Updated: Feb 6
The ability to set healthy boundaries is an essential self-care tool.
Setting firm boundaries is vital to establishing healthy relationships and protecting yourself by defining what you are willing and not willing to accept. By not having the appropriate boundaries, you allow others to manage your time, feelings and needs.
Healthy boundaries help you maintain a stable self-esteem, a positive relationship with yourself and reduce negative emotions such as anxiety, stress or depression and foster fulfilling relationships.
Most of the time, people will cross your boundaries in good faith without evaluating the impact their decisions or actions will have on you. When this happens, your role is to make them aware of that.
Having healthy boundaries doesn't mean that you won't be available for others anymore. It means that before you agree to something, you allow yourself time to assess if this is right for you and the permission to say 'No' guilt-free.
"Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish,
or uncaring (just) because I don’t do things your way. I care about me, too."
Being consistent in managing boundaries is not simple, especially when implementing those boundaries with the people you love and are afraid to lose. Nonetheless, if setting boundaries is something new for you, establishing them can be a challenging experience. When you feel challenged, remind yourself that having healthy boundaries gives you the key to self-love and self-care.
Through boundaries, you build independence, safety, and self-esteem.
Most common threats for boundaries are grey areas due to emotional involvement or unclear roles. In these cases, it becomes tricky to define where the limit is, and you might dread the outcome of the decision.
It is vital to learn to distinguish between other's caring and manipulative or supporting and decision-making behaviours.
No matter the difficulties you may encounter, setting boundaries remains a crucial task as:
Protecting your well-being is your responsibility. You have to feel good to be able to be positively present for others.
You cannot be accountable for other people's choices.
Asking others to respect your time, feelings, and needs is essential for your mental health.
Taking on other's responsibilities can make them dependent on you and hinder their personal growth.
Saying 'no' to others often means saying 'yes' to yourself. It sets a standard for what you are willing to do for and accept from others.
People will still love you if you say no, and if not, they most likely aren't your people.
Always saying yes doesn't make you irreplaceable, it just makes you available for exploitation and drains you.
Feeling exploited, stressed, upset, disappointed is not something you can allow yourself to deny or ignore.
Waiting for things to get better on their own rarely works, you teach people how to treat you by clearly stating what you allow and what not.
If it doesn't feel right for you, then it most likely isn't. You may feel like you are letting others down, but who you are and how you feel should be your priority.
Boundaries are your borders, and you are the only person in charge to protect them.
No wonder establishing limits can feel overwhelming and scary; it is a big responsibility toward yourself. Even though emotional and mental boundaries are set to protect you from letting others control your thoughts, feelings and needs. Taking the first steps can be daunting as you may not know where to start or because of limiting beliefs.
False beliefs may lead you to pair the idea of setting limits with one or more of the following threat.
Fear of not being accepted for who you are
Feeling of selfishness when you stand up for yourself
Overvaluation of other's needs and opinions
Undervaluation of your needs and opinions
The feeling of not being good enough
Being afraid of other people's reaction or rejection
Belief that if you are not needed, you will remain alone
Not knowing how to deal with conflicts
Giving up appears to be easier
No one ever taught you how to set boundaries
Nonetheless, letting go of these limiting beliefs and begin to set new healthy boundaries can create growth opportunities and promote independence for yourself and people around you.
Once you begin, you will realize how important it is to nurture a healthy relationship with yourself and your loved ones.
Listen to your inner voice
Think about your needs and what you would like to say
Learn how to communicate your thoughts assertively
If you don't want to do something, say 'no' and move on
You don't have to explain your reasons.
"Compassionate people ask for what they need.
They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it.
They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment."
Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time and practise, so take the time you need and don't force yourself to do something you don't want. Develop a support system of people you trust can help you on your journey.
Take good care of yourself, be patient and consistent, you won't regret it.
If you need more information, feel free to contact me.