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8 Questions and Answers About Boundaries

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are basic guidelines you set to establish how you would like others to treat you. They define what behaviours you are willing or not to accept and determine how you respond when someone crosses those limits. Having healthy boundaries is the foundation for positive, respectful, caring relationships; And these may be personal and/or professional.

"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others. Brené Brown"

How do you know you need to establish better boundaries?

If you experience feelings of anger, frustration, resentment or stress after agreeing to something, you most likely need to revisit your boundaries. If you find yourself to be frequently disappointed by people and situations, fight for hours with thoughts and keep ruminating facts and outcomes. These are clear signs that your boundaries have been crossed too often or that you need to redefine them more firmly.

How do you define your boundaries?

When you decide the time has come for you to define your boundaries better, the first step is to decide how these should look like by establishing what is important to you.

  • Take note when something makes you uncomfortable but also what makes you feel good. Having a clear idea of what works or doesn't work will help you create your plan.

  • Pay close attention to your emotions and reactions.

  • Explore how to increase your self-awareness. Journalling, meditation and reading self-help books are very helpful in this.

  • Begin to write your boundaries, it helps you organise your thoughts, and when you are ready, you can express them.

  • Make a priority list: is there any area you feel requires your attention first? Changes are challenging; facing them all at once can be overwhelming.

  • Before making a decision, allow yourself the time to evaluate the benefits and the consequences.

  • Learn from your past; if something didn't work already, it is likely not to work in the future. Explore new ways to implement your changes.

How do I make others aware of the changes?

Now you have identified what matters to you and what you are unwilling to accept any more. At this stage, you have two options to let others know that these boundaries are now in place.

You can have a straightforward conversation with the people involved, and if you choose to do so, communicate your decisions respectfully, firmly, calmly, and without engaging in excessive explanations.