How to Set Healthy Boundaries
Relationships can only be healthy when both people have the space to be themselves and maintain their personal integrity. Sadly, many people find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people who do not respect boundaries and feel entitled to have their needs met regardless of the other person’s. These people most likely grew up in households that were unsafe and unstable, and where there was a constant invasion of personal boundaries.
If you can relate, chances are you have a hard time creating healthy boundaries to create the life experience you wish to have. Here are some ways you can begin to do so:
Identify Your Limits
You can’t set boundaries unless you discover where it is you personally stand. You’ll need to take a bit of time to recognize what you can and cannot tolerate. What makes you happy and what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Only until you have made these discoveries can you move on to the next steps.
Don’t Be Shy
People who have similar communication styles are easy to engage with. These people will quickly understand what your new barriers are. But people who have a different cultural background or personality may not easily understand your boundaries. With these people, it’s important to be very clear and direct.
Pay Attention to Your Feelings
People who have a hard time setting boundaries don’t often allow themselves to acknowledge their own feelings because they’re usually too busy worrying about everyone else’s.
You’ll need to start recognizing how you feel around certain people in order to know whether your new boundaries are being crossed or not. When you’re with someone, make mental notes, or even jot down in a journal how that interaction made you feel.
If, after spending time with someone, you feel anger or resentment, this is a sign that the person may be overstepping your boundaries. Reiterate to this person what your boundaries are. If they continue to disrespect you and them, you may want to consider limiting further interactions with them.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Put yourself and your needs first. This may feel strange and even somehow wrong if you’ve spent your entire life taking care of others. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and get what you need to feel happy and well. Ultimately, we can’t control how others feel, think, or behave in regards to our boundaries or other behaviors. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on what is important to us and use these values to guide us, so that we can create a life based on what we want, versus the values of others.
Speak with Someone
If you’ve spent an entire life with a sense of low self-worth, you may find setting boundaries quite difficult. In this case, it’s important to speak with a therapist that can help you discover where these feelings are coming from and how to change your thought patterns and behavior.
If you’d like to explore therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to help you on your journey toward self-care.