I often find myself wanting to people please.
And while this can be a helpful trait at times, it can also result in doing things I don’t want to do…
Or putting up with unreasonable people and situations.
At the heart of people-pleasing is the inability to express ourselves due to fear.
Perhaps this is linked to previous trauma, with avoidance of triggering situations becoming the norm.
One of the steps to overcome this tendency is learning how to set boundaries, so here are the best books on the topic.
I hope they help!
The Best Books on Boundaries
1. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend is a comprehensive guide to setting expectations in relationships.
The book is divided into four sections:
- Understanding boundaries
- How to set them
- How to maintain them
- What to do when boundaries are crossed
Cloud and Townsend provide clear and concise explanations of what boundaries are and how they can be used to improve relationships.
They offer helpful tips for defining rules, including:
- Specifying what you will and will not tolerate
- Communicating your needs effectively
- Dealing with difficult conversations
The authors also provide guidance for maintaining healthy connections in the face of challenges.
Boundaries is an important resource for anyone looking to improve their relationships.
I liked that the advice was practical and easy to follow, and the examples illustrate how boundaries can benefit both individuals and couples.
Definitely one of the more popular books on the topic, so worth a look.
2. Unfuck Your Boundaries: Build Better Relationships Through Consent, Communication, and Expressing Your Needs by Faith G. Harper
Faith Harper’s book is a guide to improving all types of relationships by establishing and communicating personal boundaries.
The author emphasizes the importance of consent in both casual and intimate relationships, and provides practical tips for expressing one’s needs effectively.
Throughout the book, Harper shares her own personal experiences and those of her clients in order to illustrate boundary-related concepts.
The first chapter focuses on the basics of consent, including definitions of affirmative consent, enthusiastic consent, and passive consent.
Harper explains that affirmative consent must be given freely and without coercion, and that it should be an ongoing conversation rather than a one-time negotiation.
She also stresses the importance of checking in with your partner throughout a sexual encounter to ensure that both parties are still enjoying themselves.
Chapter 2 discusses the various types of boundaries that can be established in relationships.
Harper identifies five categories of boundaries:
Each type can be further broken down into more specific categories.
For example, physical boundaries can include things like personal space, clothing choices, and sexual activity.
In Chapter 3, Harper provides tips for communicating your needs effectively, advising readers to be specific when stating what they want or need, and to use “I” statements to avoid placing blame on their partners.
Harper also stresses the importance of taking into account your partner’s comfort level when expressing your needs.
For example, you may not want to ask your partner to do something that makes them uncomfortable or triggers past trauma.
Chapter 4 focuses on setting healthy limits in relationships.
Harper advises readers to think about what they are willing to do (and not do) in order to maintain their own wellbeing.
She also recommends establishing time-outs or escape plans as a way of managing difficult situations.
Chapter 5 is all about practicing self-care in order to maintain healthy relationships.
Harper recommends taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally by engaging in activities that make you happy and avoiding people or situations that drain your energy.
Overall, I thought the book was an informative read.
I found myself agreeing with many of the author’s points regarding the importance of affirmative consent and communicating one’s needs honestly and effectively.
I also liked her suggestions for setting healthy limits and practicing self-care.
That said, I did feel that some aspects of the book were a little vague (e.g., the section on emotional boundaries could have used more specific examples).
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their relationships by learning how to better communicate their needs and desires.”
3. Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself by Aziz Gazipura
In this book Aziz Gazipura argues that we should stop trying to please others at the expense of our own happiness and instead learn to be ourselves unapologetically.
He makes the case that this is not only good for us emotionally and mentally, but can also lead to better relationships and opportunities.
Gazipura begins by discussing the concept of “niceness” and how it can often prevent us from being our true selves.
He explains that niceness is often driven by a fear of being judged or rejected, and that it can often lead to us suppressing our opinions or desires.
He goes on to say that while being nice may seem like the right thing to do, in reality, it often has the opposite effect.
By trying to please others, we actually end up displeasing them or disappointing them.
Gazipura then offers advice for overcoming our fear of rejection and learning to be ourselves.
He recommends starting with small steps, such as saying no when we don’t want to do something or speaking up when we have an opinion.
He also encourages us to be bolder in our interactions, by asking for what we want and being unafraid to express our feelings.
Ultimately, Gazipura believes that if we can learn to be ourselves unapologetically, we will be happier and more fulfilled.
He says that by embracing our quirks and differences, we can build stronger relationships with others and find success in all areas of our lives.
4. Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab
Set Boundaries, Find Peace is a self-help book designed to help readers discover a calmer way of living.
The book begins by discussing the different types of expectations that people can set, before providing readers with a step-by-step guide on how to set them. Finally, the book provides tips for maintaining your boundaries.
Overall, I thought the book was well-written and helpful.
The practical nature of the guide was especially useful, as it walks readers through the process of setting boundaries in a clear and concise manner.
Additionally, the author provides plenty of tips for sticking to your guns, which is important given how challenging it can be to support this behavior change long-term.
That said, there were a few areas where I thought the author could have been more specific.
For example, I would have liked to see more detail on how to deal with specific situations in which setting boundaries can be difficult (e.g., dealing with difficult family members or friends).
5. Boundaries: Where You End And I Begin: How To Recognize And Set Healthy Boundaries by Anne Katherine
Anne Katherine divides the book into five sections, each of which covers a different boundary-related topic.
- The first section, “The Discovery of Boundaries,” introduces readers to the concept and provides a general overview.
- The second section, “The Nature of Boundaries,” discusses the different types of boundaries and provides tips for how to identify them.
- The third section, “Your Boundary Life Cycle,” explains how boundaries change and develop over time.
- The fourth section, “Setting Boundaries,” teaches readers how to establish and enforce healthy personal boundaries.
- The fifth and final section, “Sustaining Boundaries,” offers advice for maintaining healthy boundaries over the long term.
Boundaries is an informative and helpful book that provides readers with the tools they need.
Anne Katherine’s writing is clear and concise. The book is well-organized, easy to read, and filled with useful tips and advice.
I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about how to protect their personal space and maintain healthier relationships.
Summary – Setting Expectations
For all the boundary-less people out there, it’s crucial to express yourself freely, without the fear of recrimination.
By taking small steps and setting the expectations of those around you, you plant the seeds of personal growth.
So no more hiding. Start with the books above to become more assertive!