For most people, identifying and setting boundaries does not come easily. That being said, learning about boundaries isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a bit of self reflection and being assertive. But first, let’s define boundaries. Boundaries are certain limits that we set in order to protect our energy, time, and emotional and physical wellbeing. Everyone has a different set of boundaries and they differentiate from person to person. Many of us become people-pleasers, and focus on being nice and meeting others’ expectations. We often lose our sense of self when we indulge in pleasing people. So here are eleven healthy boundaries that you should set in your day to day life:
1. Identify Your Boundaries
You need to really be clear about what boundaries you need to set. Tired of your boss assigning you work on late Friday evenings? Or does your mother have a habit of calling you and venting about her life? If you are not clear about your boundaries, you will not be able to inform others of your expectations. You need to spend some time figuring out what’s needed before you decide to take action.
2. Understand What A Boundary Means To You
You need to have motivation to set up those boundaries. If you don’t have compelling enough reasons for setting boundaries, why set boundaries that aren’t in your comfort zone?
3. Be Upfront And Straightforward
Do not be purposefully vague or cryptic as a way to avoid conflict as the most successful and kind way to set boundaries by being direct about them.
4. Don’t Feel The Need To Apologize
This type of behavior undermines your sense of authority and gives someone the impression you are doing something wrong.
5. Use The Right Tone
Do not get unnecessarily angry and do not try to set boundaries while you are in the middle of arguing with someone. If your message needs to be heard, you need to be calm and polite and avoid yelling at them or using sarcasm or a condescending tone while speaking to them.
6. Have Strict Boundaries
It is always easier to loosen up strict boundaries than it is to tighten up loose boundaries. This is a mistake that is so commonly made and should be avoided while setting them up. When you start with a new job or meet a new friend, you are likely to be more agreeable and over-extend yourself to make a good impression.
7. Address Violations To Your Boundaries Early On
Small problems can be easier to handle. Do not wait until someone has broken your boundaries ten times before you decide to speak up. It isn’t fair for you to assume people are in touch with your boundaries unless you have explained them in detail. It isn’t fair to change your boundaries rules either or abruptly decide to go no contact with someone close.
8. Do Not Make Things Personal
As difficult as it may be, it’s important to not make things too personal. We understand that there may be that one friend who only ever reaches out to you for emotional comfort or that other friend who keeps borrowing cash off you each week and takes months to pay it back. All of these things can seem pretty personal, but you need to keep in mind that this person may still be your friend and it’s a good idea to set boundaries without cutting off ties.
9. Keep A Support System
Setting boundaries can be pretty tough. It brings up self-doubt, a lot of questions, and uncomfortable feelings. Having a good support system is invaluable when you feel like you are doing something difficult. Family members, friends, a 12-step-group and even a therapist can provide the support you need and makes setting boundaries easier.
10. Trust Your Gut Instincts
Make sure to take time out, take a deep breath and focus on yourself. You need to pay attention to what exactly it is that you are feeling and what your gut may be telling you. If something feels wrong, you need to make a change. While trusting your gut instincts is something that needs to be done, you need to also think things through on a mental level.
11. Be Assertive About Your Boundaries
If someone is setting boundaries and being assertive, it may feel firm but it is kind to others. If someone is pushing in too aggressively, it may feel harsh and punishing to the others. Assertive language is nonnegotiable and clear and does not blame or threaten the recipient. Be assertive by using statements like “I feel” or “I need”.
Keeping all of these things in mind is important if you are looking to set strong boundaries. While it may not be the easiest thing to do, it’s important that you do this even if it’s simply for self-preservation. Do let us know all of your thoughts on this article in the comment section below.