A boundary is a clear place where you begin and the other person ends. Setting boundaries is important for one’s mental health and well-being & means “knowing and understanding what your limits are, & knowing what you will & will not hold yourself responsible for. More generally, the consequences of not setting healthy boundaries can include stress; financial burdens; wasted time; and relationship issues, which can cause mental distress. On the other hand, setting healthy boundaries can help someone make decisions based on what is best for them.
Tips for building better boundaries and maintaining them.
You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. Identify your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits. Consider what you can tolerate and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. Those feelings help identify what your limits are.
Poor boundaries can lead to resentment, anger, and burnout. If you are feeling a high level of discomfort in a situation, it is often a cue that your boundaries may be violated. Ask yourself, what is causing that? What is it about this interaction, or the person’s expectation that is bothering me? Resentment usually “comes from being taken advantage of or not being appreciated.” It’s often a sign that we’re pushing ourselves either beyond our own limits because we feel guilty (and want to be a good daughter or wife, for instance), or someone else is imposing their expectations, views or values on us.
Since people are not mind readers, it’s important to assertively communicate with the other person when they’ve crossed a boundary. In a respectful way, let the other person know what in particular is bothersome to you and that you can work together to address it.
With others, such as those who have a different personality or cultural background, you’ll need to be more direct about your boundaries. Consider the following example: “one person feels [that] challenging someone’s opinions is a healthy way of communicating,” but to another person this feels disrespectful and tense.
HealthyBoundaries cont. Fear, guilt and self-doubt are big potential pitfalls. We might fear the other person’s response if we set and enforce our boundaries. We might feel guilty by speaking up or saying no to a family member. Many believe that they should be able to cope with a situation or say yes because they’re a good daughter or son, even though they “feel drained or taken advantage of.” We might wonder if we even deserve to have boundaries in the first place.
Make self-care a priority, which also involves giving yourself permission to put yourself first. When we do this, “our need and motivation to set boundaries become stronger. Self-care also means recognizing the importance of your feelings and honoring them. Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; they’re a sign of self-respect. So give yourself the permission to set boundaries and work to preserve them.
How you were raised along with your role in your family can become additional obstacles in setting and preserving boundaries. If you held the role of caretaker, you learned to focus on others, letting yourself be drained emotionally or physically. Ignoring your own needs might have become the norm for you.
Setting boundaries takes courage, practice and support + remember that it’s a skill you can master.
Source: psychCentral, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. & Dana Gionta
Whatever “it” means to you, saying “no” is not as easy as we may think. If someone is familiar with being guilted, ridiculed, shamed, etc for saying “no” they are more likely to say “yes” to requests even if it causes them personal suffering. Think about times you’ve said “no” to friends, family, partner, co-workers, boss, etc., and how their response influenced you to either maintain your “no” position or change to “yes”
STRUGGLING WITH BOUNDARIES??
“how do I know I know if I’m struggling with them”
“why do you think I’m struggling with them?”
Sometimes before we change, noticing our struggles and getting curious about how we wound up here can be helpful.
When you’re young, you end up modeling the behavior of your caregivers unless you choose something different, so it’s helpful to look and what was modeled for you so you can discover how it’s impacted you.
Were your caregivers able to have healthy conversations with each other about their needs or did they end up in screaming matches around you?
If you said you didn’t want to hang out with this friend, did your parents support that and listen to you? Or did they say you had to be friends with this person?
If you had a question to something, did they often say things like “because I said so?” Or did they explain things when they could.
No caregivers and adults are perfect at modeling this. These questions are not meant to blame or shame caregivers. It’s simply an invitation for you to get curious…. remember these adults all had caregivers too whom they learned things from as well.
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