The Whispering Heart


Setting Boundaries – Step 2 Practice Assertive Communication

My wish for you is that each day is filled with peace and joy!

In last week’s e-mail, I shared with you the first step to setting healthy boundaries: Identifying Your Values. If you remember, that included: 1) Clarifying your values and priorities in your personal and professional life; 2) Aligning your boundaries with your values and vision; and 3) Identifying behaviors, tasks, or situations that are not in alignment with your values.

Today I want to share with you the next step in this journey to setting healthy boundaries: Communicating Your Boundaries

When you identify your values, that is mostly introspective. You are looking inside yourself to determine what is important to you, and whether or not those things are part of your current life. But when it’s time to communicate your boundaries, you need to express your wishes to others.

Here are some steps you can begin following today:

Practice assertive communication to express your boundaries with clarity and confidence

Here is a scenario: You have a colleague who frequently asks for your help with their tasks, even though it’s impacting your own workload and productivity. You want to set boundaries without being aggressive or passive. This works in both professional and personal situations.

Below are a series of responses:

  • Start with a positive statement: “I appreciate that we can collaborate and support each other at work.”
  • Express your feelings: “Lately, I feel a bit overwhelmed with my own tasks and deadlines.”
  • Be specific about the behavior: “I notice that I’ve been helping you quite often with your projects, and it’s been affecting my ability to meet my own deadlines.
  • State your boundaries: “I want to make sure I can do my best in my role, so I need to focus on my own responsibilities.
  • Offer an alternative: I suggest we set specific times for collaboration or seek help from others in the team, when needed.”
  • Reiterate your willingness to collaborate: “I’m still here to support you, but I also need to protect my own workload.”
  • End on a positive note: “I hope you understand where I’m coming from, and we can find a balance that works for both of us.”

Learn to say “NO” when necessary and honor your commitments

  • Understand Your Priorities: You have already determined what your priorities are, which will make it easier to determine when to say “no.”
  • Practice Self-Awareness: Pay attention to your own feelings and limits. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, it’s a sign that you may need to say “no” to additional commitments.
  • Use “I” Statements: When you need to decline a request, use “I” statements to express your decision. For example, say, “I can’t commit to that right now,” rather than making excuses or apologizing excessively. Don’t apologize for valuing your own feelings and priorities. Simply be honest and direct about your reasons for saying “no.”
  • Offer Alternatives, only if it works for you: If you can’t fulfill a request, consider offering alternatives. For example, if someone asks for your help with a project, you could say, “I can’t take on the entire project, but I can help you brainstorm ideas or provide some guidance.” This should only be used if you WANT to help in some way.
  • Reflect and Learn: After saying “no” to a request or commitment, reflect on how it felt and the impact it had on your well-being and existing commitments. Learning from these experiences can help you make better decisions in the future.

Communicate your boundaries with empathy and respect for others

  • Practice Saying “No”: Sometimes, practicing saying “no” in low-stakes situations can help build your confidence. Start with smaller requests and work your way up to more significant commitments.
  • Practice Assertiveness: Assertive communication involves expressing your needs and boundaries while respecting others. Practice assertive responses to requests to help you become more comfortable with saying “no” when necessary. As they say, practice makes perfect.

Remember, saying “no” is not a rejection of others; it’s a way to protect your time and energy so that you can fulfill your existing commitments and pursue your goals effectively. It’s a skill that takes time to develop, but with practice, you can become more comfortable and assertive in setting your boundaries.

When you continue to engage in this process, and reflect on what is important to you, you will find that everything around you begins to come into alignment. This helps create a more meaningful and purposeful life.

On a separate note, I want to remind you that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this month, I want to remind you how important it is to take care of your own health. If you haven’t gotten screened in the last year, please talk to your healthcare professional, then make an appointment for a mammogram. Early detection saves lives. I wish you good health always! You are not alone in this fight. We are in this together.

I am currently preparing for my upcoming FREE masterclass! I’ll have details coming to you soon! I am creating this masterclass explicitly for purpose-driven women and high achievers LIKE YOU who are ready to integrate your authentic self into every aspect of your life. This intimate and focused experience will guide you towards a breakthrough moment where you can fully align with your purpose, values, and authentic self. At the end of this masterclass, you’ll feel empowered to move from simply having success, to embodying success and wholeness in every area of your life.

Stay tuned for all the details. Trust me, this transformative event is one you will want to take advantage of. Let’s step into our power and purpose together. Look out for me details!

With love and hope,

Isabel Draughon

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