If you often are made uncomfortable by others’ treatment of you, it may be time to reset these boundaries to a more secure level. Weak boundaries leave you vulnerable and likely to be taken for granted or even damaged by others. On the other hand, a healthy self-respect will produce boundaries which show you deserve to be treated well. They also will protect you from exploitative relationships and help you avoid getting too close to people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

How to Reset Your Boundaries

Set aside some time to write down the ways in which each important person in your life leaves you feeling unhappy or hurt. Once you have clearly identified the issues, consider what the other person’s motivation might be.

Next, decide on specific action you can take. In this case, you may decide to say “Please don’t derail my efforts to give up smoking or remind me how many times I’ve failed.” You could add a positive request, such as “I’d really appreciate your help to succeed this time.”

Remember the importance of saying “no” to unreasonable requests, and reasonable ones from time to time, if they conflict with your plans. Challenge all insults that are masked as humor. As you learn to extend your boundaries, try to adapt your behavior so you are not stepping over other people’s. This may take an extra effort because our habits can go unnoticed, but aim to stop making digs at people, or using humor as a weapon to put others down.