The word “boundaries” comes with a negative connotation with my family and friends, so it’s not surprise that we have none….whatsoever. For a long time I didn’t truly know what boundaries were and honestly I’m still not 100% on the concept. What I do know is that boundaries aren’t for the other person, they’re for you and they’re essential for letting people know how you expect to be treated.
1. Find out exactly why you need them
Like I said I’m not 100% on the concept of boundaries and how to implement them, so I’m constantly doing research. I came across a quote from a marriage and family therapist in healthline’s article that stated, “Boundaries give a sense of agency over one’s physical space, body, and feelings…We all have limits, and boundaries communicate that line.” That stuck with me and made it very clear why I need to invest the time in protecting my emotional and personal space. Most of the time — no all of the time — I need to feel as though I am in control of my life, and boundaries allow me to feel that. They allow me to know that I am serious about what I allow to take up time and space in my life, and that gives me the motivation to maintain them.
2. Stand on your values
A recurring theme that I see when reading about boundaries is being very aware of what you value and what you believe in. When you’re aware of what’s important to you, you won’t allow anyone to come in between that. If you value your alone time then you won’t allow anyone to blow your phone up with calls and texts for that one hour to yourself. If you value your romantic relationship you won’t allow people’s negative thoughts or opinions invade your happiness, especially if it isn’t warranted. If you value honesty you won’t allow people to constantly lie to you. Once you stand on what you value you won’t let anyone or anything jeopardize that.
3. Strengthen your self-awareness
Many times when you realize you need to set personal boundaries it’s because you constantly find yourself in situations that drain you. You find it hard to stand up in situations because you don’t want to deal with confrontation, you say yes to everything because you don’t want to upset anyone, or you take everything personally. These are all reasons why you need to become self-aware and prevent yourself from being put in these kinds of situations. When you feel yourself being pulled beyond your limits or drained from doing everything for everyone remember that feeling and what caused it then create a boundary to prevent it.
4. Be Simple and Direct
Setting boundaries for the people you care about is naturally going to be uncomfortable, especially if you’re like me and constantly try to appease everybody. Nonetheless, this is too important to be swept under the rug and tip-toed around, so get the previous steps completed and prepare yourself to vocalize your feelings. When doing this make sure to keep a neutral tone, keep your statements simple, and be very direct in what you’re saying. If someone is speaking to you aggressively simply say, “I do not appreciate you yelling at me and if you continue I will have to remove myself.” If you don’t want to take on an extra task, “This is very important to me, but I have to decline due to a previous commitment.” When you are setting boundaries you are not obligated to over-explain yourself or debate with anyone. Always be gracious but remain firm in your stance.
5. Do everything in love
This is one of my mom’s favorite things to say, and she truly believes in doing everything in love. Everything about setting boundaries is challenging for someone who’s used to doing everything for everyone and putting themselves on the back burner to appease everyone else, but it doesn’t have to be malicious. When you keep love at the forefront of everything you do nothing will ever be received negatively and if it is you’ll know that you did not have bad intentions and you still love this person, you just love yourself more — finally. The people who truly love you and care about you will understand and act accordingly, so if they don’t then they don’t need to be apart of your life. Every part of this process is going to help you realize just how strong you are and how much you will thrive when you put yourself first; even better it will remove toxic people and things that have been draining you for so long.
I don’t know about y’all but I’m ready to implement these strategies and see how my life improves. I hope you do too and let me know in the comments who you think will be the hardest family, friends, or partner?
Bye for now!
“You get what you tolerate.” – Henry Cloud