What are boundaries?
If you often find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, taken advantage of or angry and resentful, chances are there is a boundary issue, we often find ourselves trapped and overwhelmed not realizing it’s actually a small tweak of having a boundary in place.
So what are boundaries and why is it important to have them?
Boundaries are limits that we place in our lives of what we will and will not accept from others. It is rules or guidelines that tell others how we want and should be treated. It’s a request for people to change their behavior. Boundaries protects one from being taken advantage of, overcommitting, overworking, feeling overwhelmed, and physical and emotional abuse or harm.
Having healthy boundaries in place can improve one’s confidence and self esteem, it can also reduce anxiety and leads you to developing good fulfilling relationships. Not having clear boundaries in ones life often holds one back.
So why are boundaries important?
Having healthy boundaries in place is a form of self care, below are some benefits for having healthy boundaries:
- Improves the quality of ones relationships
- It reduces anxiety and stress
- Helps with the negative feelings like feeling overwhelmed
- Reduces burnout
- Prevents financial and emotional burdens
- Builds self esteem and provides confidence
- Provides respect from others as well as self respect
- Provides assertiveness where needs are met
- Reduces anger and resentment
- Provides More personal time
Before we get into setting boundaries let look at the 5 different boundary types:
- Emotional boundaries are all about respecting, honoring feelings and energy. It is protecting your own emotional wellbeing (Example: “I really can’t talk right now, It isn’t the right time can we chat later?”)
- Time boundaries refers to how a person uses their time. A person must set aside adequate time for each aspect of their life. Time boundaries are breached when someone demands too much of another’s time, when a person is often late or making plans and not showing up (Example: “I am extremely busy right now could I possibly set a time where we can sit down and chat about this matter”)
- Physical boundaries include personal space, comfort with touch, and physical needs like needing to rest or eat (Example: “please don’t touch me in that way or I am really tired I am going to rest”
- Mental boundaries when ones thoughts, values, opinions and beliefs are different (Example: “I can respect that we have different opinions on this.”
- Material boundaries refer to items and possessions like ones home, car, clothing, jewelry, furniture, money, etc. It is what you can and cannot share and how you expect your items and materials to be treated by the people you share them with. (Example: “Sure! I am happy to share my shoes with you. Just a heads up, I do need it back by Monday.”
5 tips that make setting boundaries easier
1. Be clear about your wants
Be fair to yourself and fair to the other person of what is needed and wanted and why it’s important. A helpful exercise is to write down where you feel you utilize your energy the most. Begin by splitting up your page into five quadrants: Time, emotional, physical, financial, mental and material . Once you’ve done that, go through each quadrant which will allow you to see where your boundaries need work
2. Be direct and to the point
When communicating your boundaries, it’s most effective to be direct and to the point. If you explain , justify , or apologize your message gets lost.
3. Apologize not
Don’t apologize for your needs. keep it simple and remember that you have the right to ask for what you want/need you don’t have to justify it with a reason. When you apologize it reinforces the notion that it’s wrong for you to say no
4. Expect resistance
Setting boundaries can be difficult. not only is it new for you but it might be new for the other person receiving it. This often makes them resistant or not receptive which could result in conflict. This is common, they’re usually the people who have been benefiting from your lack of boundaries, so they don’t want you to change, remember that when people resist your boundaries, it’s confirmation that the boundaries are needed. It will take time for others to adjust to your new behavior
5. Practice makes it easier
The first time you set the boundaries it will be difficult and uncomfortable but the more you do it the easier it gets