When you establish healthy boundaries, you will be more self-confidence,enjoy healthier relationships and a happier, more fulfilling life!
Establish healthy boundaries today!
Boundaries are a way to help develop self control and feel safe. They can also help you control your time, efforts and emotions, when it comes to relationships with a friend, a partner or family members.
Boundaries are important to establish not only in relationships but also in families. When boundaries are established, you are more capable of being mentally and emotionally stable.
What is A Boundary?
Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that one creates to protect priorities, including time, money and level of involvement. Boundaries create a safe space for things you value.
When thinking about boundaries the easiest way to visualize it is to think of it like a property line, you have with your neighbors. Property lines form a physical boundary that one should respect. Healthy relationships should have boundaries as well, albeit not always physical. Relationship boundaries, although not as easy to define, are a way of keeping people “off of your yard,” so to speak.
Boundaries, when respected, can protect marriages and other familial relationships. When you have boundaries in place, you will see that you’re better able to clearly make your own decisions, for example.
Why Establishing Healthy Boundaries Are Important
Healthy boundaries can be put in place to help you make sure you are mentally and emotionally stable. Healthy boundaries help you take responsibility for your own actions, help resolve conflicts, and keep you from being hurt emotionally by friends and loved ones.
When healthy boundaries are in place you, a great balance can be struck between yours and your partner’s interests and priorities. By keeping your what’s most important, protected, you’ll naturally feel better about yourself, And when others respect your boundaries, it will make it easier to respect theirs.
I’ve heard it said that you’d better plan and put your priorities in place, because if you don’t, someone else will. Think about that evening that you had no plans but were were looking forward to relaxing night at home. Maybe you’d catch-up on chick flicks and eat Chinese food. Or maybe you’d just eat popcorn and ice cream for dinner and look at Pinterest.
Whatever you had “planned” was interrupted by your friend hosting a baby shower and needing some help with the food and decorations. Why did you agree? Ultimately, you agreed because you haven’t respected yourself and your time enough to put clear boundaries in place.
Isn’t it time you rank on your list of priorities? YES, it is! We can be in control of our time, if we proactively decide what our priorities are and put fences around them. You matter!
If you wanted to help with the baby shower, you could clearly state that you’re excited to pitch-in but can only do so between 12-3:00 pm this Saturday. BOOM! Not only are you helping your friend that’s having the baby, you’re also helping the friend throwing the shower AND yourself. Everyone wins!
Types of Boundaries
Boundaries can be both emotional and physical and are set in place to help each person figure out where one person ends and the other begins. They help you define what you are comfortable with and how you wish to be treated by others. Remember to apply them to any relationship you have, whether it is with a friend, partner, spouse, or even (especially) family members.
Once you establish boundaries, it is important to be clear about them. Here’s what I mean… you have planned a girl’s night out and can’t wait to finally get everyone together again! YAY! Your mom calls to tell you that they’re celebrating your brother’s birthday the same night and thinks you should attend. It is your brother, afterall. You do love your brother, and family is very important to you.
If you don’t have boundaries in place, you may end up doing what your mom wants you to do instead of what you want to do. You see, boundaries are set based on priorities, and they can help you quickly make the decision that you will go out for girl’s night and take your brother his present the next day.
Boundaries don’t take from you. They actually help you get exactly what you want.
Think of physical boundaries as a band aid and how it protects you from getting an infection or stops the bleeding. Physical boundaries include your body, your personal space and privacy. You express these boundaries with your body language, clothing, and verbal communication.
Think of your self-esteem when you are considering establishing emotional boundaries. The ability to separate your feelings from others is a great emotional boundary to set. When you are greatly upset or affected by what others may say then you have not established healthy emotional boundaries.
If you start sacrificing your dreams and hopes in order to please others, you need to checkout your emotional boundaries. Also, if you are not taking responsibility for yourself and blaming others for your problems, you need to rethink your emotional boundaries.
Healthy Vs. Unhealthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries help you have higher self-esteem and self respect for yourself. You will find that when you have established healthy boundaries you have better ownership over your own space and can separate your needs, thoughts, feelings and desires from others.
Unhealthy boundaries occur when you share too much too soon and do not express your needs and wants. When you feel responsible for other people’s happiness, you have unhealthy boundaries that need to be realigned.
The inability to say no or fear of rejection and abandonment is another unhealthy boundary .
Allowing others to make decisions for you and letting them take your power, if only for a brief moment, is a clear sign of unhealthy boundaries.
Tips for Setting Healthy Boundaries Today
Now that I have shared with you how important it is to have boundaries established in your life, let’s talk about tips for setting healthy boundaries.
- It is ok if you feel selfish, guilty or embarrassed, but that just means a boundary needs to be established.
- If you find yourself angry or resenting yourself, it is time to set a boundary.
- Remind yourself that you have the right for self-care.
- Do not let anxiety, fear, or guilt stop you from establishing a healthy boundary.
- Find your support system of people who respect your right to set boundaries.
- Eliminate toxic people in your life.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries
We can not expect our partners and families to be mind readers which is why clearly communicating your boundaries is key.
If someone crosses one of your boundaries, it’s important to communicate that to them and to do so in a firm manner, without wiggle room. Making a joke out of it or pretending it doesn’t matter only sets you up for disappointment for the future.
If you are uncomfortable saying something or offending them if you do, that could be a sign that you have an unhealthy (even toxic or abusive) relationship with this individual, whether it be a family member, partner or friend. In healthy relationships, it’s possible to have difficult conversations without fear of losing the relationship. In fact, expressing your feeling and boundaries, getting this raw, will likely lead to a closer relationship.
Communicate Your Thoughts With One Another
Once you’ve “broken the silence” so to speak, and shared your thoughts and feelings, for the first time, it will be a lot easier to do so in the future. The more we are value a relationship, the more open we should be about our boundaries.
It’s important to be respectful as you communicate your boundaries. Be considerate and understand that if someone crosses a boundary, it’s not likely because they want to offend you. It could be because they don’t value the same thing(s) assume you feel the same way.
For example, do you have that friend that always seems to be late to your get togethers? At first it wasn’t a big deal, but at this point in time, you’ve had enough. You value your time and feel like she’s not valuing it. It’s quite possible that she doesn’t place the same value on time. Or that she figures whatever she has going on beforehand is more important than being there on time for her commitment.
If you let this issue fester, it’s possible that you will become resentful and avoid planning anything with her in the future. That would make sense. However, wouldn’t it be simpler if you explain the value you place on time and that you’d appreciate that she value your time and meet at the time agreed upon. If you do this, and she continues to be tardy, maybe it’s time to look for other friends that do value you, your time and the relationship.
Whatever the outcome of your frank conversation, you will have learned something about the person. The great news is that she could clearly get the message and from then on make it a priority to be on time for your get-togethers.
I encourage you to get comfortable being uncomfortable. By that I mean, you owe it to yourself and your friend, even if it’s uncomfortable, to be honest, open and clear upfront. It’s not worth it to let yourself get frustrated, because when you do, it does show. There will be a different tone to your discussions and meetings if you feel taken advantage of and disrespected. Don’t let yourself get to that point.
Never assume or guess someone else’s feelings
When you make assumptions you are really just creating misunderstandings. You may feel like you know what someone else is feeling or thinking, but do you really? Let me remind you of a saying that perfectly puts things into perspective. “When you assume something, you make an ass out of you and me.” Ask someone how they feel. You give them the kindness to confirm your suspicion or to surprise you. Again, here is where you are learning something important about this person.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to be understood. Wouldn’t you like the same consideration? (I’m not assuming you do… :-))
Take Responsibility for your actions
Before you try to place blame on a friend or family member, take a step back and think about your own choices. You may realize that you have contributed to or even created the current problem. If that’s the case, take responsibility. This will open the door for self growth and to a stronger relationship.
Knowing what you deserve is very important for your own mental health and wellbeing. Relationships without health boundaries can be straining on both parties. You deserve to have peace in your life and joy in your heart. Life is simply too short to maintain toxic relationships.
Be kind and expect kindness in return. Don’t assume what someone feels. Ask them. Be prepared to have difficult conversations for those treasured relationships. Be clear in your communication and respectful with your delivery.
Protect your precious time and mental well-being by prioritizing with boundaries. I am cheering you on!
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