The Art of Setting Boundaries: Empowering Women Through Therapy

Why Do Women Struggle with People-pleasing and Setting Boundaries?

Various cultural and societal norms have shaped the beliefs and behaviors of women today. Many women who are highly empathetic and attuned to the emotions of others may find it comes naturally to be responsive to the needs of others. This innate empathy is frequently combined with being raised from a young age and even rewarded for being compliant and easygoing. Traditionally, little girls are discouraged from speaking up or asserting their wants and needs, but rather instead encouraged to “be a good girl” and to “go with the flow”.

Setting healthy boundaries is essential for experiencing satisfying relationships and for one’s overall emotional well-being. If you find you often people please, struggle to cope when someone is upset with you, feel guilty saying no or disagreeing, or find you are often in the role of fixer or helper in your relationships, there’s a good chance boundary healing may be right for you. The good news is that there are ways to improve your boundaries and experience life with greater confidence and ease.

What Are Boundaries?

The easiest way to think of boundaries is that they are a system or way of living life that centers around honoring and maintaining your values and needs in relation to others. Boundaries exist on a continuum from loose, flexible, and all the way to rigid. We all have different boundaries and preferences.

Types of boundaries:

Physical Boundaries: This involves your sense of comfort and openness to certain physical touch or discussions surrounding your body.

An individual putting their hands out. Representing how asserting boundaries can be difficult. Get the support you deserve with a women's therapist in NYC.

Time boundaries: This involves how you wish to spend your time.

Emotional/mental resource boundaries: These involve how open you are to sharing your feelings and beliefs with others. It also involves how much mental space you afford for others to share and lean on you.

Relationship boundaries: This involves identifying what your role is in a relationship. Specifically, that you are not responsible for fixing or solving another person’s problems, and that you have a choice for how much time and energy you give to your relationships.

How to Reduce People Pleasing and Set Boundaries:

Use assertive communication:

The first step is to remember no one is a mind reader, so you need to articulate your boundaries and needs clearly and effectively. Keep in mind that boundaries are healthy, adjustable, and person/place specific. When using assertive language, remember to use “I-statements” and that the word no is a full sentence. You can keep it simple by saying “No, that doesn’t work for me”. And for the times when you are not sure what boundary you wish to set, you can pause and say, “I need some time to think about this” or “Let me look at my calendar and get back to you.”

Practice mindfulness:

People pleasers are gifted at denying or downplaying their emotions and needs. Mindfulness is a great way to reconnect with how you’re truly feeling. By intentionally tuning inward, you’ll create distance from your thoughts and initial impulses to people please or tend to others. Mindfulness allows you the space to remember that you are not responsible for solving everything. Through mindfulness, you’ll be challenged to let go of judgment and allow the people and the world around you to just be as they are, instead of feeling responsible or tasked to improve a situation or make things different.

Challenge your old story or belief surrounding boundaries:

An iPhone on silent mode. Representing how boundaries can include how you spend your time. Learn more mindfulness tips from a women's therapist in NYC, NY.

It’s important to acknowledge the stories you’ve developed surrounding boundaries. Maybe along the way, you learned that it’s best to be easygoing and that it’s the job of a woman, to put herself last. These beliefs are just that, beliefs, they are not universal truths or facts. Through the practice of cognitive reframing, you can begin to unlearn this way of thinking. You can deepen your understanding that boundaries are not punishing, but rather a healthy part of relationships. And while yes, setting a boundary with someone may cause them feelings of disappointment, that doesn’t mean the person cannot cope. The truth is, most people have experienced and learned to cope with disappointment and compromise.

Manage the discomfort that may arise from boundary-setting:

Often women find the hardest part of setting boundaries is coping with the discomfort, guilt, and anxiety that arises. A crucial part of boundary work is learning to tolerate the discomfort that comes with being assertive. You can practice “hanging out with your feelings” by treating yourself with loving self-compassion. You’ll want to acknowledge and validate how hard this feels and the pain you’re experiencing from setting a boundary.

It’s helpful to integrate mind-body relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathwork that are effective in tending to your feelings of anxiety. Finally, you can incorporate a comforting affirmation such as, “The world will not fall apart if this person is mad at me, I might feel bad, but I can tolerate these feelings and work through this” or “This feeling is temporary, and it will pass.” And finally, try to resist the urge to overcompensate when feeling guilty after setting a boundary.

Final Thoughts from a Women’s Therapist in NYC, NY

If you’re still struggling with boundaries, know that you’re not alone. If you’re interested in learning more about how improving your boundaries could help you live a more satisfying and peaceful life, I’d love to help you at Liz Yarock Psychotherapy. You can learn more about me here and schedule your free phone consultation here.

A woman dancing in the sunset. If you need help setting boundaries, get started with women issues therapy in NYC, NY today! As a women's therapist, I can help.

Learn More About Boundaries in Women Issue’s Therapy in NYC, NY

Sometimes even the strongest people need support to cope with life challenges. Together we can work towards creating a life that feels meaningful and fulfilling to you. Whether or not boundaries are your primary concern, Liz Yarock Psychotherapy is here to support you. If you’re interested in learning more about Women’s Therapy you can begin by reaching out to Liz Yarock Psychotherapy to schedule a complimentary phone consultation. To start, follow the steps below:

  1. Schedule a consultation here.
  2. Learn more about my approach.
  3. Begin women’s therapy and learn how to reduce people-pleasing and set boundaries!

Other Services Liz Yarock Psychotherapy Offers

Liz Yarock Psychotherapy offers a range of therapy services to address women’s well-being. From anxiety counseling and life transitions therapy to women’s issues therapy and relationship therapy. I provide tailored support using evidence-based techniques and an integrative approach. I also work with Highly sensitive persons helping those to navigate the world with more resilience and ease. Whatever your needs, I’m here to support you. Life can be overwhelming at times, but you don’t have to face these challenges alone. I’m here to help you feel more empowered and confident in all aspects of your life.

Book a consultation today!

I am happy to offer a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to help you gain a sense of who I am and my approach to therapy in order to determine if we will work well together.