4 Tips About Healthy Boundaries
Anyone having trouble with some of the changes they are making?
Trying to create more time for happiness but not everyone is cooperating?
4 Tips About Healthy Boundaries
You aren’t the only person who may be struggling with these. Many of us have never learned what healthy boundaries are for a variety of reasons and now that we are adults it’s hard to know when and how to set them. Here are a few tips you can follow to start having boundaries that are healthy so you can have more control in your own life.
- Check Yourself. Look inside and be honest. What are areas of your life where you are uncomfortable, sad, angry etc. Is it around certain people? Is it when people say or do certain things? When you are starting to feel that discomfort in your body it’s a good time to check in and re-examine whatever is happening for you and set a boundary or make a change. It’s OK to give people you know parameters.
- Be direct/Clear. This is easier said than done for a lot of us. At first you may not even know exactly what is bothering you. Do your best at putting your feelings into words and sharing. The cool thing about life is that you can change your mind and change your boundaries as you get more comfortable within yourself.
When you set a boundary be very clear with without anger. Don’t try to overly explain or justify, don’t argue. Set it firmly and respectfully using I statements. If the other person is not happy with the boundary that is their problem, and you can’t try to fix it just to make them happy. MOst people are not happy when they are made to adhere to new boundaries but it will either strengthen the relationship or show you that the relationship was never a good one to begin with and may be better if you stop trying.
When you start setting boundaries you will probably feel selfish or angry, do it anyway. Remind yourself that you are the right to take care of yourself. Don’t let self esteem or anxiety keep you from doing it. It's about taking care of you.
- Give yourself permission to feel. All too often self doubt, fear and guilt keep us from enforcing boundaries. Too many say yes when they want to say no to a friend, spouse or family member because they don’t want to hurt their feelings but it ends up making things worse for both parties. Boundaries are a sign of respect for someone else. If you tell someone an expectation and they keep doing it then they are not being respectful of you and your feelings. You shouldn’t feel drained from being around someone every encounter, either set up that boundary or try to spend more time away from them.
- Being an adult means caring for yourself. Were you raised to learn about healthy boundaries? Did your family allow you to feel heard? Are you a caretaker that cares for everyone else but put themselves last or ignores their feelings or doesn’t feel that all of their efforts are appreciated or reciprocated? Time to set a boundary. .
As you are learning boundaries you may swing in one direction or the other. It doesn't matter. Just start verbalizing how you are feeling and how you want to be treated. As time goes on you will have a better idea of what you need and want from different people in your life.
People will test your boundaries. Do not apologize for your boundary. Stand firm, clear and respectful. They may not like it, but that’s on them. It’s not your job to make everyone like you.
I have had a few clients that were nervous about setting and enforcing boundaries but did it anyway. Most people they set boundaries were not happy with them, one even was told they wouldn’t talk to them anymore! The interesting thing is that when they stuck to them they were more respected and relationships actually improved (yes, even the one who threatened not to speak to them anymore.) One of my clients actually realized after setting her boundary that the relationship was really just too toxic and decided to end the friendship and felt major relief! It can be scary but it is needed to be healthy! We aren’t meant to be friends with everyone!