Boundary setting can feel scary, mean, confusing, and unloving. In the beginning, it can overwhelm you into a state of literally not wanting to set limits at all.
Don’t let this happen!
You can learn to do it. I promise, I will teach you.
This is a simple template to use to set a boundary.
APPRECIATE: begin by expressing an appreciation. This may sound like “I know you care about this, which is why you are giving your advice…” This is important because it lessens the blow to the person receiving the boundary. After all, sharing a limit is a love note, and not an attack.
BOUNDARY: here you will follow up the appreciation with stating the limit. Do it kindly and clearly. This may sound like “but we are processing this on our own and not taking suggestions.” People generally want to help, and can only do so if they know where your limit is. Don’t expect them to read your mind!
GRATITUDE: finally, share your gratitude. This goes a long way, and isn’t done nearly enough as it should be. “Thank you for trying to help, I promise to reach out to you if we need anything.”
Boundaries are not mean, selfish or unkind. When done right, they can establish trust, safety, and respect within your relationships. Without them, it becomes breeding ground for bitterness, anxiety and resentment to build.