WHERE TO START WITH BOUNDARIES
Here are some signs that you need to work on your boundaries:
You can't be open about who you are out of fear you will get rejected
You don't trust anyone because you've been taken advantage before
You give in to peer pressure out of fear others will make fun of you
You recognise that you have a hard time saying "no"
You doubt yourself and you often change your mind
If you see yourself in any of these statements you may need to work on setting clear, strong, well defined boundaries. It is never too late to learn how to set and protect your boundaries.
When your partner, your supervisor, your parents, your angry neighbor make demands that are not in line with who you are you may feel the need to be complacent. You avoid asking questions out of fear. You may be afraid ...
Afraid of making others angry
Afraid you are wrong
Afraid you will be rejected
Afraid you will get punished
Afraid you will regret opening up
Afraid something terrible will happen
Afraid you will be abandoned
Where to start?
A good place to start is an area you have some control over and that is yourself! Start by paying attention to any promises you make to yourself. Those promises may include decisions around everyday life. You may want to start eating less, exercising more, turning off social media, consuming less alcohol, looking for a job you like with a boss who appreciates you, entering a relationship with a partner who respects you.
Let's take one of these examples. Let's say you decide to stop using sugar because your physical boundaries include you taking care of your body. If you want to stay away from sugar, search your cupboards, get rid of all sugary items and don't bring anything sweet from the grocery store.
Make sure NOT to"forget" to get rid of the ice cream in the garage freezer. Although giving up sugar and sweets may be a difficult decision, hold it! Boundary setting is like a line you set and then you need to HOLD! No whining please! Don't feel sorry for yourself! Don't act like a victim! Don't take it out on others! HOLD the line!
Remember that you are FREE to CHOOSE your boundaries. For instance, if you cannot stay away from sugar, then don't. With every choice you make you also choose the results. If you give up sugar you will experience certain results. Good ones! The choice is yours!
Another example is social media and setting boundaries around your impulse control. If social media is taking over your life, it will erode your personal relationships. You will not have time for your partner, they will seem boring in comparison, even your kids will feel annoying. About 250 million Americans have a social media profile and studies link it to depression, anxiety, loss of sleep, inattention and impulsive behavior especially in teenagers.
What about putting your phone away when you are with someone important. Make an effort to engage in conversation with them! Again, remember that you are FREE to CHOOSE. Chose to put your phone away and enjoy time with someone you love!
HOWEVER, if you cannot stay away from social media, then don't, and admit that by choosing social media instead of your kids or your partner, you are choosing miscommunication, resentment, anger, withdrawal, suspicion. It is important that you are HONEST with yourself. Honesty will increase your confidence and will build self-trust.
When you set your boundaries freely, NO guilt and NO apology is necessary!
Setting healthy boundaries means that YOU are free to say things like:
No No. Even if I said yes in the past, I have changed my mind.
I disagree I disagree, and I hope that you will not take it as a criticism
I don't want to I don't want to, although another time I may
Stop, that hurts Stop, that hurts and I don't want you doing that again
I will not I will not - I am being honest with you even though it is hard
That's bad, stop That's bad, stop, I didn't realise before how much I dislike it
I am not coming I am not coming and I would appreciate it if you stop asking
You have a RIGHT to set boundaries. DON'T feel GUILTY OR APOLOGISE FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF. By being clear in your communication you are not only setting your boundaries, you are also boosting your self-esteem sky high!
by Aphrodite Beidler
Related: 5 different kinds of boundaries