The "How To" to Setting Boundaries
Raise your hand 🙋🏽♀️ if you are like everyone else who struggles to set boundaries for themselves? If you know what I'm talking about, isn't it hard to do it and stick to it? For those who are looking like 👀 or 😳, don't worry if you have no clue what I'm talking about.
When I say boundaries, I'm talking about the things you allow or don't allow into your space in order to protect your mental state. Boundaries help us convey how we want to be treated by other people. Whether you need boundaries in your workplace, relationship, friendships, etc., establishing them is important.
Without boundaries, we tend to 1) give too much of ourselves to other people; 2) struggle with saying "no"; 3) find it hard to express our feelings; and 4) feel like we are being taken advantage of. With boundaries, you 1) are able to express yourself and not feel bad; 2) have control over what you allow is done to you; 3) can say "no" and not feel guilty about it; 4) will learn your limits; and 5) will have more time to be yourself and be happy.
So where do you start and what does boundaries look like? 🧐 I'm glad you asked.
DETERMINE WHERE THE BOUNDARIES NEED TO BE ESTABLISHED: It's important to first do inventory of where those boundaries need to be created whether for work, a friendship, a relationship, etc.. Boundaries can be emotional boundaries, physical boundaries, sexual boundaries, social boundaries, intellectual boundaries, or even spiritual boundaries.
BELIEVE IN AND PROTECT YOUR BOUNDARIES: In order for someone else to respect your boundaries, you first have to believe them for yourself. This step can be hard because as humans, it's easy for us to compromise on things in the moment. If you can believe in your boundaries, then it's easy for you to adhere to them.
COMMUNICATE THOSE BOUNDARIES TO OTHERS: Communication and consistency is key when dealing with your boundaries. You have to be bold enough to communicate those boundaries even when it's hard to. At the end of the day, your feelings are paramount to you above all others and the boundaries are what will help that.
"You have to be able to set boundaries. Otherwise, the rest of the world is always telling you who you are and what you should be doing." - Oprah Winfrey.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR NEEDS: This is critical. Just like we can create boundaries to tell people how to treat us, we have to equally be able to take responsibility for our needs. This means when you are lacking a need, then be courageous to communicate those needs to the other person. If we don't, we are the only ones lacking. When it's all said and done, we have to take ownership of our choices, our feelings, and emotions...even when they are unintentional.
Examples of boundaries:
Speak up if you feel uncomfortable with how someone is treating you.
Communicate your space boundaries such as "I am not a hugger but more so a hand-shaker."
Discussing the limits you and your partner have when being intimate.
Communicate your social limits such as not interacting with social media when on a date with a friend or significant other.
Establish a timeframe when you and your partner can discuss a contentious moment typically when both are able to pause and reflect before responding.
Stick to your spiritual goals such as "I attend Bible Study every Wednesday so I can't plan anything during that timeframe."
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Watch this inspiring video on setting boundaries!