Do you know how to set healthy boundaries?
Before you start panicking about the meaning of this word, you should know that setting boundaries is a really healthy trait highly recommended by all the therapists in the world. Even if it may sound harsh or selfish, setting boundaries is vital for every human being. Setting limits between you and your family, friends, and co-workers shouldn’t make you feel guilty about yourself; in fact, setting boundaries is probably the best way to take care of ourselves!
If you were a people-pleaser for many years, in 2023 it’s time to change for the better. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re going to start being rude to other people; it only means you’ll know exactly when to say “no” if you’re not feeling like doing that certain thing.
Let’s see what the main boundaries are that nobody should cross in any relationship. Number 5 will definitely surprise you!
1. Strike for a balance
A “co-dependent” in a relationship puts the happiness of the other person before their own, losing touch with their own needs, wants, and sense of self, according to a number of researchers, including Mental Health America. This discrepancy can start to manifest at a young age and result in mature people finding it pleasing. In most cases, children raised by emotionally unavailable parents who used to punish them for any type of mistake (even small ones) can develop a fear of disappointing others.
If you recognize yourself in these patterns, talk about them with your therapist; that may help you get rid of them in order to become a better person. After this, you will see that life isn’t only about others, and it’s time to set some healthy boundaries between you and them.
2. Start with baby steps
You should know that the process of setting healthy boundaries might be intimidating and discouraging, so start with baby steps and small changes. Begin by listing your top three objectives for the year, such as starting a garden, getting promoted at work, or going on a family trip.
Open your schedule and consider which of the listed activities don’t actually inspire you to complete them and which ones assist you in achieving your objectives. Do not be afraid to cut out things that are bad for your mental health. Eliminate the time-consuming pursuits that make other people happy but not you!
3. …then maintain consistency!
If you decide to set boundaries, you have to be consistent about them. Try to keep yourself in balance, and if you said “no,” then stick to it until the end. By doing so, anyone else will know that the lines have been drawn and that you will not change your mind on the subject.
4. Be careful with social media
One of the main issues of the past decade is definitely social media. All these platforms allow you to overshare private things that can also make others feel uncomfortable or insecure about themselves. In fact, studies have shown that a lot of people are concerned about what their family and close relatives will post about them.
For example, some of us are embarrassed because of certain events; that’s why it’s better to ask before sharing something without the other person’s permission. If you’re trying to set boundaries in real life, you are also free to do that on social media as well, especially if you consider them stressful!
5. Ask yourself what’s realistic
Another strategy to consider when deciding how to focus on the responsibilities that are most essential for you is to consider your logistical capabilities. Because there are a limited number of hours in each day, you might start by determining which of your goals is more doable: being more active in your grandchild’s education, putting in more time at work, or prioritizing your own needs.
“Can you do them on your own, or do you need help?” “Can you find a better way to do all of them without becoming stressed?” These kinds of questions are very important, especially if you feel a huge weight on your shoulders every time someone asks you to do something for or with them. Prioritize things that are more important for you!
If 2022 wasn’t exactly the year you hoped it would be, 2023 is definitely all about changes. Small changes can easily contribute to better mental health! Give yourself some time for reflection and see what your goals are for the year. On the same positive note, you might also like reading this article: 8 Diseases You Can Prevent By Being Thankful.
6. “No” means No
If you’re used to saying “yes” because you don’t want to upset somebody, actually starting to say “no” and really mean it might take a while. You can say it in a nice way (but be firm when you do it) in order to not make others feel uncomfortable because of your answer. And one of the most important things about this boundary is that you should never overexplain your reason for saying no. It should be more than common sense that sometimes we all need some time alone after a stressful week or even after a sad event that happened recently.
Next time when you want to say “no” to someone, keep it simple and don’t say why you don’t want to do it. Say that you will reconsider this idea some time in the future.
7. Ask for space every time you need it
In moments of emotional stress, we simply need to be by ourselves. In a relationship, it may seem like you are never alone, and even if it wasn’t your intention, asking for space may make your spouse feel like you are driving them away. Remind them that alone time is totally healthy and essential to maintaining your individuality, and then simply have a conversation with them to help them understand.
If you are not explicit about requiring some space apart from them, this could lead to unnecessary arguments. Because of this, it’s crucial to establish all of the boundaries early on by having frank discussions about everything throughout the first few months of any relationship.
8. Recognize when you’re being taken advantage of
The journey of setting boundaries will definitely be bumpy. Along the way, you might feel sad and even guilty because you started to put yourself in this position. But once you do that, you will also be able to recognize other people’s behavior in a better light. Some people will still try to manipulate you in every possible way to convince you that you must say yes when you actually don’t want to. What can you do about it? Take note of how someone speaks to you because even subtle expressions like “I was hoping you would say yes” or “I don’t think I can do it without you!” might indicate that the other person’s intentions are not that “pure.”
You can learn more about someone’s plan by paying close attention to how they speak to you. So you can avoid falling into the people-pleasing trap.
9. The Most Important Boundary: Think about your own mental health
Resentment might arise when we put others before ourselves despite feeling worn out and overburdened. You may prevent resentment by finding a good balance between providing for others and taking care of yourself. Don’t feel bad if you need a break from routine activities. You deserve it!
Remember: on this trip, let your emotions be your guide.
Your progress and connections with others around you will be shaped by the boundaries of your life. You can only expend so much time, effort, and emotion. Nobody else will defend your safety if you don’t.
Hopefully, by setting up clear limits, you’ll have more liberty to express yourself and have a happier life.