Ways to Create Healthy Boundaries
Whether we cognize it, or even want to acknowledge it, boundaries are all around us. We see physical boundaries every day, and often times respect that they exist. There are designated driving paths that are distinguished from the walking paths. There are even bike lines, in some cities, with bike symbols on the ground to communicate to drivers to be aware of the bikers. If you’re on a hike, near a cliff, there may be railing to avoid falls. And the list can goes on. Boundaries, in the physical sense, according to the dictionary, is a line that marks the limits of an area. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be discussing personal boundaries.
I’d like to start by saying personal boundaries are not a bad thing or because you do not like someone or something. Also, boundaries are not floor to ceiling walls with no openings to keep people completely out. However, boundaries are ways to have people around while also taking care of yourself.
Sometimes we create boundaries, and sometimes we don’t. For those of us who’ve created boundaries in the past, or even now, we find that our boundaries are often tested by other. As a result, we may not honor the boundaries we’d created to keep peace with others. However, when we dishonor ourselves, and our boundaries, we don’t create the peace we desire within. If I’m honest, creating boundaries are wonderful to have and a challenge to keep. Yet, they are essential for creating and maintaining healthy relationships with yourself and others. Here are a few ways to support us in creating healthy boundaries and keep them.
Becoming Self Aware
The world can tell us what to have and believe, what we should and should not feel, etc. However, being aware of your yourself is more important than what anyone can share with you. Be clear in your body. Pay attention. Our bodies react when we’re sad, angry, happy, scared, etc. Honor what is coming up for you in the moments, then assess the experience that provoked the particular feeling.
When setting boundaries, it is important to know why you need the boundary, or how it may support you. Remember, your feelings are valid because you experienced it. Don’t ignore it.
Don’t Ask for Permission
You do not need anyone’s permission to set boundaries. No one must be in agreeance before you create a boundary with them. Boundaries are for YOU! Your peace, safety, and wellbeing are your priority.
If you’re anything like me, when learning something new, I want to dive in the deep end of the ocean. While the commitment is great in the beginning, if I don’t acquire the stamina to withhold the resistance, it’s easier to get out inside of treading the water. So, start small. Create a boundary, then work on being in integrity with that boundary. Once you’re solid, you can always add additional boundaries that will support you. Through it all, continue to check in with yourself to reassess what’s coming up for you.
Uncomfortable conversations are just that: uncomfortable! A lot of us avoid the conversations that we’re unsure of or that has the potential to go downhill. So, we beat around the bush, we brush it off and pretend we didn’t experience it, or worst, we believe it wouldn’t matter if we say something or not. The truth is boundaries cannot be respected or honored if they are not communicated clearly. People are not equipped to hear what’s in your mind, only the words you speak. Trust that what you have to say matters. Be clear and truthful in your expectations.
Give Yourself Grace
Speak to yourself positively, affirming that you are worthy of your boundaries. When you honor your boundaries, celebrate it, no matter how small you think it is. If you find yourself out of integrity with your boundaries, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself, you’re still learning No matter how old you are, we are constantly learning. Acknowledge the experience, then, recommit to your boundaries.
As we continue to evolve, we unlearn and relearn, we commit and recommit. Creating boundaries for ourselves supports us as we evolve into the best version of ourselves. With boundaries, we get to create loving and respectful relationships with friends and family. More importantly, we create a deeper love and peace within ourselves.