Boundaries are one of the most critical factors in healthy, happy and harmonious relationships. A boundary is a self-honouring agreement inside yourself or with another person that supports your well-being and comes from love. They’re built out of a mix of beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning.
When we endure negative or hurtful treatment from another, we can easily end up building bitterness and resentment or eventually completely pull away from that person.
However having the courage to communicate our needs and set boundaries is, in actual fact, far more loving, than pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t.
Boundaries not only can prevent us from getting frustrated and hurt, but they are also a form of self-love demonstrating self-respect which is key.
Many men and women share with me that they worry about being a doormat or are sick of being controlled. If you feel exhausted and drained by people in your life, then discussing boundaries with someone you trust can support you to free yourself from these patterns reoccurring.
Understanding the meaning of healthy boundaries is simple, putting them into practice is not always easy. Essentially it’s about considering your own needs before saying yes to others. It’s about doing what is right for you before serving others needs and demands.
By this, I mean asking internally:
Is this right for me?
Am I ok with this?
Will I feel good if I say yes in this situation?
It’s also about practising saying no.
– “No, I cannot give you any more money.”
– “No, I don’t want to organize the party.”
– “No, I can’t stay and do that ”
– “No, I can’t pick you up at that time from there”
It’s about honest, direct, assertions of your needs — which may be in the form of refusals like I have mentioned. Or simply asserting your needs first like saying “yes, I will do that after I have done this first.”
NOT TAKING ON TOO MUCH
Some people take on everyone else’s “stuff” and drama as they hope it will make them happier and perhaps forget their own issues. Yet this causes many problems instead of helping.
For example: let’s say you take their emotional pain and drama into your heart, body and mind. Where you are feeling all of their stuff, when you do that there is a good chance that you’re leaving your “stuff” that needs to be dealt with, in order to care for them, therefore neglecting yourself.
When you do that long-term you run the risk of being hurt, riddled with the resentment or emotional burnout.
Helping others as a path to happiness backfires because the only way we can only get true happiness is if we also have happiness inside of us. Do you know what makes you happy in life and are you happy with yourself?
The third problem taking on others stuff often causes is a lack of responsibility in that person for their life choices. It is key to ask ourselves; does it really help someone when we rescue them all the time?
I believe that loving someone is allowing them to fend for themselves, to find their own way through lives challenges. If you are constantly rescuing someone, close your eyes and ask yourself, is it helping them long-term? Is it in their highest good? We learn and grow from our struggles in life, whether that be financial, with addictive habits or in our relationships with others. Are you allowing them to be responsible and grow?
NOT TAKING ON OTHERS OPINIONS
Healthy boundaries are also about whether we take on the ideas and opinions of others when making life choices and how we view ourself or whether we are able to let them go if they do not align with what we feel inside.
I believe that it is important to exercise control over what we adopt from others. For example, if someone you love doesn’t approve of your decision to focus on your dream career, visit a family member or book a holiday, does that mean you don’t do it? Are you the type of person that easily gives up what you want, attempting to forget your own desires? Or do you push forth regardless?
It can be difficult to carry on with what we want, in the midst of non-support or even criticism of our desires, especially if we are already doubting our own abilities.
However, the key to success and setting healthy boundaries is to filter out the messages, jokes, and judgments and not give up on ourselves. Recognising that instead of quitting or allowing other’s opinions to control us, we move forward and work on any limiting beliefs we are perhaps holding inside.
This is a way I love to support people, we all have beliefs that do not serve us. For example: “I can’t make it.” “I won’t be able to afford it.” “I’m not good enough.”
Weeding these out can be the most powerful way to set our selves free and manifest our dreams. Do reach out to me if you feel you have limiting beliefs holding you back right now and would like to learn more about how I help people move away from this.
Setting Healthy Relationship Boundary Tips
Creating boundaries is great, but it’s the follow-through is what counts. To be direct with people around you is the only way to alert others that your boundaries have been breached r. Being assertive, particularly if you’re unaccustomed to doing so, can be scary. So start small with something manageable and build up your confidence.
Were you overcharged for something? Ask for the money back.
Did the waitress get your order wrong? Ask her for what you ordered.
Are unsolicited romantic suitors messaging you often? Explain that you’re not interested and would like them to stop.
Is a work colleague pushing his or her work onto you? Remind them that it isn’t within your scope, you’re busy with your work.
Perhaps a friend or family member did something to hurt you. Ask them to meet you for lunch and explain your feelings and why it bothered you.
Know Your Limits
It’s necessary to define what your emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual boundaries are with work colleagues, friends, family, strangers, and intimate partners.
You can do this by reflecting on past experiences where you felt anger, resentment, discomfort, or frustration with someone. The chances are it is because your limits have been breached.
If you’ve pending jobs to attend to and you’re working towards specific goals, and then a family member comes along and asks for your help all week and weekend. The boundaries you’ve in place can solve this problem. You can offer what you can whilst also keeping in mind your goals and time restraints.
It’s about doing a genuine check on your capacity to help without harming yourself.
Express Your Limits
If you are upset by something, it’s essential to be heard, no matter what the situation otherwise you run the risk of it happening time and time again. By expressing your needs and feelings you also free yourself from carrying resentment. Resentment is a horrible feeling that can weigh us down and damage the relationship.
When you first begin to act assertively, you may be afraid that others will reject you. Janet was fearful that if she said no to her daughter asking for money she would be cut out of her life and not able to see her grandchildren.
I asked her “Is this fear based on reality? She said yes, that her daughter had cut her out of her life before for a whole year and she was extremely hurt during this time. She described however since then, she has been giving most of her energy, money and time to help her daughter when she demands it, sometimes at the expense of her own health and happiness.
Part of the problem was she had not communicated her feelings to the daughter ever. She had not said how sad and hurt she was when they were not in touch for a year.
She has never shared that she often feels used when asked for money time and time again, that she doesn’t feel appreciated more like an ATM machine.
After some coaching together she took the step to sit down with her daughter and express herself freely.
Stating that she wanted to help her as much as she could but that she also needed to look after herself. It was well received and the balance in the relationship shifted for the better. Over time the daughter also grew from not being rescued financially and Janet had more peace.
Not informing someone that they’ve crossed your boundaries only leads to bitterness on your end and misunderstanding on theirs. How are they to know that you are stretched and stressed if you don’t let them know?
Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!
Practice Makes Progress. Upholding your boundaries means that you value yourself and needs more than the opinions and demands of others. Having self-love and confidence does not mean that you’re unkind, it only means that you’re fair and honest with what you can lovingly offer others. Everyone benefits when love and truth are present.
Looking for Counsellors in Dubai? Nicola Beer offers Private Counselling Dubai, Counselling in Abu Dhabi, many expats fly from different areas for her Counselling Riyadh, Jeddah, Bahrain, Doha and Muscat are the most frequent customers for weekend individual or marriage counselling services.