense of self and of our own worthiness, we can prioritise ourselves and what it is that we want, over the needs and wants of others.
This is an alien concept for most empaths because we have very big hearts and generous natures—we really do care!
Since we feel what others need and how much pain they are in, it’s very difficult to say no.
It requires us to be very honest about when we feel a “yes” or when we feel a “no” in our lives.
A great way to tell when you feel a “no” is to watch for resentfulness. Resentment is the red flag that lets you know you are in a situation with an energy imbalance, where you are giving more to a situation than you are getting back.
This is why setting boundaries are really important for all of us...
The Value of Healthy Boundaries in All of Your Relationships
Every relationship requires boundaries.
What are boundaries?
Personal boundaries set limits on how others can behave in your presence and interact with you.
Certainly, your boundaries have been violated at some point in your life. Maybe a partner used language that was unacceptable towards you. Perhaps someone invaded your privacy by asking you a personal question you considered inappropriate. Or someone who wants your help, takes far too much of your precious time and energy that you are willing to give, especially if it is NOT family...
What are your boundaries?
How do you show others where you draw the line?
Once your lines are clear, they benefit you and those around you. We have to show and tell others how you wish to be treated - hopefully with respect and acceptance of your personal space and boundaries that you will have in place.
It’s not easy to set boundaries when others are accustomed to you not having any.
Whether we like to admit it or not, people take advantage of other people. Even “nice” people, can be quite exploitative if it’s the easiest and most convenient path to take. When others take advantage of our kindness, it leads to resentment and lowered self-esteem.
The solution to this unfortunate situation is setting boundaries. Your boundaries can be anything you choose. Start with the most important aspect of setting your boundaries:-
1. Identify your own needs.
We can especially benefit from boundaries that put limits around the amount of time and energy we give to others, Without these limits, we often find that our needs are met last, or not at all.
Take the time to think about your needs.
How much space and solitude do you need to feel your best?
What genuinely refreshes and recharges you?
What tends to drain you?
What people tend to drain you?
When do you feel your best?
When do you feel your worst?
Start creating boundaries around your responses, and check in with yourself regularly. Because our needs change and evolve over time. You might check in with yourself every now and then and journal about your thoughts and feelings for 15 minutes. This is a great way to find out how you are feeling at any given time and a great time to reevaluate where you are and where you want to be in the future...
2. Other ways that you can identify what you do and don't do:
A few examples include:
You don’t loan money to anyone.
You don't allow other people to take up all your time
You don’t allow people to yell at you.
You don’t spend time with people that are drunk.
You don’t kiss on the first date.
You don’t allow pop-over guests.
You can have boundaries regarding your own behaviour too, such as:
You don’t eat meat.
You don’t curse.
You look after your energy and only give it to others, who you wish to give to.
Your don't burn the candle at both ends
You don't over extend yourself and you know your limits and when to stop.
You refuse to ride on the back of a motorcycle.
Consider these areas in determining your personal boundaries:
1. Physical boundaries.
Physical boundaries include space. There are certain people whom you feel comfortable standing much closer to than others. Your partner can stand closer to you than a friend, and a friend closer than a coworker. Maybe a coworker can stand closer than a stranger.
Physical boundaries is about having respect for your own space and the space around you. Deciding for yourself what you are happy with, with certain people and what you are not happy with, with others. When we know this about ourselves and what it is that we will put up with or not. It is important that we voice this to the person, or step away from them, if we feel that they are invading our personal space and the space around us. It is our responsibility to say, to let them know. By saying something like, do you mind waiting somewhere else for me, thank you. And saying where you want them to wait for you. And to keep reinforcing this every time.
Touch. There are certain people you allow to touch you, and others you do not. Some people can , and others not so much. There are more people you’ll shake hands with than you’ll allow to touch your face or an intimate part of your body. It is important that we speak up and say or move away and ask them 'what are you doing?" and do you mind stepping back a bit, thank you...
What are you willing to share with a particular person? Personal information, Financial information? Health issues? Family issues? Your hopes and fears?
There’s information that you’re willing to share with some people and not with others. There are also topics you don’t want to hear about from certain people. For example, you probably don’t want to hear about somebodies problems and about politics and world issues or your mom’s sexual escapades or your boss’s haemorrhoids.
It's important that we say politely to the person, I'm sorry but I really not interested in politics and whatever else they may be saying without any allowance from you. For instance, as an empath you would never dream of just coming straight out with your issues and concerns, your world views straight out to someone else, especially if it hasn't come up in conversation and that you are both open to talking about it. So why should you accept it from others? Allowing them to put things out there to you and then you become drained of your energy.
Do you expect your secrets to be respected? Do you respect the secrets and privacy of others? I'm sure that you do, so why shouldn't yours be equally important and respected. This is key! You need to ask yourself how do you wish to be treated, respected and how you wish to do the same for others?
Do you allow others to curse around you? How do you allow others to speak to you? Do you allow them to criticize you? How much disrespect do you permit? Would you allow someone to yell at you?
I'm guessing No, but why do we accept some of our closest loved ones to do just that and we don't say anything back, allowing them to treat us badly.
As an Empath, we would never dream of disrespecting others or yelling at others, so why do we allow others to do it to us? We respect others, why can't we also demand respect from them also.
These are just three types of boundaries. What other boundaries can you think of?
Punctuality. How long will you wait for someone before you feel disrespected?
Borrowing and sharing items. Would you loan someone your lawnmower? Allow them to eat french fries off your plate? Loan them money?
Coming to your workplace. Do you allow your friends and family to come to your workplace?
Other boundaries? What other boundaries do you need to put in place. What do you need to put in place to have a healthy relationship?
Making your boundaries clear to others:
1. Be patient and fair.
It’s not fair to expect anyone to read your mind. You can state many of your boundaries up front. But some of your boundaries with a specific person won’t be identified until there crossed. Be patient. It will take time for the other person to discover all of your boundaries.
2. Be assertive when your boundaries are crossed.
When someone crosses one of your boundaries, calmly and clearly explain what you expect from them in that situation.
3. Be willing to say, “no.”
Let others know when you don’t have the interest or time to do something. It’s okay to decline offers. People respect someone who is willing to say “no” once in a while.
Here are a Few Kind, Compassionate Ways to Say No:-
As an empath, it’s often hard to hurt other people’s feelings. It feels mean to say no! But there are soft ways to say no, such as:
“I would love to help you, but I am overbooked right now”
“Thank you for asking, I just don’t have the availability right now”
“I admire what you are trying to do, but I don’t have the resources to do it justice”
“No thank you, but I love that you asked me”
4. Avoid feeling guilty. Most Important!!
It’s rare that someone’s boundaries are too strict or are unreasonable. The opposite is usually true. There’s no reason to feel guilty about having whatever boundaries you choose to have. Others will adapt.
5. Be honest about what you need from others.
What you need is another type of boundary. It’s the minimum you’re willing to tolerate in order to maintain the relationship. It’s a minimum boundary instead of a maximum boundary.
All relationships have boundaries, but all relationships and boundaries are unique. While some of your boundaries may apply to all relationships, other boundaries will vary greatly. Your relationships fulfill a purpose in your life. The cost of having that purpose fulfilled is too great if it means sacrificing your boundaries in the process. Go over what your needs are, if you haven't done so already...
6. Don’t Agree to Anything in the Moment
I am a sucker for a person in need and will always say yes in the moment. I have learned instead to say, “I need to check my calendar, let me get back to you tomorrow.” I give myself some time away from the person who is asking me. Then I contemplate my level of availability.
Do I really have time?
Does it serve my greater purpose?
Does it bring me joy?
Is it the best use of my time?
Only after I answer those questions do I respond to that person or persons.
7. Use Technology to Assist You
Your tech can make things much worse or much better for you, it’s up to you how you use it.
Make your phone, email, and social media allies in setting your boundary. Don’t make yourself always available:
Let your phone ring to voicemail. Set it to “Do Not Disturb.” (I once set mine and forgot about it for days! It was so peaceful.) Get in the habit of only checking your email once a day and turn all your notifications off. Wait 24 hours to respond to anything, unless it’s fun and energy giving.
This is another way to train people not to expect immediate responses from you, which will give you space and time to feel your yes-or-no answers.
I am constantly learning and my boundaries change with the phases of my life. I consider this to be a work in progress. If you practice using these tools, you will have a strong, flexible boundary that will help you be in the world in a powerful way.
9 Benefits You Receive From Setting Boundaries
Once you have set some healthy boundaries of your choosing you can then enjoy these positive advantages in your life:
1. You’ll have less stress.
When you have boundaries, others stop taking advantage of your good nature. When they understand there are limits, they tend to obey and respect them. A good set of boundaries reduces the amount of stress you experience in your life.
2. You’ll receive more respect.
We all know the person that will loan you $100 and then take the bus at their expense to care for your pets, because you’ve borrowed their car for a 2,000-mile road trip. They won’t even care if you bring their car back with a cracked windshield and an empty tank. Those people aren’t respected, as they don't respect themselves enough to be able to speak up and say how they wish to be honoured and respected.
When you respect yourself, your belongings and your time by setting boundaries, others will respect you, your things and your time too.
3. You’ll be less annoyed with others.
When fewer people are making demands of your time, you won’t be so annoyed with them. When you have less stress and more respect, you’ll also be less annoyed.
4. You get to practice being assertive.
Setting boundaries is a way to be assertive. The people that need to set boundaries are often the people who need the most practice being assertive. And this is especially true to Empaths and Emotionally sensitive and reactive people.
5. You develop more respect for the boundaries of others.
You become more aware of the boundaries of others when you set boundaries. You’re more respectful when you receive respect.
6. You learn how to say “no” to others. Saying “no” is a valuable skill.
It’s not easy to deny the requests of others, but it’s important that you do especially when you are unable and if you do not wish to. You can’t accommodate everyone at every moment. There are times that a refusal is the only reasonable response. And it is up to them if they choose to accept this, if they don't, then it's not your fault and it's up to them how they take it, it shouldn't have any impact on yourself. This takes practice to become used to saying no more often...
7. You’ll have more free time.
Fewer people making demands on your time means having more time available to spend as you please. What would you do with more time?
8. Your life improves overall.
If you’re less stressed, more respected, less annoyed, more assertive, and have more free time, your life is bound to be better overall. It’s amazing what a few boundaries can do!
9. More self-respect and self-esteem for yourself.
When you stick up for yourself and fewer people are taking advantage of you, you’ll experience more self-respect and self-esteem. It’s easier to like yourself when you treat yourself well. You have the right to determine what you will and will not accept in your life. You can require others to comply with your boundaries if they want to continue being part of your life.
It’s your time, life, and attention. You can allocate them any way you please.
Grab a piece of paper or a note book and start by making a list of boundaries that you’d like to apply to your life and the people around you. Expect resistance at first but be firm. The important people in your life will comply in time.
Make setting boundaries and implementing them regularly, an important part of your life for a happier life for you...
If you struggle to set healthy boundaries for your life and with others? My Spiritual Coaching and Development mentoring sessions could be helpful to you. If you see yourself as an Empath, sensitive or a healer or therapist who wants to create healthy boundaries with others and to discover how to do this? I would be happy to be of assistance. Please message me here at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in contact and I can share how my sessions can be adapted around your needs.
I look forward to connecting with you and helping you to set healthy boundaries that you will use and implement daily for a happier life for you...
Much Love from