Imagine having personal boundaries that are healthy and in place. You decide how to use your time and resources, and you feel valued as a person. You have boundaries that keep people close in this life rather than having them stay away as walls do. As a result, you find yourself having control of your life rather than feeling drained or exhausted.
How do you set and maintain Personal Boundaries?
First, you need to decide that boundaries are essential and acceptable for you. It is not selfish to have them - it is necessary for everyone's health and well being. They are a sign of maturity and self-respect. The opposite is being used and manipulated by other people - or even worse, allowing them to abuse you
Decide NOW that you will no longer allow others to violate your boundaries. It takes guts at the start to accept that change is necessary for your personal growth, but if it has reached this stage, then it needs confronting head-on before improvements can be made.
You need to decide how you would like your world to work and then - do it!
Think about the problems you have been faced with before and make a list of things you want to change.
- What boundaries do you want to set?
- Where is this going to be implemented?
- What will the consequences be if you do not set these boundaries?
What's your style of communication? Slow and steady or fast and direct?
Figure out what works best for each situation. For example, will a specific method make you feel uncomfortable, cause defensiveness or anger on the other person's part? Planning things out beforehand will help prevent conflicts later on and make it easier to stick to your guns when someone else acts like your boss.
For some people, creating specific rules that need to be adhered to may seem counterintuitive, but making them understandable means fewer questions can be asked (less room for arguing). Also, by showing rather than telling that they are rules, there will be less room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
These boundaries may include things like:
- Personal/private information about yourself that you do not want to share with others,
- What is and isn't acceptable in terms of physical contact (hugs, holding hands, etc.),
- How much time spent together regularly and the type of activities you do together (do you want someone to help plan your social calendar?)
Being clear about what these boundaries are and sticking by them means growing some serious backbone.
Once you compile your list, share it. Of course, that doesn't mean you should post it on your Facebook profile for the world to see, but explain why you have chosen these limits and boundaries.
The point is, now that you know what you want to change, take action!
Don't let fear keep you from getting started.
If it helps, share your list with another friend who can help support and encourage you in achieving these goals!
Ensure every boundary on your list is something that YOU feel strongly about and want to achieve to bring peace into your life.
Establishing healthy boundaries can take time, but remember, you are likely fighting years-long habits. The good news is that you can reverse all of this in a way that will last.
The first step to establishing healthy boundaries is awareness:
As your awareness grows, so will your compassion for yourself and others. Unfortunately, people struggle with setting healthy personal limits because they are not aware of how their actions affect others.
The more you practice consciously creating boundaries, the easier it will become. However, to fully develop this ability, you need to practice it often.
There are several easy ways you can practice boundaries daily:
1) Do not put anyone's needs before your own. This is the most critical step because if we do not take care of ourselves, no one else will either (notice I did not say "no one will want" to). We all give too much of ourselves every day, and this must stop! If you don't set up good habits now, there is no hope for the future.
2) Pay attention when someone says something that may make you uncomfortable or think about what they are asking and whether it's a boundary violation: "Are people being honest with me? Are they interested in my feelings? Are they respecting my time?"
3) Notice when others are crossing your boundaries, then stop them politely. Say 'no,' but be sure to include an explanation for your refusal if you can.
If someone asks you to do something and you know it will take away from time with family, children, or other commitments, let them know. This is not selfish!
It's difficult to change how we think, but it can be even more challenging when other people don't respect our new boundaries. Acknowledge those who are supportive of your work and let them know that they deserve your appreciation!
The grateful person will also have a much easier time setting up and sticking to healthy personal boundaries because he realizes how much more he has than others - he does not take his blessings for granted.
Keep in mind the importance of having some flexibility as things may not go exactly according to plan. This requires you to be aware that it may result in conflict or emotional upheaval when your boundaries are crossed.
Ask people for what you want/need (e.g., "I am feeling overwhelmed" or "please stop doing that.").
Continue using positive body language and assertiveness skills until your request is met or respected, whilst being open-minded about possible alternatives that are comfortable for everyone involved.
Change any negative assumptions (you have the right to be upset if someone crosses your boundaries)
& Stay Calm.
It's important to understand what your boundaries are and why you have them in the first place. If someone crosses these boundaries, it can result in many emotional upheavals, which is never something anyone wants or needs on their plate - so set up some healthy personal limits with respect for others as well!
Setting boundaries in our life is not easy, but be courageous while doing so - it's your life, and it's others responsibility to respect them, as much as yours is to set them in the first place!