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Assertive Kindness: How to Set Boundaries with Grace and Confidence [Examples]

Updated: May 1

Boundaries for Relationships | Los Angeles Therapist Elevate Mental Health in Ventura County California

Setting boundaries is essential for maintaining healthy relationships, but it can be challenging to assert our needs while still being considerate of others' feelings. Fortunately, there are ways to set boundaries with kindness and respect. Here are some specific examples of boundaries and phrases you can use to communicate them effectively:

1. Time Boundaries:

Example: A friend invites you to a last-minute event.

Phrase: "Thank you for thinking of me, but I am not able to attend."

2. Personal Space Boundaries:

Example: A colleague leans in too close during a conversation.

Phrase: "I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I prefer a bit more space." [And take a step or two back. Use physical objects like a desk to help provide space.]

3. Emotional Boundaries:

Example: A family member asks probing questions about your personal life.

Phrase: "I value our relationship, but I prefer to keep some things private."

4. Financial Boundaries:

Example: A sibling asks for a loan.

Phrase: "I wish I could help, but I'm don't lend money."

5. Digital Boundaries:

Example: A friend tags you in numerous social media posts.

Phrase: "I enjoy seeing your updates, but I'd prefer not to be tagged in posts for now."

6. Work Boundaries:

Example: A coworker asks for assistance with a project outside of work hours.

Phrase: "I appreciate your dedication, but I'm not available outside of my scheduled hours."

7. Social Boundaries:

Example: Invited to attend a gathering that you're not interested in.

Phrase: "I'm grateful for the invitation, but I won't be able to make it."

Remember, setting boundaries is not about being rude or selfish. It's about taking care of yourself and maintaining healthy relationships. Use "I" statements to express your needs and feelings without blaming or criticizing the other person. Be firm yet compassionate in your communication, and don't be afraid to reinforce your boundaries if they are not respected. By setting boundaries with assertive kindness, you can foster mutual respect and understanding in your relationships while prioritizing your own well-being.

How Therapy Can Help

Therapy offers a supportive environment for individuals to explore and implement new boundary-setting skills in their lives. Through therapy, individuals can gain insight into underlying issues, develop effective communication strategies, and practice assertiveness techniques. Therapists provide guidance, validation, and encouragement as clients navigate challenges and build healthier relationships with themselves and others. With therapy's help, individuals can strengthen their sense of self-worth, set clear boundaries, and cultivate more fulfilling connections in their personal and professional lives.

If you're in the Los Angeles, Ventura County, Santa Barbara or surrounding areas, we would be happy to get you connected with one of our licensed therapists. If you are outside of California then consider searching "therapist near me" to guide you to an experienced therapist experience in trauma work.

Your Team at Elevate Mental Health


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