Healthy boundaries are an important part of pretty much every relationship in our lives. When you don’t have healthy boundaries in a relationship, the relationship can quickly turn toxic and leave somebody feeling sad or angry.
If you have a hard time standing up for yourself or voicing your opinion, that’s a sign that you probably need to set better boundaries. If you feel like you can never fully relax or be yourself, that’s another sign that you probably need to set better boundaries. If you ever feel like people use you in order to gain something or only contact you when they need something, that’s yet another sign that you probably need to set better boundaries.
In a healthy relationship, it’s important that you’re able to be yourself, to have space when you need it, and to have room to breathe. And in order to have all of those things, you need boundaries. I’m talking all kinds of boundaries – physical, emotional, mental, moral. Of course, you can tell if someone is crossing one of your physical boundaries – getting in your personal space. But emotional and mental boundaries can be a little bit harder to define. I mean, can you even say what your limit is emotionally in all of your relationships?
The closer someone is to you, the more important your boundaries will be. So, it’s very important to set boundaries with your significant other, your parents, your boss and coworkers, your closest friends, and your closest family members. Now, the question is how exactly do you set boundaries with these people? Here are some tips to help you!
Realize That Boundaries Are Important
The first step toward having healthy boundaries in your relationship is to make sure that you realize how important boundaries are. Some people view them as a hassle or as something that just gets in the way of their relationships. This isn’t true though; boundaries are vital to being happy and an important part of making sure that you can be yourself and that you have your own personal space – two very important things.
Get to Know Yourself
In order to really understand what your boundaries are, it’s important to get to know yourself as best as you can. Figure out what’s important to you, learn what your values and beliefs are. Identify what your limits are – physically, emotionally, mentally, morally, and spiritually. The more you get to know yourself, the more you can choose relationships that you actually want in your life, and set the kind of boundaries you need in the relationships you currently have. It also helps you know which toxic relationships you need to end.
Recognize Boundary Violations
Have you ever had anyone in your life that makes you feel drained or unhappy whenever you’re done spending time with them? Have you ever really thought about why they make you feel that way? It’s because they’re violating your boundaries. They’re doing something to you emotionally that you just don’t want them to do. This is a warning sign that you need to set some sort of boundaries with them. When you notice that someone is making you feel this way, you need to figure out what they’re doing that you don’t like and talk to them about it. Re-evaluate your boundaries with this person.
Develop Respect For Yourself
No matter what mistakes you’ve made in your past, no matter what you’ve been through, you deserve respect. All of your experiences have made you who you are and no one has the right to control you or manipulate you. So, if you want people to treat you with respect, you need to respect yourself first. Don’t let people use you, don’t let people walk all over you, and learn to speak up and stand up for yourself. You can never have healthy boundaries if people are constantly mistreating you.
Put Your Needs First When You Have To
Another essential part of setting healthy boundaries is realizing how important you are. No matter what you may think, true happiness lies within yourself. So do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Don’t feel like you always need to bend over backward and hurt yourself in order to help or “fix” other people. Don’t feel like you need to violate your own boundaries in order to do things for other people. Take responsibility for yourself and your happiness. Other people’s desires and feelings are not more important than your own.
When you’re stuck in a difficult situation and don’t know what to do, trust yourself. Pay attention to your gut feelings because they usually don’t steer you wrong. When you feel calm and secure, your boundaries are probably strong and healthy. If you find yourself in a situation that leaves you feeling uneasy, then go with that feeling and change your boundaries if you need to. Learn to trust yourself and your intuition.
Be Honest And Direct
Some people will understand your boundaries without you having to tell them. Some people have just known you for a long time so they “get” you and some people are so similar to you that they know how to approach you. But other people will need you to be direct and honest with them. For example, people who are very different from yourself might have completely different boundaries. Or in a romantic relationship, if someone’s being too clingy and you need more time to yourself, they might not take a hint. If someone is violating one of your boundaries, let them know. You don’t have to be rude or disrespectful. After all, how can they know they’re violating your boundaries if they don’t even know what your boundaries are? Just politely tell them how you feel.
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Tami is a twenty-something wife and freelance writer who has a passion for creativity. Her blog, theinspirationlady.com, focuses on self-improvement and lifestyle topics. She’s a goal-digger, an animal-lover, and a bookworm. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time in nature or making art.