Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Can we talk about boundaries…again?
In our last blog post, we dived into the complex world of setting boundaries; what they are and how to begin to set them. But why set boundaries? Why are we making them such a big deal? We continue our journey of setting boundaries in this week’s blog post.
Benefits of setting boundaries
Healthier, sustainable relationships
Do you tend to feel resentment when it comes to certain relationships? Maybe you give and never receive? Or simply feel exhausted in your friendships? Once we all understand that we all have limits and go ahead to respect these limits, the burden of anger and resentment from crossing any lines is lifted. A resentment free relationship is something to aim for. Human beings are not mind readers. You’re more likely to get your needs met and your limits respected when they are expressed.
For your safety & peace:
Boundaries are meant to protect us. When your intuitive inner compass says “no”, it’s trying to protect you from hurt, anger, pain and abuse. Imagine living a life in which your needs are met. And when they aren’t you aren’t left brooding over what you could have and should have said. Imagine living a life in which your limits are respected. It’s blissful. You’re less prone to stress. The longer you bottle your emotions, needs & wants, the more likely you are to have future outbursts, to act in passive aggressive ways that only leave you on the losing end. Choose to bring more joy to your body, mind and spirit.
Strengthen your voice:
Setting boundaries sometimes means that you have to voice them often, especially to new people in our lives. It’s like practice for learning how to communicate better. With time, it becomes easier to speak up about our needs and our limits.
While boundaries seem harsh, according to Brene Brown’s 13-year research, people with strong boundaries are the most compassionate. What boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my integrity and make the most generous assumptions about you. Generosity cannot exist without boundaries otherwise it breeds resentment and frustration. Is the generosity sincere if it’s enmeshed with resentment?
How to get started
One of our favs, @the.holistic.psychologist breaks down setting boundaries into three steps:
CREATE. STATE. MAINTAIN.
Before jumping right into setting boundaries, take a moment to look at the dynamics in your relationships to understand your “why”. Be honest with yourself.
Which relationships are going well?
Which relationships are rocky?
What shifts or changes within the rocky relationships could help improve them especially for your own sake?
Why do you want to make shifts or changes in the rocky relationships?
Your “why” might be wanting peace of mind, preserving your energy and time, supporting your mental health, demanding more respect and value, demanding respect for your space and time, wanting more for your career or more.
This is where things start to get tricky. People aren’t mind readers and you have to speak up about what you are or aren’t willing to tolerate. Be clear about what your boundaries are and voice them. Yep. You will encounter a myriad of emotions and reactions from the people who you decide to voice your new boundaries to. You might be called: selfish, unreasonable, a b*tch, difficult, weird. It’s okay.. The real ones will understand and eventually stick around. And the ones who don’t, were not meant to stay.
Change is hard. status quo always feels like an easy place to return to but you must remember the reason why you set boundaries to begin with. You might go through bouts of guilt, maybe even isolation and rejection. The dynamics in any relationship don't just happen; both parties play an active role in making the relationship what it eventually becomes.
Boundaries in relationships are hard. They are a work in progress but they go an incredibly long way to not only changing the way we feel about ourselves, our relationships, our worlds. The end goal is a healthier, happier, more sustainable relationship. The Holistic Psychologist
What setting your boundaries can look like:
Boundary: Respect for your space and time.
The “why”: You want to be able to stick to the routines you create and carve out time for yourself to rest and unwind.
Statement (what the boundary would sound like): I’d appreciate it if you call or text to ask if I’m available before coming over to my home.
Maintain: Not hosting friends or family that decide to pop in unexpectedly, or asking them to leave when they just show up.
Just a few more things:
Boundaries are a two-way street.
It is hypocritical to expect people in your life to respect your boundaries while you keep crossing theirs.
Boundaries can be flexible.
Boundaries are meant to improve how we relate with people in our lives, not to put a fringe on relationships or how you relate with others. But, and this is a huge BUT, by accepting to be flexible in your boundaries, you must always go back to your “why” to avoid slipping back to the status quo that you aren’t satisfied with. If a friend who has problems keeping time is running late and you feel your time boundaries are not being respected, being flexible would mean waiting an extra 30 minutes instead of the 2 hours that you had grown accustomed to.
It’s not one size fits all.
You can’t adopt someone’s boundaries because they serve every individual differently for complex personal reasons. Boundaries are tailored by you for you.
You must also consider how different boundaries apply to different people and different spaces. The access your work colleagues have to you is different from the access your close family and friends have to you.
Do the work. Remove yourself.
Sometimes even when limits have been stated and clearly voiced, the people in your life might not take them seriously. When this happens, maintaining your boundaries will mean leaving a party, walking away, ending a call so that you bring your own peace to the forefront.
Setting boundaries is not a one day thing. Hope you remember to have compassion for yourself as you start (or continue the journey). Listen to the fourth episode in our latest season, Finding Home: In Your Mind, where we dived into setting boundaries for our mental health.