Healthy boundaries are an essential part of every relationship, and they ultimately exist to protect you and your identity from anything toxic. For example, think about any toxic relationship you (or someone you know) has been in. You’ll realize that there was likely a lack of boundaries protecting you from some behavior of theirs that ultimately brought you down.
So how can you change that? Ultimately, you have to learn how to set and clearly communicate boundaries to your partners. Here are a few tips to help you through that.
Establishing Clear, Healthy Boundaries With Others
There are several ways to go about establishing healthy boundaries. First, assess which relationships need to have better boundaries set, then take a look at the nature of the relationship.
Is this someone you can sit down with and discuss boundaries, such as a good friend or romantic partner, or are they in an authority position that would make this more difficult?
Is this boundary something you can set through your actions, or would it need to be explicitly stated? For example, you may be able to change your boundaries with your social media on your own, but your aunt will likely need you to explicitly state that you’re uncomfortable talking about politics right now to be fully aware of this boundary.
While it may sound intimidating, sitting down with someone to discuss boundaries does not need to be lengthy or painful. Be honest and direct. Avoid beating around the bush and keep it concise. This may be an excellent time to open up the discussion to them as well. Are there any ways that you’re pushing or unintentionally ignoring their boundaries?
How Do I Know What My Boundaries Are?
Some people immediately know when something makes them uncomfortable, but others may need more time to mull over and discover what their boundaries are, especially if they grew up in an environment where boundaries were lacking or not respected.
If you’re unsure about your boundaries, consider the following:
- What makes you feel “icky?” Are there certain types of jokes that an uncle makes about sex or women that make you feel icky? Do you feel uncomfortable with how close a coworker stands to you? Is your creative time being devalued by others who constantly interrupt time you set aside to work on a creative project? Listen to that gut feeling and evaluate why you’re feeling this way.
- Think about when you want to say “no,” but don’t. This may be when a boss asks you to stay late with no overtime or when a friend pressures you into meeting up when you’re overtired. Pay attention to when you want to say “no,” and start to say “no.” The chances are your friend won’t be upset, and it’ll be easier to say “no” next time you’re feeling too tired to go out.
- Seek our professional help or the counsel of a very good friend. Discuss with them what you’re feeling. Are you afraid or overtired or feeling lost? Talk about boundaries that are lacking in your life, which may be causing these feelings. Where can you cut back?
What boundaries do you need to establish in your life Loti’s? How have other boundaries improved your quality of life and relationships? Let us know in the comments below.