Guest Post: Setting Boundaries by Breakdown Club

Setting Boundaries

Boundaries are a way of taking care of ourselves. When you understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, you can avoid the feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that build up when limits have been pushed.

If you’re not sure how to go about creating boundaries or effectively uphold existing ones, then here are 10 ways in which you can create and maintain healthy boundaries.

Self-reflection

To successfully introduce and set boundaries, it’s key to understand why they’re both important to you, and how they will benefit your emotional well-being. The first step in having healthy boundaries in any situation is spending the time to explore what’s happening to you. Say you’re in a situation where you feel uncomfortable and you’re not sure why, maybe someone has given you a hug, take some time to reflect upon your feelings and investigate your own mind, desires, and limits.

Start small

If you have few boundaries in place already, the prospect of introducing more might seem overwhelming, so build them up slowly. This will allow you to take things at a more comfortable pace, and it gives you the time you need to reflect on whether the boundaries are helping you to head in the right direction or if you need to make some tweaks. At first it will be trial and error, but as your identity grows you’ll understand your needs more, and it will become second nature to you.

Set boundaries early

By setting boundaries and expectations from the very beginning, everyone knows where they stand, and feelings of hurt, confusion, and frustration can be kept to a minimum. To implement boundaries into pre-existing relationships, especially that of a partner, can be really hard and cause some tension. The earlier you can set boundaries the easier it will be in the long run. However, boundaries are vital for your mental health. Don’t be put off by causing some friction at first. If your boundaries begin to severely clash with people you may realize you’re not as compatible as you first thought, and that’s okay.

Be consistent

Be mindful of your boundaries and the thresholds which you have put in place for them. Letting boundaries or thresholds slide can lead to confusion and encourage new expectations and demands from those around you, which in turn could lead you back into old habits of letting people take advantage. Try keeping things as consistent as you can, especially with those you favour more, as you tend to be more lenient with them. Remaining firm will help to reinforce your original thresholds and beliefs, and it ensures those lines remain clearly established.

Create a framework

A framework in terms of boundaries is a set of rules and foundations that apply to everyone regardless of their relationship to you. For example, you could take 2 hours for yourself every weekend to catch up on your studies or go out for a run etc. No one can come between you and your task. Another example could be that no one is allowed to hug you unless permission is given. You may feel extremely uncomfortable with contact, so even your partner can’t just hug you when they feel like it.

Feel free to add extras

In certain environments we all have the same bare minimum of boundaries set for us, like at work or school etc. Looking at work for example, each of your peers all expect to follow and receive the same set of minimum guidelines. But you are welcome to add to those. For example, you could implement handshakes only, or decide to take breaks alone for some peace. Setting those extra boundaries will make you feel more empowered, and is believed to enhance your performance in the workplace.

Be mindful of social media

Whether it’s in the real world or on social media, boundaries should still be maintained. Unfortunately the lines of boundaries are often blurred when it comes to social media. People tend to over share personal information and details about themselves, and often to people who really don’t matter to them. The same goes with pressing other peoples boundaries. Maybe you’ve shared a picture online that has someone in it, and they’re embarrassed or upset by it. Doing so without their permission is crossing that line, and in reality, if the shoe was on the other foot, you’d expect your boundaries to be respected too.

Communication

When it comes to boundaries, communication is key. If someone constantly oversteps yours, you might need to raise your concerns to them, although this shouldn’t be done in an aggressive manor. For example, if you have a friend who sends messages nonstop because you haven’t responded, try saying something along the lines of, “I can see you were trying to get a hold of me, but the best thing to do is drop me a message, and I’ll get back to you when I can.” This gently highlights their behavior while simultaneously asserting your threshold.

Be your biggest champion

For boundaries to have a strong foundation, you need to show yourself a bit of love. If the voice in your head tells you that you’re worthless and undeserving, then you’re going to find it difficult to set any boundaries. It is imperative that you back yourself, and raise your self-esteem, and honestly, it doesn’t take much to start implementing this mind set and encouraging yourself to grow. Engage in activities that release feel-good hormones, things that feed your own heart and make you happy. A few examples are singing, running, cooking, or even socializing. The more you do these activities, then that’s going to help change your internal dialogue and make you feel more deserving.

Gain some perspective

While we need boundaries to protect us and look after our mental health, going too far and over-thinking them can also impact our emotional well-being. There’s a line where we don’t want boundaries to be easily dismissible, but we also don’t want our lives to be dictated by them. Setting boundaries will be trial and error, and that’s okay. The best way to do this is by living your life. In reality you won’t need boundaries for every occasion as long as you have a strong foundation. As human beings we’re actually very intuitive and can navigate and deal with things on the spot. Sometimes we’ve just got to trust ourselves and go with our gut instinct.

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@the_breakdown_club

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