Creating Healthy Boundaries: Five Simple Steps to Embrace in Your Life
The moment we open our eyes, we deal with the chaos of the world—the deadlines, the chores, the relationships—and sometimes, we get so caught up in the middle of it all that we begin to lose ourselves. While you need to deal with life as it is, you also need to protect yourself from things or people that could affect you physically and emotionally. This is when you set healthy boundaries.
1. Determine your boundaries. A boundary can mean many things to different people, so you should make your boundaries firm and concrete before you communicate them with others. Visualize your boundaries and try to write them down. This will give you better clarity on where you want to draw the line at work, with friends or even your personal relationships. If you have a hard time doing this yourself, you can ask help from a relational therapist.
2. Know your comfort zone. Try drawing a large circle and write down everything that makes you feel comfortable, secure, and stress-free. It could be finishing all your to-dos at the end of your workday, a hug from your partner, spending your free time alone or simply saying no to negative energy. By knowing what you’re comfortable with, it would make it easier to set boundaries on things and people that destroy that comfort zone. This is most likely an activity that a relational therapist will ask you to do so don’t hesitate to ask for help with this activity and reach out to your relational therapist.
3. Communicate your boundaries politely. Unless you share your boundaries with other people, they have no way of knowing it, and that’s why you might end up being disappointed most of the time. If you’re afraid of offending someone, remember the words of social psychology researcher Brene Brown: “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” Setting boundaries doesn’t mean being rude. For instance, if you’re meeting with someone, be clear that you only have an hour for that meeting because you have other commitments after. This will let the other person know of your time boundary, so they can adjust their time and make sure to not be late.
4. Be firm with your boundaries. You can’t expect people to learn about your boundaries and follow them the first time. Some will even try to overstep them thinking that it’s okay since you’re close or maybe, they’d do it and then say it was just a joke. This is why you need to be firm with your boundaries by reminding people, especially when they tend to overstep multiple times. Remember that you are protecting your self-esteem here and it’s never bad to put yourself first.
5. Learn how to say no. This is one of the hardest things to do, isn’t it? We are so afraid to say no because of guilt and because we don’t want people to think we’re difficult. But sometimes, saying yes to everything also takes a toll on you and your self-esteem. So, would you rather feel emotionally healthy or suffer to please others? Learning to say “no” to things that you’re not comfortable with is a form of self-love, so learn to practice it.
We all deal with different struggles in our lives, but we should never let anyone get in the way of us taking care of ourselves. So, if you’re struggling in any way, learn to set and practice following your boundaries and ask for help from a relational therapist if you need to. Learn more about setting boundaries, how a relational therapist can help you, and our many other services by contacting The Holding Space.