There are those staple topics that inevitably come up in my sessions with most of my clients. Right up at the top of the list of hot topics is boundaries. This word is thrown around rather loosely in society, and trust me when I tell you, that because of the way this topic is put out there, folks often do not even know what it actually means to set boundaries for yourself.
And so, I devote this blog to the topic of boundary setting. What boundaries are, why they are so important for individuals to establish for themselves, and finally, how to work on setting them for yourself.
What are Boundaries?
Quite simply, boundaries are the core values that you hold for yourself. They are the truth that you speak. They are representative of what you hold dear, and what you believe in.
What a Violation of a Boundary looks like:
When your boundaries that you hold for yourself are violated, it is because in some way, shape or form, what you hold dear and believe in, has somehow been trampled on by another individual(s).
How to Set Boundaries for Yourself:
1. The first step in this process, is to figure out who you are, what you value, and to make it firm to others. For example, lets say, that I value having 2 days a week off of work (which I do 😊). And I keep getting contacted by persons begging me to work another day, and I keep giving in. I am allowing that boundary to get trampled on that I hold dear for myself. And it doesn’t take long, before I am grumpy, resentful, and my self esteem starts taking a dive as well.
2. Know that others will try to fight your boundaries. This is pretty much a rule of thumb. You are going to have to be firm and may even sound like a broken record at times. Eventually, people begin to back down. They will change their ways because of your repetitious behavior. One of the most common things I hear my clients say, is, ‘well, what if I don’t do it? (whatever it is). Who else will’? My staple response to that, is ‘I want you to imagine that you have never been born. If you had never been born what would happen? Someone would have to take care of it. Stop thinking that you are the only human being alive that can take care of it’.
3. Know what the Consequences will be if your Boundary is Violated. For example, if you continually have a friend that does not honor a boundary that you have established, and after a certain amount of reminders to that friend, they are still not getting it, perhaps you will have to leave the friendship.
4. Write out your Boundaries as your personal Creed. Carry it around with you if you must for a while, until it becomes more common place to just have them roll off your tongue. Remember what I said before that people will challenge you. They will try to fight boundaries being set, because at the heart of it, they do not like change, and they are used to getting what they want. There is always the risk of losing some friends and even possibly family members with setting boundaries, but in the end, YOU will be less resentful, and a lot healthier.
Happy Boundary Setting!