The best phrases for setting boundaries we’ve learned in 2022

bChallenging nearly all aspects of our physical, mental health and daily routines, the pandemic has continually shed light on the important role that personal boundaries play. That’s why at Well+Good, we’ve sought out the expert insights of therapists and psychologists over the past few years to tackle the topic across multiple facets—from work motivation and family. family, to friendships and dating, to socializing, to finances and to holiday stress.

But in 2022, we’ve taken the boundary conversation to the next level, delving into how mental health professionals really set boundaries in their own lives and discovering unique situations can make boundaries especially important—or difficult to enforce (we’re looking at you, interested people). In our many discussions with experts, we’ve picked out clever phrases and methods for setting boundaries that make doing so much easier.

Whether you’re someone who regularly sets boundaries or you’re new to all boundaries, read on for the top phrases and techniques for setting healthy (but not too rigid) boundaries that we I learned in 2022. Then pocket them all to start 2023 in line with your personal values.

1. To set boundaries around social media in a relationship

Not everyone in relationships needs to set boundaries around social media. But if the time spent scrolling by you or your partner becomes a source of stress, distrust, or distraction in your partnership, chances are you’ll benefit from doing so. .

According to psychologist Elizabeth Fedrick, PhD, LPC, it’s helpful to start a conversation about social media boundaries with an “I” statement that describes your stance, such as, “I feel trapped. hurt to see you _________ on social media. Are you open to talking through this? or “I’m struggling with some of the things you’ve posted on social media. Are you willing to discover a compromise on this? These boundary-setting phrases help signal to your partner that you’re not satisfied with the status quo—without getting them into a conversation they’re not ready to have.

2. To manage boundaries like an empath

Empathy (aka being able to feel and relate to other people’s emotions) can create a real boundary conundrum. Setting up can be more important (because you’re likely to experience empathy burnout) but also harder to set up (because you tend to bear the weight of others’ feelings). That’s why, in 2022, we chatted with psychologists to find out how empaths, in particular, can set the boundaries they so desperately need.

Clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD, shares some key strategies to follow: Spend time alone each day (yes, really) and reduce the responsibility of “fixing.” everyone you connect with or cuddle with.

To maintain prior boundaries, you could say to a friend who contacted you during your alone time: “I can certainly arrange a time to talk to you in an hour after I have a chance to rest and eat a little. ,” Dr. Manly previously told Well + Good. And to enforce the second, you can say to someone seeking help: “I am here to listen and support you. And after we talk, I’ll give you some additional resources,” suggests Dr. Manly. At that point, you can share the name of the therapist or support group as a way to delegate the need for support.

3. To navigate someone across uncharted boundaries

It’s easy to become defensive whenever someone violates one of your personal boundaries—but before making accusations, take a moment to find out if crossing the line whether it is intentional or not. Often, we “go out” and start attacking someone who was never meant to get over it, self-healing advocate Yasmine Cheyenne previously told Well+Good. For example, if someone asks you to work for free on a project, the defensive response might be: “Don’t they know I deserve to be paid?” Meanwhile, a more effective tactic would be to simply clarify that line because chances are, the person on the other end of the line isn’t aware of it.

“As we approach the word boundary [a place of calm], we don’t accuse people or blame them for things they can’t know, and we remind ourselves that we can enforce our boundaries any time we need to,” Cheyenne said. Do you suggest an alternative to the above? Simply say, “Hey, I appreciate you thinking of me, but I only accept paid opportunities at this point.” This phrase allows you to respect your boundaries while leaving open the possibility of genuine cooperation with the person on the other end of the line.

4. For dealing with crimes around work boundaries

If 2021 brings the increasingly blurred line between work and home for many, 2022 offers a complete rebuttal of that premise — to the point where some call the new (established) boundary their “silent renunciation”. As if to say that setting clear boundaries around the work you’re doing (and not taking extra work for free) is a form of give up.

For many workplace professionals, the “quietly quit” discourse is meant to highlight just how deeply ingrained our hustle mentality really is and how often we struggle, with as a culture, in acknowledging that it’s okay. do less. In that vein, burnout expert Erayna Sargent shared with us a particularly powerful phrase worth remembering for avoiding guilt around work boundaries: “Rest and boundaries are not production. Your product is earned but the tool that helps you grow.”

If you find yourself having a hard time maintaining work boundaries, Sargent also recommends asking yourself some questions—namely, “If not now, when?” and “What would you say to your BFF [if they were in your shoes]?” The first thing that may draw your attention to the fact that you will never arrive at a time when everything be done. So why not embrace a boundary now? And the latter can help you gain some perspective. Chances are, you would encourage a friend to maintain their work boundaries if they were in your situation—so why not do the same for yourself?

5. To better maintain any personal boundaries

Be realistic: Boundaries only work if you actually maintain them. And sometimes, the only person to blame for one of your boundaries being broken is…you. If you are the biggest offender of your own boundaries, you should be more aware of your boundaries when setting them, and always use statements (rather than questions) when setting boundaries. Make sure you don’t open up your boundaries to arguments.

A few examples: Instead of just telling someone you can help them move into a new apartment without expressing a need to leave by a certain time, you can be more specific by saying: “I can help you move house for three hours on Sunday morning, but I have plans for the afternoon.” And instead of setting a boundary around derogatory “jokes” as a question—like, “Can you stop making jokes about my looks?”—you can turn it into one. emphasizing “me” by simply saying, “I’m uncomfortable when you make jokes about my appearance,” integrative psychotherapist Abby Rawlinson, MBACP, previously told Well+ Good. These boundary-setting phrases have less wiggle room, which makes them more likely to stick.


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