With the holidays right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to start preparing for spending time with your family. For many of us HSPs, they’re usually the ones who’ve made us feel like our sensitivities are a weakness. Or they’re something to be ashamed of. And that couldn’t be further from the truth! If you’re tired of their BS, learn to set boundaries. They’re like an invisible armor you wear to help protect your energy.

Setting boundaries to keep the peace

That’s why it’s important to have a plan for creating boundaries so you’re ready for whatever happens. While this can seem impossible to do, especially if you’re a highly sensitive person, it’s one of the most critical things you can do for yourself. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and enjoy the holidays more!

It was hard for me to realize that my family is one of the main reasons I didn’t have any boundaries. The way they treated me as a child, taught me to play small and hide who I am. I became a people pleaser because that’s how I learned to feel safer in my own home.

On my journey of self-discovery, I learned how to create clear boundaries with those I’m closest to. When you establish boundaries, you’re identifying how you want other people to treat you. It’s not easy to do and you’ll get one of two responses. They’ll be OK with it and change how they do things or they won’t respect them.

5 simple steps to help you succeed

If you’re ready to keep the peace during the holidays, let these tips help you get started:

  1. Be open and honest about your feelings. Take time before you have the conversation to gather your thoughts. Be prepared and keep your emotions calm. If things start to escalate, end the conversation. Remember you can’t control how they’ll react, only how you respond. And you definitely don’t want to get into position where you’re trying to convince them you’re right and they’re wrong. You’ll lose every time!
  2. Ask questions instead of assuming. Assumptions about how someone else feels creates misunderstanding and conflict. The goal is to make sure they understand what you’re saying and they’re OK (or not) with it. Try not to over explain because if they don’t get it, talking more isn’t going to make a difference.
  3. Follow through on what you say. If someone isn’t respecting the boundary you’ve set, calmly remind them of how you want to be treated. And if they cross your boundary, you’re the one who’s allowing it to happen. It’s up to you to set and enforce your boundaries. This isn’t always easy to do, but if you stay strong and committed, they’ll eventually get that you mean business.
  4. Know when it’s time to let go. When someone continues disrespecting your boundaries, take a step back from the relationship. Don’t blame them for their actions, consider looking at the choices you’ve made. If they don’t respect your boundaries, that’s their choice. How you respond to it is yours!
  5. Choose peace instead of being right. While it can feel like we need to stand up for ourselves in certain family situations, choose peace instead. That means taking at least 90 seconds to calm your nervous system so you can respond from a place of calm instead of emotion.

Most people will be OK with the boundaries you set when you’re open and honest, don’t assume anything, and do what you say you’re going to do. For those who aren’t OK, ask yourself is it time to let go? 

Thriving as a highly sensitive person

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