Setting Limits: The True Art of Assertiveness

Setting Limits: The True Art of Assertiveness

Last update: 12 November, 2016

Assertiveness is a fundamental skill in handling certain situations in which people take more liberties than they should. We all have to face the lack of consideration of another’s rights, and even a lack of respect. Establishing limits in a firm and calm manner is the key to not letting anyone walk over you. It is the key to getting people to respect you without disrespecting them.

One of the advantages of learning how to set limits is that, by doing so, we’re also acknowledging others’ rights. We are acknowledging our limits with other people. This means that being assertive by following this basic rule also turns us into more respectful people. 

“Daring to establish limits is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we run the risk of disappointing others.”
-Brene Brown-

Decide where your limits are

What do you consider too far? What are you willing to tolerate from other people, depending on the type of relationships you have with them? Determine what those limit are, for you as well as for others. Where they are depends on various factors. Among them are your personality, but also your values, your beliefs and your expectations in life.

It’s likely that some people will be upset by your choices, but that is not your problem. This may increase your difficulties trying to “fit in”. But if the price of fitting it is betraying yourself, you might have to ask yourself what the point is of going down that path at all.

Despite the fact that it’s important to establish clear limits, you have have to leave a bit of a margin. You have to be flexible. Everyone is not going to share in your opinions and that can give way to misunderstandings. Not everyone that crosses your lines will have bad intentions. In fact, they may even do it with the best intentions possible.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.