Setting personal boundaries as a highly sensitive person is probably one of the more difficult things that we experience.
I believe it is partly because we are so aware of the emotions we invoke in other people and how we make them feel. That may make it hard for us to say no and not be accommodating.
If we don’t have personal boundaries, that can really drain us, and make us feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. Ultimately, it can make us feel resentful and we can walk around with a lot of suppressed anger.
In this post, I want to share with you 3 easy and practical things that you can start doing right now to help you set personal boundaries as a highly sensitive person.
Why are setting boundaries difficult for HSPs?
We teach people how to treat us and the way that you view yourself energetically, tells other people how they can treat you.
If you have a limited self-view, You’re not very self-aware in terms of your own needs and wants it becomes very difficult for you to uphold any kind of boundary.
Maybe you never learnt how to set boundaries. Growing up, having boundaries was not something that was featured in our house.
Watch Tips for setting personal boundaries as a highly sensitive person on my Youtube channel.
So, as an adult, you have to take responsibility for your own well-being and teach yourself how to begin to set boundaries because it is a skill.
Because HSPs usually try and avoid conflict and confrontations we are hesitant to say no, to put our foot down, or to not do what people want even if it doesn’t suit us.
Other times, you might feel guilty if you uphold your boundaries. You may think that you are making life difficult for the other person or that you should actually help out because there’s no reason why you can’t.
It’s necessary for us to reframe the way we see how responsible we are for other people.
You are not responsible for someone else’s well-being, the only thing that you are responsible for is how you are going to show up in the world.
What happens when you don’t uphold your personal boundaries?
When our boundaries are violated we end up feeling like we don’t have any control in our lives.
We feel as if we are just subjected to everything that is happening around us and that we have no say in what is happening.
Setting personal boundaries as an HSP is something that you continuously work on.
You get in touch with your own needs, you get in touch with the things that are important to you, and from that space you are able to adjust your boundaries.
It follows then that beginning to work with setting and upholding your personal boundaries, has to start with self-awareness. You need to know who you are and what you need..
Starting to create personal boundaries as a highly sensitive person
Here are three practical tips that I want to share with you, that you can use right now.
They are built around the phases of self-awareness because in order to have boundaries you need to know what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. We really need that self-awareness to allow us to show up in the way that we want to.
Tip 1: Explore what you want
Make a list of all the things you want in your life when it comes to your boundaries. The things that you’ll accept, the way you want people to treat you, and the things you are prepared to do.
Take a couple of days on creating this list and don’t limit yourself with the wants and needs to put on the list.
So often as highly sensitive people, our attention is focused on the needs of the people in our lives and in the process we don’t always pay attention to what is important for us.
The problem with doing that, is you start to feel resentful because subconsciously you feel as if you don’t have a say in your own life.
That’s why it’s helpful to identify what you want and what you will accept from others.
Explore what your values are and what is important for you, and then find ways in which you can begin to honor your values.
At the end of the week, take your list and reflect back over the week and about the times where your boundaries were set but you didn’t uphold them. In this way you begin to slowly train yourself to not only have personal boundaries but keep them!
Tip2: Tune into your body
Your body might respond in alarm, or go into fight or flight mode when the amygdala gets activated before you even realize something is happening. As HSP’s our amygdala gets activated excessively because of the nature of our nervous system.
You might find your heart beating faster, you could experience a sinking feeling or a feeling of heaviness.
Every person has their own signals, and so it will serve you to begin to pay attention to what responses, feelings, and emotions you have in the body.
Watch out though that you don’t get sucked into the feelings, as that is not very helpful. What you want to do instead, is to pay attention to the messages your feelings are sending you so that you can then act on them instead of being reactive.
Tip 3: Use you voice
Using your voice and speaking up for yourself is foundational to having personal boundaries as a highly sensitive person.
Expressing yourself when you agree with something may feel scary, especially when you usually avoid confrontation, so take baby steps.
If, during a conversation with your partner, something that they say makes you feel dismissed then tell them that.
Don’t be quiet and invalidate your own feelings.
Rather open the conversation and come from a place of being open and honest.
Express what your feelings are about being dismissed or not listened to in the way that you really would appreciate.
Tell others if you are feeling overstimulated and there is something that they can do to help you. If the television is too loud in the room next door, or your colleague is very loud on the phone next to you, speak up!
Know your self-worth
Setting personal boundaries and upholding them becomes easy when you honor your self-worth and understand your needs and your wants.