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Learning to set limits

January 05, 2022

Aprendiendo a poner límites

Why is it so difficult for us to set limits? One of the reasons why it is so difficult for one to set a limit is because for it to work it is not enough to set it, you have to know and be able to maintain the limit over time. This holding can feel like quite a challenge because for people who are not used to it, it requires a lot of effort. So, in many cases, they end up giving up their space because they think: “I find it so difficult to confront that I prefer to put up with others in a space that is only mine”….

I like to talk about short- and long-term strategies because they make a difference in vital functionality. If we give up our space out of fatigue and because it requires an effort, it may seem like a good short-term strategy because I have “the benefit” of not having to make the effort to confront and set the limit I need. Now, in the long term this strategy is dysfunctional, and ends up bringing me more headaches and subsequent efforts because when we give up our living space there are always emotional and sometimes physical consequences (somatizations). 

We must also keep in mind that although it is true that the first few times it is true that we will have to make an effort (sometimes enormous) to set limits, with practice we gain experience and it becomes easier and easier, sometimes even to the point. point that becomes a new dynamic fully integrated into our interaction with others.

So as always, the first step is decisive, sustain that step and take more as well. Many times they tell me in consultations that “setting limits is not part of my personality, I don't know how to do it.” Setting limits is a behavior, and as such it can be learned, improved and integrated: really, we just need practice and get rid of some of the limiting beliefs that block us from the assertive action of saying: "I don't want this, that's it." , I don't allow you, etc.”

Why is it so difficult for us to set limits?

One of the reasons why it is so difficult for one to set a limit is because for it to work it is not enough to set it, you have to know and be able to maintain the limit over time.

This holding can feel like quite a challenge because for people who are not used to it, it requires a lot of effort.

Now, in the long term this strategy is dysfunctional, and ends up bringing me more headaches and subsequent efforts because when we give up our living space there are always emotional and sometimes physical consequences (somatizations).

Setting limits is a behavior, and as such it can be learned, improved and integrated: really, we just need practice and get rid of some of the limiting beliefs that block us from the assertive action of saying: "I don't want this, that's it." , I don't allow you, etc.”

Written by: Nathalia Sócrate, psychologist on the @m.punti team.

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