Boundaries are important when it comes to having healthy relationships. They are how we protect ourselves emotionally and mentally in our relationships with friends, family, and even co-workers. Often, when we don’t have boundaries put in place, we open the door for being hurt or taken advantage of.
Having good boundaries is a sign of emotional health. It means that we are in-tune with our feelings and able to discern when we are being pushed beyond where we are comfortable.
But setting boundaries can be a scary thing. We can be fearful that we can hurt others with our boundaries or that people will not be receptive to them. When you do so though, it gives you freedom in being able to devote your time and energy where you want. It allows you to break the feeling of responsibility of depleting yourself for something that doesn’t align with your values.
Ways to set boundaries:
1. Practice self-awareness.
Being aware of your feelings is a great starting block in creating boundaries. Decipher how you feel in certain situations and access what would make you feel more comfortable. From there, you will have a better idea of what kind of boundaries to put in place, whether situational or relational.
2. Say no.
We often feel like we have to bend over backward for others. What happens when we do that is we exhaust ourselves and can become bitter when other people don’t do the same. Instead, allow yourself to say no if there is something you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. The people around you will learn to either respect those boundaries you created or remove themselves from the equation.
3. Don’t feel guilty or responsible for how others respond to your boundaries.
You know yourself better than anyone. When you say no and someone doesn’t respond well, don’t take that on as your responsibility. It is not your fault how someone chooses to respond to the parameters you set up for your own health. When you respectfully communicate your boundaries, and model that for others, you are showing that you value your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Strong boundaries reflect a strong identity. This is particularly important in our relationships with others as it prevents us from relying on others for our happiness and worth. Being able to recognize where we need to set up boundaries allows us to be better friends, spouses, and workers.