Personal boundaries are important for maintaining our overall wellbeing. We need them in our lives to make sure we don’t get overwhelmed and to help us navigate our day-to-day in a healthy, positive way. So how do we utilize them and make sure they are respected?
Any guidelines, principles or rules we live by, that determines how we‘re to be treated and interacted with, make up our personal boundaries. This can include what we will/will not accept and if/how we respond when our limits are breached. They represent a beneficial way to establish and express our values, our sense of self, what we prioritize and what we require to feel safe. We all possess them, even on a subconscious level, but we must spend time establishing for ourselves what our boundaries involve because a major part of their success is that they are communicated clearly to those around us both before and after a line has been crossed.
Energy is contagious, positive and negative alike. I will forever be mindful of what and who I am allowing into my space. | Alex Elle
Becoming self-aware is vital when setting effective personal boundaries. Before we can explain to others the situations, behaviours and actions that feel uncomfortable, we need to understand what they are. To support tuning-in to our own self-awareness we need to pay attention to the patterns in our thoughts, feelings and responses, including what bothers us about ourselves and other people. We should also take note of what our emotional triggers are, what upsets us or causes anxiety, for example. From there we can recognise what we will no longer allow in our lives or give energy to — it can also improve how we deal with something negative, if it occurs again.
Identifying what our values are is key to maintaining our general welfare and happiness (this links with our self-awareness) and informing what boundaries we have. They are fundamental to how we live, what we pursue, what we believe in and how we measure the successes we have throughout our life. Our personal values are frequently what help us figure out who we are, what we wish to put out into the world and what we expect to be reflected back on us.
Accepting flexibility as part of personal growth is central to sustaining our boundaries. As we explore new opportunities, and experience perspective shifts and changes — which are a normal part of life — what we value may adapt or evolve. Being open to flexibility will ensure we can still identify what we need to thrive, including what personal boundaries remain and which ones need modification.
Direct and consistent communication of our boundaries is how we make sure they are respected. Explaining or reasoning can be effective but saying no is a full, clear, perfectly acceptable sentence — you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. Learning to be assertive will help convey what crosses a line and reduce nervousness when dealing with situations/people that do. If implementing a personal boundary requires a consequence — like no longer seeing someone if they repeat behaviour towards you that’s offensive or detrimental, or removing yourself from an event or social circle, etc — then following through with it is all-important. If we don’t consistently protect our boundaries, it can promote the idea that our thresholds are negotiable or free to be disregarded.
Conserving our energy and deciding what we‘re willing to tackle depends on what‘s going on in our lives and how we‘re feeling. What and how we deal with something — even choosing if we deal with it or not — is entirely up to us. Managing to incorporate our core values and self-awareness into how we safeguard our emotional and mental health can be a draining process. Stepping away for a bit and taking time to decide what’s an appropriate actionable acknowledgement is, in fact, a boundary all of its own. Requiring time to respond is okay, and saying that you’re going to need some is an appropriate thing to do.
Even though they require some work, personal boundaries create and encourage realistic expectations. They can reduce stress, misunderstandings, help deal with toxic people and be part of a holistic self-care routine. They also help with learning appropriate and assertive communication and will no doubt help bolster general confidence in life.
Do you set personal boundaries? Are they part of your self-care routine? What boundaries do you need to work on?
Strategies For Setting Healthy Boundaries In The Workplace – Business Insider
A Guide To Setting Healthy Boundaries In Relationships – The Talkspace Voice