Healthy boundaries are essential in any healthy relationship, romantic or not. But do you know how to establish them?
Healthy boundaries are not a threat to self or others. Instead, they allow us to feel safe and protected while also allowing others the freedom to be themselves.
Boundaries are our natural inclination toward self-preservation. It’s the healthy dimension of self that allows us to trust our judgment, choose our path, and take care of ourselves.
Not to mention it helps us not let resentment build up in our relationships.
When boundaries are being broken repeatedly, emotional trauma can make its way in. Restoring a sense of safety is vital in this case.
Healthy boundaries and compassion
Being Submissive and self-sacrificing are not things to be proud of, and they are not indicative of kindness.
Brene Brown defines clear boundaries as “finding a way to be generous towards others while continuing to stay in your integrity.”
Her research in communities of compassionate people emphasizes that setting boundaries is so closely tied to compassion, and one cannot exist without the other.
How to set healthy boundaries
You need to act when physical symptoms start to creep in.
When you start to feel flooded, your heart rate goes up; you may feel a lump in the throat, your stomach may hurt, or you may be sweating uncontrollably.
All of these signs should guide you. They let you know when it’s time to set up some good ol’ boundaries.
Establishing boundaries can help you relax, self-soothe and recharge. Not instituting any limits is a sure way to get to relationship fatigue or burnout (and that’s a real thing).
Boundaries can be so fluid, so always trust your gut when you feel overwhelmed.
Just say NO.
You should never apologize or feel guilty for establishing healthy boundaries. Having healthy boundaries is about saying “no” without feeling guilty or threatened.
You don’t always have to justify your refusal to do anything, you can just say no without further explanations.
You can take people’s disagreements or disappointments.
People that ignore their needs for others often do it because they fear conflict or disappointment.
Get to know your needs profoundly and express them.
The better you understand your own needs and boundaries, the easier it is to communicate them clearly to others. Don’t express your needs vaguely.
Establish what they are and express them without beating around the bush.
Don’t doubt your judgment.
One thing that happens when you set boundaries is that the people around you may not take it well and even twist and interpret your words.
They may even feel abandoned by you.
But the essential thing to remember is that you can allow yourself to establish any limit that you want. You heard that right!
You can stop anything that makes you uncomfortable, and you don’t have to ask for permission.
And you can establish boundaries for anything you can imagine – they can be regarding your sexuality, time, personal space, intellect, or finances.
Actions, not just words
Besides communicating your needs and being assertive, you can establish boundaries by doing things that show that.
For example, if somebody goes through your things, apart from telling them that you feel about the situation and that you want them to stop, you can also put a lock on your drawer.
The same goes for other more abstract needs, like emotional ones.
Maintain your boundaries
Consistency is a rule of thumb when it comes to setting healthy boundaries, and practice is vital for this.
Don’t just have a single moment in the sun. Having limits and sticking up to them is a gift you should give yourself every day.
And believe me, if you don’t impose limitations, people will step on them repeatedly.
10 Advantages of establishing clear and healthy boundaries
- You understand the value of putting yourself first and can reap the benefits that come from that. Naturally, there are many advantages when you focus on yourself and improving your life.
- You have genuinely healthy and good relationships because you know who the people that respect your boundaries are. And because of that, you live better!
- Your self-esteem and self-worth have a boost – You learn to see yourself as a valuable human being, just like everyone else.
- You don’t put others’ needs above your own anymore because yours are equally important.
- Less anger – every time you’re not expressing your needs or being assertive, anger builds up.
- You may not know it immediately, but it does. Anger hides other emotions; beneath, you may feel disappointed, sad, or frustrated.
- Fosters kindness – You know how they say it all starts from you. You can’t give from an empty cup.
- More time on your hands – Once you start saying no to things that don’t allow you to have time and think about yourself, life becomes extraordinary.
- That’s not to say you should never give a helping hand or show up when needed.
- You rule your life, and you get to choose.
We live in a culture that values the approval of others over self-authorization.
The most important thing we can do for ourselves is get our needs and wants satisfied.
And if we allow others to determine what is good for us, our lives will be empty and meaningless.
So don’t make yourself uncomfortable for other people’s comfortability – even if you think you’re doing it in the name of goodness.
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