Boundaries. It has a negative ring to it, don’t you think? We hear the word used in derogatory statements most of the time, like “boundaries please,” or something of the sort. But the negative connotation associated with boundaries should not be the case. In fact, boundaries are healthy and vital for us to live fulfilling and comfortable lives.
It’s an act of self-care, similar to activities we do like going to the spa, cleaning our house, availing of a pressure washing service to make our windows sparkle, watering our plants, working out, etc. Setting boundaries helps us become our best selves.
Think about it this way, the more you say no to things you’re not comfortable with, the more you can say yes to things that really matter to you—things that are aligned to your core values. How? Because then, you’ll have more time and headspace to focus on those things!
Hold on a sec…What are boundaries anyway?
Simply put, boundaries refer to rules, limits, or guidelines that a person sets to create permissible ways others can behave around them. Say, for example, you enter a relationship, but the person on the other end continues to do things that would break your trust. A person who has boundaries in terms of forgiveness would know when it is time to leave the relationship.
Boundaries start at the point when someone else’s actions make us feel uncomfortable or resentful. Hence, setting boundaries is essential for our health and happiness. It’s a skill that, unfortunately, not a lot of people have. But just because you don’t have the skill doesn’t mean you can’t develop it. So, here are some insights on how to build and maintain boundaries.
Determine what they are
Determining your boundaries can be as simple as knowing what makes you feel uncomfortable, resentful, stressed, pressured, etc. Ask yourself about the things you don’t like. From identifying these things, you will come to a better understanding of what your limits are.
They say that people are more attracted to others who are like them—meaning that they think and behave similarly. In these cases, maintaining healthy boundaries becomes natural because chances are, they have the same personal limits.
But of course, there will be instances when you will encounter people who do not think like you. You will be exposed to individuals coming from different backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. In this scenario, a healthy adherence to boundaries may not be clear cut. Some cultures might find it respectful to challenge one’s opinions, but maybe that’s not the case for you.
In instances when you find that your boundaries are not being understood and respected, don’t be afraid to voice out. It’s not disrespectful of you to do so, considering that setting boundaries are about self-love. Be direct and talk it out with the other person. Often, it’s just a case of misunderstanding, and a cool conversation will help even out your relationship.
Having boundaries and being strict about them can make you look like a villain at times. Your co-workers or friends may not understand why some things or scenarios are so uncomfortable for you. But this should not be a hindrance for you in being true to the limits you have set for yourself.
The reason you build boundaries in the first place is that you respect yourself as a person. You know what gives you peace of mind and what doesn’t. Setting boundaries is an act of self-care, and you have to stay true to that.
These tips are easier said than done. Although they can put you on the right track towards a healthier and happier life, there will be instances when maintaining your boundaries can feel overwhelming and stressful. But remember that setting boundaries is about you respecting yourself.